Published by Tuxbury Publishing LLC on 12th January 2021
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Wanted: One roommate to share a 3-bedroom house, split the rent, and ideally not be the guy I can’t stop thinking about.
I’m a man with too many secrets, so the last thing I need is a new roommate with a sexy smile and blue eyes that see right through me. Eight years ago, Roderick left town after high school. We’re not friends. I owe him nothing. But back then, I let one of my secrets slip, and he’s the only one who noticed. Part of me knows I should run far, far away. But the other part wants him to come upstairs and spend the night. But if I let him in, I could lose everything.
Seeking: A room to rent in town. I’m tidy, have no pets, and I will feed you homemade bread.
I should probably add: Gay AF, and has no filter. It’s no wonder my new landlord is so wary of me. A smarter man would ignore those hot glances from Kieran Shipley. The broody lumberjack wants more from me than another homemade pretzel, but if I push my luck, I’ll end up back on the street.Too bad I’ve never been smart with my heart ...
Sarina Bowen’s Shipley family and their extended kin take centre stage once again as they do in all her True North books, growing larger and larger (and more nuanced) with each iteration of her offerings. But I think perseverance is key to ‘Roommate’, particularly when the start of the story isn’t entirely too appealing.
Kieran’s and Roderick’s start is one of voyeurism, embarrassment manifesting as hostility and being down-in-the-dumps when the story begins, particularly when both parties know and remember each other for illicit encounters under the bleachers.
The funny thing about ‘Roommate’ is that Bowen’s protagonists take shape and grow into their distinct selves midway through the book as Kieran and Roddy emerge as more rounded characters with personalities that don’t meld into each other. Yet both remain relatable in their own ways in their search for acceptance (coming out of the closet and staying out is a major issue, so finding their identity makes this book sit squarely in the N/A category for me) while struggling to build a new life for themselves in Zara’s cafe.
The prerequisite angst is there but slight, with external factors driving the larger conflict rather than the friction that inevitably creeps in between them. What I particularly love about Kieran/Roddy is the relative maturity in the way they deal with these issues and how they gently treat each other no matter despite the mountain of obstacles both seem to face.
Undecided (and somewhat fatigued) as I am about returning time and again to the burgeoning Shipley circle, ‘Roommate’ can stand on its own pretty well. Bowen occasionally returning to M/M romance is the sole factor that keeps me going back, even if some of her other books don’t necessarily work too well for me. This doesn’t come close to the legendary #Wesmie status that I hold every Bowen book up to now, but it’s a decent read nonetheless.