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Bare For You by Lexxie Couper
I liked this. This was the first time I’d ever read this author, and my first dip into this series (this is book three, but I didn’t ever feel lost‐ it stood alone) so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was good. Did it strike a deep cord in me? Did I absolutely love it? …No. But I did definitely enjoy it.
The first thing I noticed about ‘Bare for You’ was how polished it was‐ the writing is really solid (although I will say I found an inordinate amount of typos, and I’m pretty sure this is the complete book, not an ARC, so that was a bit weird. If I’m wrong and it hasn’t had its final editing yet, then that’s a different story, and completely understandable.) But the plot is tight and concise, and the writing is just very smooth and enjoyable.
The romance is between two men at opposite ends of the, err, political spectrum, I guess. Ryan is an openly gay Australian cowboy, and Jeremy is a high ranking Australian political official, in the closet because he could never achieve his goal of becoming the Prime Minister if he wasn’t. I enjoyed how straight forward yet definitely problematic the situation between the men, who are immediately attracted to each other, was. And I also loved how it was handled within the book.
So. The story, the characters… they were sweet. The story was sweet. And clean. And well laid out. I also really enjoyed the Australian setting. There really wasn’t anything wrong with the book, not any huge problems. But it just… It just never grabbed me.
Let’s talk characters‐ Ryan and Jeremy were definitely individual people, and I could picture them in my mind, and their personalities were solid. They were pretty unique. I just didn’t find them very interesting. They were relatively one dimensional. They didn’t feel like they had very much depth to them, and this lack of interest I had in them kept me from getting really involved in the romance, which is the heart of the book. It also made it hard for me to believe that Ryan and Jeremy were falling for each other so fast. There just didn’t seem to be any reason for it, aside from mutual attraction. Attraction is fine, and believable, but I’m pretty sure the author wanted the reader to believe that there was more to this budding relationship than just lust. I couldn’t find any reason for anything more, though.
The writing‐ Like I said, it was very solid. Clean. Neat. Well put together. It did seem that there was a lot of tell and not so much show, though. This is a novella, and maybe that length was dictated, I don’t know. I felt like the author could have really expanded on some things, though, really let the readers get more of a feel for the characters through their actions, instead of just talking about them. For example, there’s one paragraph where Jeremy talks about the aboriginal art and how taken he is by it. And I thought, if he’d talked instead about why he liked it, how it made him feel, I would not only have gotten a feel for the art myself, but a much better feel for Jeremy. Instead, he just says he enjoys it, and I didn’t end up really caring about him or the art.
And in that same vein, the attraction between Ryan and Jeremy seems to be very solidly rooted in how, uh, how aroused the two of them are all the time. Maybe this is nitpicking, but it got to the point where I felt like these two guys were walking around with terrible cases of priapism, all the time. It was distracting. By the time I was half way through the book, I’d counted 27 separate instances where Ryan or Jeremy talks about how hard they are, how their balls are heavy or aching or whatever‐ and these were all times when they were walking around in public, never times when they were in the bedroom. It just seemed… kind of unbelievable that they could be walking around with this constant state of arousal all the time. And it didn’t really do anything for me, either, to make me believe there was anything more between this pair then their intense desire to screw each other.
The bedroom scene was also kind of… far‐fetched. Very slight spoilers here, and a tiny bit of graphic content: (And a warning to my mother to please not read this paragraph so I don’t die of embarrassment.) Jeremy comes so many times while he’s having sex with Ryan, in such a short amount of time, I wondered how on earth he’d managed it. Not only that, but Jeremy specifically says he hasn’t had sex with a man since he was a teenager, and yet Ryan is able to (sorry, sorry, graphic) penetrate him with almost no lube and very little preparation. And Jeremy enjoys is. And I just found that a little hard to believe‐ it felt like probably would have been really awkward in real life. And it pulled me out of the story, to wonder how they had managed that.
Nitpicking aside, though, I did like this. I really did. It was short enough that the points where I was annoyed were mild, and it was a cute, easy thing to slip into and enjoy. I would be happy to read more of this author in the future.
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