Title: The Straight Friend
Author(s): Raleigh Ruebins
Heat: 3 Flames
Rating: 3 Hearts
Synopsis via Goodreads:
Ryder’s been my best friend for my whole life. Is it so wrong that I’m madly in love with him?
Ryder has always been there for me, even throughout years of being deployed in the Army overseas. Now he’s finally out of the military, back in our small-town home, and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
…Other than the fact that I secretly want to drag him into bed every night.
My simple life as a high school teacher isn’t exactly as action-packed as Ryder’s life has been. But now that he’s back home, he’s searching for somewhere to belong, too. And when he tells me he’s curious about experimenting with men–in bed–I just about choke on my beer.
But is Ryder just trying me out? Or could my straight best friend actually be the one?
This was a short story to serve as an intro to this author’s series. As with all short stories, I think they inevitably suffer from a lack of development in the storyline as well as the characters. That said, I think this one does a decent job here. Did I want more? Absolutely. Yes. I think these two in a full-length book would have been a good read. I really loved the bond these two had.
Friends to lovers trope is another one of my favorites. There is something so comforting about falling in love with your best friend. Add to that themes of sexual exploration/discovery and I’m so there for it. I love reading about people going after what they want and stepping out of their comfort zones.
That said, there were parts where the short length created … issues. I didn’t care for Ryder’s date after the night they spent together, or his use of the word “experiment” as it seemed to cheapen what the two of them shared. Also, around this time in the story, Ryder’s internal dialogue goes a bit haywire. Again, a letdown by the length of the story. It’s difficult to adequately portray Ryder’s struggle/coming to terms with his feelings for Nate and men in general in just a few pages.
Overall though, it’s a sweet short that I enjoyed. Pick it up if you’re looking for a quick read.
This book is free from the author’s Prolific Works account which you can find here.