I found these contemporary romances through the magic of KindleUnlimited. The Backup Boyfriend and The Boyfriend Mandate are the first two books in the Boyfriend Series by River Jaymes which also includes Brad’s Bachelor Party (see way below) and the upcoming novel The Boyfriend Makeover.
The Backup Boyfriend
Opting against the more traditional tattoo or radical haircut, Alec responds to his break up with Tyler by going full-on midlife crisis and buying a vintage motorcycle. He’s done all of the research and none of the riding which is why he ends up pushing the bike into Dylan’s garage. A misunderstanding, and the lightning fast presence of a man in Tyler’s life, leads to a Boyfriend of Convenience plot with Dylan playing at being Alec’s new beau. Being a romance, the playing part soon takes on a different meaning, but the boyfriend part takes a bit longer as they move from fraud, to a one-night stand, to what is this we are doing exactly?, to a relationship.
The obstacles that Alec and Dylan face are their own baggage. Alec has been busy trying to be the perfect son and Dylan has a painful past and issues of sexual identity to struggle with. They find their way and resolve everything in time for Alec’s ex-boyfriend Tyler to have his chance at lasting love.
The Boyfriend Mandate
Tyler and Memphis (!) were roommates in university who had a two-year relationship before Memphis walked away without a backward glance. They both moved on with their lives, Tyler to a long-term but now over relationship with Alec, and Memphis to a marriage which has ended in divorce. Thrown back together by Maguffiny plot machinations, they work their way through their old hurts and toward finding a new life together.
Memphis (again, I say, “!”) is a stuntman/underwear model (that warrants another “!”) whose personal life (read: sexual identity) is under scrutiny in the press, a fact that amuses him until Tyler and his ex-wife are drawn into the fray. Finding ways to provoke Tyler into letting down his guard, and thus release his emotions, allows Memphis the same freedom to deal with their horrible breakup and how they can be together again now that they have both grown up.
These books are fairly standard romances with a heightened reality about financially secure, beautiful people finding love. In both novels, one of the partners addresses his identity as a bisexual and I would welcome an LGBT romance in which both characters are secure in this aspect of his or herself from the outset and with no wrangling involved and sticking to just two people falling in love.
Sidebar: The love scenes in the books, while they were incredibly
I did not actually find them all that romantic, and because, as Paul Reiser once said on Mad About You, “I agree with both of them,”, I did wonder if I was fetishizing a M/M relationship in much the same way popular culture so often does with two women. It made me feel a little icky when I looked at it from that perspective, but it didn’t stop me from reading… even when it should have for general quality reasons which brings me to Brad’s Bachelor Party.
The title says most of it and the rest you can likely guess. Brad is getting married in Hawaii and the festivities are a chance for him to spend time with his closest friends, including Cole. While college roommates, Brad was attracted to Cole, but when he made a move Brad freaked out and the friendship was severed. Coming back together during a family emergency, their friendship was rekindled and nothing hinted at romance for them until too much time in close proximity tipped the scales.
Brad’s Bachelor Party was a middling romance novella. Everything about it was okay and nothing about it was special or interesting. Cole and Brad find their way to each other at just about the worst possible moment, but it works out well in the end. I did wonder about the poor jilted virtually invisible fiancee though. I hope she finds a nice man just like Brad did.