Title: The Boy Next Door (2nd Edition)
Author: Kate McMurray
Length: Novel (200 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (22 July 2016)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: Life is full of surprises and, with luck, second chances.
After his father’s death, Lowell leaves the big city to help his sick mother in the conservative small town where he grew up. He’s shocked to find himself living next to none other than his childhood friend Jase. Lowell always had a crush on Jase, and the man has only gotten more attractive with age. Unfortunately Jase is straight, now divorced, and raising his six-year-old daughter. It’s nice to reconnect, but Lowell doesn’t see a chance for anything beyond friendship.
Until a night out together changes everything.
Jase can’t fight his growing feelings for Lowell, and he doesn’t want to give up the happy future they could have. But his ex-wife issues an ultimatum: he must keep his homosexuality secret or she’ll revoke his custody of their daughter, Layla. Now Jase faces an impossible choice: Lowell and the love he’s always wanted, or his daughter.
Review: Kate McMurray is one of those authors where I like to check out the blurb of a new (to me) book and is slowly becoming a definite favorite on my ever growing list of favorite authors. She does sweet and heartwarming romances for the most part. They are the type of thing that you sit down with your book/device and just pass your time pleasantly reading the extraordinarily sweet characters that emerge from her very ordinary and very relatable world.
The Boy Next Door is a second edition, of which I did not read the first edition so not sure what has changed. It is about Lowell who goes back to his hometown to care for his mother, who seems to be getting rather forgetful, after the death of his father. His father was not a kind man in life and so in death his ghost does affect his relationship with both his mother and the town. The surprise Lowell gets though is that his new neighbor is Jase. They were friends as children and as teens Lowell had had a massive crush on Jase.
Jase seems to be very straight. The evidence is still there with his recent divorce and a little girl dominating most of his time and thoughts. But Jase has a massive secret and sees the strength in the out of the closet Lowell – he’s gay, has known all his life but has tried for many years to hide that part of himself. With Lowell’s return Jase has got to confront his feelings and the manipulative people in his life if he wants a quick hook up with his friend to be a lot more.
The chemistry between these two guys is great. There is a certain depth of emotion that makes it so easy to not only relate to both Lowell and Jase, but to see that the thick sexual tension between them is more than a fling. I really liked the drama that happens between the guys – it goes to add to the feeling that certain people in Jase’s life are not only homophobic but manipulative as well. It adds a lot of depth to Jase’s character.
This book lived up to my expectations; ultimately, it was a sweet and heartwarming romance that worked on all levels.