Gone For You, by Riley Hart
Series: Wild Side, Book 1
Release Date: February 6, 2017
Rating: Did Not Finish (DNF) at 52%
Oliver Hayes wears his heart on his sleeve, and his friends never let him forget it. Every Friday night spent at Wild Side, their favorite West Hollywood bar, Oliver’s lack of hookups becomes the hot topic. It’s not that he doesn’t want a good time. He just wants it to mean something, which is a lofty goal when he’s still pining after his childhood crush, Matt, who left ten years ago to start a new life in New York City.
Matt Daniels has always felt most at home seated at a piano. He might not have entirely fit in with his family and friends, but he was always able to find himself in music. Or at least he did before he gave up his dream a lifetime ago. Now, he has a successful modeling career and should be enjoying every second of it. Yet nothing feels right, and Matt fears he’s losing himself.
Just when Oliver decides to get over Matt for good, Matt waltzes back into LA. As Matt struggles to understand what he’s missing in his seemingly perfect life, he falls right back into leaning on Oliver for support. Things aren’t what they used to be between them, though. They tumble into bed together, and it’s hard not to continue ending up there. For the first time in years, Matt’s inspired to compose again, reigniting a spark he thought long extinguished.
But as always, Oliver can’t keep his heart in check, and soon Matt realizes he’s gone for Oliver too. The biggest question is, can he fully give himself to someone if he still hasn’t figured out how to love himself?
Friends to Lovers
I normally love a sweet friends-to-lovers romance, but this book just wasn’t doing it for me. From the blurb, I was picturing all manner of unrequited longing, maybe some hot UST, or if I’m really, really lucky, a tender love story through the ages. Well, I only made it to the halfway mark because I was getting none of the above. And that was just for starters.
Gone For You felt scattered, unfocused and repetitive. Even the multiple third person POV felt sloppy and seemed to switch midsentence or mid paragraph between Oliver and Matt. I found myself completely uninterested in either of them, and most importantly, I was not sold on their relationship – be it platonic or romantic.
As friends, I was not feeling any connection between them. Their camaraderie felt forced and most of their interaction was really awkward. The author kept trying to convey how close they were by having them laugh at old memories or inside jokes, but I just wasn’t following or feeling any of it. Even the camaraderie amongst their tight-knit group of friends lacked authenticity. No amount of random laughter was able to convince me otherwise.
Romantically, there was no underlying attraction or unresolved sexual tension between them. Well, to be more specific, Oliver was madly, awkwardly, obsessively in love with Matt, but Matt had no feelings for Oliver whatsoever – not even a passing attraction. So basically they had zero chemistry, unless you count the weird vibes from Oliver.
Speaking of Oliver, I was not a fan of the way he viewed Matt. It was like he only remembered the kid who dreamed of becoming a musician, and couldn’t understand how or why his friend picked a different path in life and became a model. Basically, instead of being a supportive best friend and getting to know Matt as an adult, Oliver came off as judge-y and weirdly obsessed about his childhood friend’s nonexistent music career. I definitely felt Oliver was in love with the memory of his friend and not particularly interested in the person in front of him – except to fix him. For instance, even during sex, literally mid-fuck, Oliver thought Matt should put on weight.
That was pretty much when I considered DNFing. You’re finally having sex with the person you’ve been in love with all your life, and you’re mentally critiquing their body? As if that wasn’t enough, the awkward post-sex conversation pretty much sealed the deal for me. Oh, and the inexplicable reason that drove Matt to jump into bed with his best friend.
As you can tell, I had many issues with this book – the half I read, anyway. I was really surprised and extremely disappointed because Riley Hart is an old fave of mine (despite me being a little behind on her more recent releases). The one good thing I can share with you is that I immediately felt the urge to pick up Shifting Gears from her Crossroads series (which had been sitting untouched on my Kindle for a while now), and was relieved to find the solid writing and strong, sexy characters I know and love. Gone For You was definitely not for me but I’m happy to consider it a one-off.
Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.
Riley lives in California with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.