Dating in Retrospect, by Lila Leigh Hunter
A States of Love Novel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 15, 2017
Giving the commencement speech at his alma mater doesn’t fit Clay Keller’s meticulous schedule. As Chief Executive Officer of Travel Mogul—the largest travel connoisseur company on the West Coast—he has no time to get back in touch with his country roots. He left fifteen years ago without a second look, but a medical scare makes him change his mind about the speech and brings him face-to-face with his only regret.
Time always moves slower in Southeastern Iowa, and Aaron Grant loves it. He’s added solar farms to the Grant Lanes portfolio and has been teaching at the local university for a decade. The last thing he needs is to have his tenure application compromised by the return of his ex-boyfriend. If he had known who the commencement speaker would be, he would never have volunteered to be the administration liaison.
A proposal—to date for a year—will help them discover that time changes a person, even when everything else stays the same.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Recovering from Illness
The best thing I can say about this book is that the MCs deserved each other. It’s a thankfully rare occurrence that you come across two characters who are as annoyingly unlikeable as Clay and Aaron.
Clay is an ass, plain and simple. He shows up in Aaron’s life after 15 years apart – a split he instigated, being sure to not only move, but change his phone number and email address – and within a very short period of time where only polite conversation was exchanged, Clay is already all up in Aaron’s business –
“You were never a very good liar, Aaron.” Moving closer, until their chests were mere inches apart, Clay continued. “you have been nothing but a snob since the moment I arrived. Only when I had you in my arms, you were the man I remembered.” Clay had no right to ask anything from Aaron since he had been the one who allowed their relationship to die, but they could at least be civilized until he figured out how to win Aaron back. He moved one step forward and pinned his pretty between the wall and his body. “Are you happy to see me again, sunshine?”
So, within minutes of seeing his old boyfriend he a) accuses him of being a liar, b) pins him against a wall – at his workplace no less – and c) calls him by his old cutesy nickname. No. Just no. You have not seen him for 15 years. You broke up with him. You do not get to manhandle him and call him something cute! And that sentence I bolded is incredibly awkward. No one talks like that.
But wait, it gets better.
Later that same day, Clay chances upon an old professor of his, chatting with some of Aaron’s peers, and walks over to say hello. When another professor refers to Aaron as a “fairy”, Clay decides to step in and say something in Aaron’s defense –
“Professor Grant is one of the best in his field. I’d be more than happy if he gets more than a piece of me before the night’s over. I think I should go and offer to blow him in the bathroom before my speech.”
Whoa, nelly! That’s how you defend someone in front of their boss and their peers? Nope. I don’t think so.
To be honest, Aaron doesn’t fare much better in the dialogue department. When Clay discovers Aaron was previously married to a woman, he expresses some surprise, but as Aaron explains –
“You better than anyone know I don’t have any problem with women. My bisexuality is pretty even. I like women as much as I like men.”
Read that bolded sentence again. “I don’t have any problem with women” doesn’t exactly sound like a ringing endorsement of his bisexuality, does it? Usually when you say you don’t have a problem with something, it means you’re not really into it, but it’s not worth making a fuss over. Is that really how someone would express attraction to another gender? By saying they didn’t have a problem with them? Maybe I’m being over-critical but I just hated the way that sounded.
There are plenty of instances of weird and awkward dialogue that occur throughout the book, enough that I could just post only quotes in this review and it would still get my point across. But there are other issues too.
The whole book is full of Clay pushing Aaron to get closer, Aaron resisting, then relenting, then resisting, etc. etc. Honestly, it gets really tiring watching them act like they’ve never grown up and matured in the 15 years they were apart and are basically still acting like angsty 20 yr olds.
Then there was the Winnebago scene. I don’t think the author has ever gone camping in an RV or travel trailer because most of them aren’t very well insulated and the last time I checked, winter in Iowa is pretty frickin’ cold. Highly unlikely that they would be able to get any sexy, naked time in a trailer when the inside temperature would nearly as low as the outside temperature.
I could go on, but you get the point. This is not a well-written or well-researched book and it annoyed me from start to finish. I disliked the MC’s, didn’t buy their relationship and the big fight at the end was ridiculous. I skipped the make-up sex because I had already checked out by then and didn’t really care if they got back together or not.
Sorry, but I will not be recommending this to anyone.
Lila Leigh Hunter is the pen name of a Puerto Rican author with a hyphenated surname. Born and raised on the island, Lila grew up making up stories her siblings pretended to like. But no matter what they say, as the youngest of six, she’s still their mom’s favorite. According to the dusty diplomas on her wall, she’s an architectural designer living in Southern Texas with her husband and four military brats.
She spends most of her free time writing homoerotic romances about middle-aged men finding happiness and the rest hiding from pesky house chores. When outside of her cave, she likes to observe people and try to guess their stories. Sometimes she wishes the voices in her head were real; going out with the boys in her books sounds like a plan made in heaven.
You can purchase Dating in Retrospect from:
Barnes & Noble
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.