Release Day Review: The Closer I Get by Draven St. James and LL Dahlin
The Closer I Get by Draven St. James and LL Dahlin
Croix Matthews has been hot for his best friend Brayden O’Conner since the moment he rescued the homeless boy from the street as a teen. Since everyone in his world, including Brayden, thinks he’s straight he’s had no luck with his timid attempts at letting his friend know he’d like a shot at being more, but with International super model Brayden finally boyfriend free the time to go full throttle is now.
Brayden hears his friend’s plea for assistance and assumes his straight bestie needs help with the ladies. Although he all but chokes on the task he'd do anything for the man who saved his life. If that means not investigating the meaning behind the shy come hither looks Croix is always throwing at him, so be it.
The closer they get to each other the more they can see how large the obstacles are. Will they stand strong together or will they let themselves be torn further apart?
“Oh, I know what we can do.” Brayden tapped along the bottles until he found the tequila of his dreams. This would work just fine. Snagging the liquid gold he held the bottle out to Croix.
Croix’s eyes went wide, and he shook his head, backing away. “No. Last time we drank I woke up with purple hair and a tattoo of ‘Get it while it’s hot’ on my ass.”
Brayden burst into laughter. “Do you still have that?” He very vividly recalled the scrolled lettering across Croix’s delectable, right cheek. Hell, he had a picture of it on his phone. Not that he’d tell Croix. Ever.
Croix scowled. “I’m not drinking with you.”
“Come on, show me the tattoo.” Brayden cradled the bottle and peeked around Croix like he could see through his clothes.
“Stop it, you perv,” Croix demanded. “I blame you for that thing ever being on my body. I still think you were sober enough to stop it. The only way you get answers is if I become a stripper and perform a private show.”
What I wouldn’t give for a private show, Brayden thought while keeping the words under lock and key. Instead he said, “I was sloshed, truly.”
“I’m still not drinking with you.”
“Come on,” Brayden insisted. “There isn’t a tattoo place for miles, and no hair dye in the house, right? The worst I could do is shave off all your body hair and maybe take embarrassing photos to add to my collection.” Brayden had tons. There was rarely a time when he didn’t sneak a pic, and a drunk Croix was a sight to behold.
“You’re not selling your case here.” Croix put his hands on his hips, one brow raised.
“Fine, I’ll do double shots while you do singles,” Brayden offered, knowing even with those odds Croix would still get hammered way before him. Croix could get drunk on the vapors of hard alcohol.
Croix exhaled loudly, running his hand through the silky locks of hair Brayden longed to touch before muttering, “Fine, but if I go all Blare Witch in the forest with my camera phone, you’re in deep shit.” Croix snatched the bottle. “Get the glasses, and I’ll get some soda. There’s no way I can drink tequila without a backer.”
Brayden laughed when Croix gave the bottle a dirty look.
Opening a cupboard on the sideboard, Brayden revealed rows of glasses of different varieties. He pulled the ones out that they’d need. “Why did you buy all this booze if you hate the stuff so much? I know you’d rather drink a wine cooler. You’re a sorority girl at heart.” He batted his lashes at Croix and was happy the man wasn’t near any objects he’d actually throw in Brayden’s direction.
“Because you don’t drink wine coolers since they have too many calories.” Croix set the tequila on the counter and went to the fridge. “You do realize the hard stuff isn’t much better for you, right?”
“Bite your tongue.” Brayden set the glasses on the coffee table and dropped on the couch. “Let me live in my land of water laced with love.”
Croix peered over the top of the fridge door. “Alcohol is not water.”
Brayden snorted. “Come on. Stop postponing the fun.”
Pre-order buy link: Amazon
Croix has been in love with his best friend Brayden ever since he rescued Brayden from the streets and Brayden, in turn, rescued him from the solitude that was his life. Now that Brayden is single, Croix is set on making a move, only it won't be too easy, since everyone, including Brayden thinks Croix is straight.
Brayden has been hiding his love for Croix for years for fear that Croix's father, who is also Brayden's modeling agent, will ruin his own son's life, something he wouldn't put past the older man. But when his shy friend asks him to help him find someone to lose his virginity to, he can't say no to the man who helped him out in his time of need, even if it might mean pushing him to the arms of a woman, only to find out that he'd been mistaken all along.
I love friends-to-lovers books and I really enjoyed this one. It was sweet to see that both Croix and Brayden had been crushing on each other from the moment they met and how their feelings deepened into love the longer they were together, even if they had to hide it from each other.
Croix was shy, awkward and a bit of an introvert, but I loved to see that he went after what he wanted after a few false starts and that he was willing to stand up to his father to defend himself and Brayden, and even Gabe, who he didn't like much at first. Brayden was more secretive than I gave him credit for and while I'm not sure why he thought he needed to keep that innermost part of himself hidden even from Croix, I loved that he finally shared it with him. The love they felt was undeniable and I just loved them together, and it didn't hurt that their love scenes were hot, hot, HOT!
I loved Croix's mother and his uncle, and while I wasn't too fond of Gabe at first, he won me over. I absolutely despised William, though, he was creepy and arrogant and I was really glad he got his comeuppance.
All in all, this was a nearly seamless collaboration between one of my favorite authors, Draven St. James and LL Dahlin. Their writing styles meshed very organically and they created an intriguing storyline that kept me turning the pages until I finished. It was fast-read, engaging, hot and sweet, with two very lovable leads I can't get enough of. I really hope they're planning on turning this into a series, because not only do I need more Croix and Brayden, but I'd love to read Gabe's story. *hint hint nudge nudge*
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the authors for my reading pleasure, a review was not a requirement. ***
Draven St. James Bio:
Draven St. James is a born and raised Oregonian. Draven has travelled extensively in search of mischief and mayhem to fill the pages of each new story. Draven’s ventures have been quite successful in inspiring a wealth of tales. Of course at the end of the day, coffee within reach, laptop at the ready is where Draven finds peace
Links for Draven St. James
LL Dahlin Bio:
LL Dahlin has loved reading for as long as she can remember and writing for just as long. Molding letters into words, words into chapters and chapters into making love…one story at a time. An RN Case Manager by day and writer by night she is excited to explore this new direction and meet amazing characters.
She also writes contemporary erotica under the name Leela Lou Dahlin. Feel free to stalk her at her typical haunts or send an email to say hi.
Links as LL Dahlin