A Guest Review by Cryselle
Review Summary: A shallow and unsympathetic MC would make me pull my hair out in frustration if I could be persuaded to care that much about him.
Daron’s looking for a certain type: he loves tall, slim older men, and he’s sure one of them will be his one true love, even though he doesn’t truly believe he deserves it. His lack of confidence leads him to a series of meaningless encounters with strangers, convinced that eventually he’ll find a relationship to last a lifetime. His best friend and coworker, Rebel, offers Daron the only stable relationship he’s ever known. Rebel is younger than Daron and only slightly taller, so definitely not his type. Daron enjoys the time they spend together, but refuses to allow himself to think it could be anything more than friendship. He’s never bothered to consider what Rebel thinks….
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
The Bittersweet line from Dreamspinner tends to very high quality love stories that don’t have an HEA. Most of them have an unexpected twist to account for the absence, or have something as basic as not breathing the same element that interferes. Not here though: there is no strong and enduring love. Daron, the POV character, is shallow and unpleasantly delusional, and one can only wonder why Rebel persists.
At nearly thirty, Daron feels the need for something beyond casual encounters, but instead of insisting on something as basic as a name before falling to his knees, he hits the concrete yet again in a tawdry semi-public encounter with someone who’s willing to take but not give. Somehow, this convinces Daron that not only is the man perfect for him, but that given enough time and blowjobs, the stranger will gift him with a name and a relationship and things will be wonderful. All evidence to the contrary fails to budge his dreamworld.
The anonymous connoisseur of blowjobs is perfectly upfront about his intentions.
“I remember the way your hair shines in dim light and
the warmth of your mouth.” The tall man shrugged. “Who
knows how long it’ll take me to remember your name.”
This apparently has enough poetry in it to be seen as an endearing quirk to be overcome on the path to true love.
Sensible commentary (“Him? Still? Are you serious? Why the fuck are you doing this?”) plus little hints from Rebel make no impression either. Out and out suggestions of dates get transformed into something work-related.
The parallel of both men yearning after the unattainable fails to make the story any more satisfying—there is no relationship to twist into the bittersweet sighs of something wonderful gone awry. Even Daron’s late realizations fail to elicit much sympathy after he’s persisted in his fantasy beyond rationality, and I was left glad that Rebel had dodged a bullet.
The writing is competent, but the plot is aggravating; there is no love here even to go wrong, only might have beens, and only one character who elicits any sympathy at all. And it’s neither Daron nor Rebel. 2 stars