Meet Me In The Middle
Title : Meet Me in the Middle
Series : Distance Between Us, Book #3
Author : L.A. Witt
Publisher : Samhain Publishing (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 218 pages (e-book)
Published : August 20, 2013
Rating : ★★★1/2
Fool me three times…
Dale Ramsey is looking forward to his twenty-year high school reunion except for one small problem. Adam O’Connor, his old friend—and old flame.
Twice before, Adam has disappeared from Dale’s life. Once after a graduation night fling, and again after a hot reunion years later. When Adam resurfaces this time, single and on the verge of retiring from the Navy, Dale wonders if he’ll want to mend fences… and maybe tear up some sheets.
The spark between them is alive and well, but Dale resists. After all, Adam only seems to come around when his life is in flux, and Dale is through being a placeholder until something better comes along. He wants his friend back, but not if he’ll be deserted a third time.
Inevitably, though, their attempts to rekindle their friendship wind up igniting something much hotter, and stirring up emotions too strong to ignore. Making Dale wonder if he should put his heart on the line… or if this time he should be the one to walk away.
Warning: Let’s face it, Dale’s been sitting quietly (well, kind of) on the sidelines since The Distance Between Us, and he waited patiently through The Closer You Get. Dude is seriously ready for some scorching-hot action, so keep a fire extinguisher and some ice handy. These boys are gonna need it…
“I knew seeing him again would be jarring, and I’d been dreading it, but I hadn’t expected it to hurt like this. That deep ache in my chest was a shock. Emotions that I’d thought were long dead started clawing their way to the surface. How much I’d secretly wanted him when I still thought he was straight, but kept it to myself rather than make things awkward with my best friend since grade school. How hard I’d fallen for him even when I’d known he’d be gone too soon to make anything work. And how hard I’d fallen again—fallen for him, fallen on my face—ten years later.”
Dale and Adam were best friends all during high school. Dale had feelings for Adam but thought he was straight. On the night of their High School graduation party, Adam kissed and Dale. They ended up having sex. That was the last time Dale heard from Adam before Adam enlisted in the navy and Dale moved from their home town to Seattle. Until their ten-year reunion, where they ended up in bed together. Again. And then parted ways. Again. Dale went back to his life and his friends in Seattle and Adam went back to the navy and the wife he was divorcing.
Dale has a bit of apprehension at the thought that Adam may be at the twenty year reunion, but decides to go anyway. When he does spot Adam there, he’s very wary of making the same mistake again. But when Adam requests for them to meet for coffee the following day, he agrees to the meeting, remembering the friendship they once had and that he’d missed not having. Maybe that had a chance of being salvaged. During their coffee date, Dale tells Adam how much he was hurt by Adam’s abandonment, not once, but twice. Adam confesses the whole reason he attended the reunion was to see Dale again. That he had missed him and their friendship.
They end up having sex, but this time when they parted ways they had exchanged phone numbers. On the way back to Seattle, Dale’s doubts kick in and he thinks that they hadn’t even made any solid plans to keep in touch and, in an effort to finally move on, he deletes Adams number from his phone, figuring he’d never be getting to use it anyway. However, that night he sees a missed call on his phone and recognises the number as Adam’s. When he returns the call, Adam assures Dale that he really does want to keep in contact, but would like to start rebuilding their friendship. Three weeks later, Adam’s job hunting in anticipation of his upcoming retirement from the navy, bring him to a couple of interviews in the Seattle area. Dale invites him to stay in his condo to avoid the cost of a hotel. They manage to keep things on a ‘just friends’ level for the visit, catching up on what had been going on in their lives during the last ten years, including Adam’s three marriages and divorces, and Dale ends up inviting Adam along to Kieran and Alex’s bachelor weekend in Las Vegas. The body slam scene in Vegas is scorching hot!
After several more chapters of Dale convincing himself that Adam doesn’t want the same things from him as he does from Adam, he finally gives into his feelings when he visits Adam in San Diego for Labor Day long weekend. Adam tells him that he doesn’t want to fight his desire for Dale any longer. After a night of steamy sex, they go from ‘just friends’ to ‘friends with benefits but a little bit more than that’. They see each other when they can, taking turns to fly back and forth to meet up. During that time, Adam tells Dale he needs to take things slowly and that he’s not quite ready to define what they have, but it is something. Of course, this makes Dale’s doubts start shouting at him again that he wants more from this than Adam and that he must remember they are just friends. With benefits.
And that’s two-thirds of the book. Dale’s constant round and round repetitively convincing himself that it wasn’t really himself that Adam wanted and the whole ‘but we can only be friends (with benefits)’ introspection got a little frustrating and started to feel like padding in order to fill out word count. I did love the sex scene where there was a lot more affection and emotion underlying it than there was in the ones previous to it. I think that was one of my main problems with this book. Most of their sex scenes lacked any real emotional connection between the MCs for me, so I didn’t end up feeling much emotion for them, either. They were definitely hot, though! There was a time or two that did have all of that emotion I wanted to see, and they’re the ones I did love. I also loved the banter both between the MCs and between Dale’s circle of friends. I would love to be at a get together of this group. They would be a blast!
The brief recap of who’s who from the previous two books at the beginning was really well done, especially since it’s been a couple of years since the last book. Because it’s written in first person, it just feels like Dale is standing next to me giving me the heads up. I enjoyed this book although, except for a couple of moments, it didn’t really have much of an emotional impact for me. I liked the characters well enough and I loved the group dynamics, interactions and banter between Dale, Ethan, Rhett, Kieran, Alex and, later, Adam. My favourite scene was definitely Adam’s Navy Retirement. All the emotion that had felt lacking in he and Dale’s previous series of encounters were in that chapter in spades and it definitely hit me in the solar plexus. For the most part, though, the story went round in repeating circles with Dale’s inner monologue of doubt. I did like getting a glimpse into how the two previous couples were going.
Rated 3.5 stars by BookSmitten