You Were Always The One
Title : You Were Always The One
Author : Hollis Shiloh
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 104 pages (e-book)
Published : October 30, 2013
Rating : ★★★
Max struggled through every day in high school, especially when his hormones seemed to crave boys rather than girls. His best friend Mason and Mason’s younger brother Jamie made a bright spot in his teen life, until he confessed to Mason he was gay. Mason responded by ripping away all his joy, ending their friendship, and warning Max against seeing Jamie. Max is a policeman now, comfortable in his sexuality but private and wary, taking solace in his job and the friendship of his golden retriever, Alex. But the past he thought was behind him demands resolution when a prickly, wounded, shockingly sexy Jamie gets arrested, and Max comes to the rescue.
The description of the book sounded like it would be a sweet story about two people finding each other again. In a way it was, but I had a hard time relating to the actions of the characters. Max and Mason were best buddies growing up. Mason’s younger brother, Jamie, was always hanging around, trying to get Max’s attention. The three year age gap was significant during the time they were growing up together and Max looked at Jamie as a little kid, someone to take care of.
Max’s mother dies when he is young and his father becomes distant, leaving Max on his own much of the time. Mason’s family makes him feel welcome and he enjoyed having Jamie look up to him. He enjoyed being needed. As Max gets older he realizes he is interested more in boys, than girls and when he confesses this to his best friend, Mason, that he is gay, it does not go well. Mason turns him away and tells him to never come near Jamie again.
Years later, Max is a police officer, living with his dog Alex and satisfied with his life for the most part. Until one night after an escort service bust, he finds “little Jamie” in jail. He helps Jamie out of jail and tells him he needs to stay with him until things are cleared up. This opens up a lot of old feelings for both Max and Jamie. Max had started to notice Jamie for more than a friend when they were still teens but felt guilty and when Mason warned him off, he felt he should stay away. Jamie felt abandoned.
The dynamics between Jamie, Max and Mason are frustrating a lot of the time. It was hard seeing them progress (or not progress) from their past and some of the angst felt forced (mostly with Mason). Things that happened to Jamie and the relationship between him and his brother and Max was hard to understand as Jamie was an adult and had been living on his own for some time. Mason and Max were still treating him like a kid and when he was around them; his actions came across as immature. The story alludes to something traumatic in Jamie’s past and it is revealed towards the end of the book. Why Mason thought Max had done anything to Jamie or did not realize Jamie was gay was never clear to me.
I liked the idea of two old friends reuniting and rekindling their feelings for one another. It was sweet and while the writing itself was good; the unrealistic behavior of the characters stopped the book from realizing its potential.
Rated 3 stars by Deb