Title : Hot Mess
Author : Rowan McAllister
Publisher : Dreamspinner Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 200 pages (e-book)
Published : December 4, 2013
Rating : ★★★★
Too much partying and self-inflicted trouble have left Cameron Lacey’s life a complete mess. But he’s determined to change, and he’ll do anything to keep a roof over his head until he gets himself together. When he’s introduced to Sam Powell, he can’t believe Sam will let him stay without expecting anything in return—in Cameron’s world, nothing is free. Realizing Sam’s bleeding heart is exactly as it appears throws Cameron for a loop… and completely head over heels. Unfortunately, old habits die hard.
Cameron’s demons rear their ugly heads, leading to a series of backsliding disasters and fumbled attempts by Sam to save Cameron from bad choices. As Cameron struggles to become who he wants to be instead of who he is, he also comes to hope Sam will discover that what’s right for him might not be what he’s looking for—but who he already has.
When I picked this to review I thought I was getting a fun read about a troubled twink and an older guy falling in love. It was that but this wasn’t exactly what I’d call a light read. There was plenty of humor but it really revolved around Cameron escaping his past. Some of the content is heavy but the love story was good and I enjoyed reading Cameron’s journey.
Sam’s sister gets him to agree to let Cameron, a twenty year old soon to be homeless again ex student of hers, stay with him until he gets back on his feet. Yes, Sam is that really awesome type of guy who likes to see the good in people and help his fellow man out. I’ve read reviews saying this would never happen. Why not? I would hope somebody out there is willing to help. It’s a sad day when helping out a person is too fiction for fiction.
Anyway, Cameron moves in with Sam and thinks surely Sam is just like any other guy. At some point Sam is going to want sexual favors from Cameron. Cameron accepts this. It’s not ideal but he’s a horny twenty year old and Sam is an attractive man. When Sam doesn’t respond to any of Cameron’s advances or hints, Cameron not only realizes he’s been taken in by an honestly good guy, but that he wants something real with Sam. Sam looks at Cameron as a kid and a friend. He actually calls him kid through part of the book. No worries. Sam is oblivious to Cameron’s intent and he shows no interest in Cameron sexually for a large portion of the book. I would think that I wouldn’t like this because I like the “smexy” but it was really well done. I think if there was cock stirring going on it would have felt weird. Sam really wanted to help Cameron and Cameron NEEDED someone to be there for him. Just for him. Not to get in his pants. Sam being there helped Cameron see past his cynicism that he’d adopted at way too young of an age. Sam didn’t even realize he had those types of feelings for Cameron until much later in the book. So be prepared for a slow frustrating build but so worth it.
We get the POVs of both MCs which I always find interesting. Cameron’s POV was the one I found most intriguing. From the outside looking in you may see a troubled and slutty twenty year old mooching off a nice guy. When you get in Cameron’s head you get to see things differently. Cameron’s character is very flawed and he knows it, He does some amazingly stupid stuff but seeing his thought process makes you understand just how easy it is to just take the wrong path. One impulsive decision can change so much. Cameron could have come off terribly annoying and immature but I found him fascinating. Wanting Cameron to see him as a man and not a messed up kid was what set Cameron on the right path. Well, after a few screw ups. The graduation from friends to lovers was very good. I totally believe these two were meant for each other. Really good read with much more depth than I expected. I recommend.
Rated 4 stars by Whit