Release Date: June 16, 2021
Elliot groaned in the darkness. “Oh my God, I can’t believe I ate all those. It’s your fault.”
“Mmhmm.” Win licked his fingers. “Guilty as charged. Whatcha gonna do about it?”
“If I could move, I’d show you. But I think I gained ten pounds since this morning—I can barely walk.”
“Poor baby. Does that mean I get to tuck you into my bed tonight and have my wicked way with you?”
Their eyes met across the dancing flames from the fire pit, and Elliot’s belly tightened in response to the rising heat and desire reflected in Win’s eyes.
“Is that what you want?” He licked his lips of sticky sweetness.
“I want you.”
“Then we’re on the same page.”
Win doused the fire, and hand in hand, they crossed the yard to the house. On the rear porch, Win stopped and framed Elliot’s face between his hands.
“I don’t want to lead you on. We’re here to enjoy each other, as long as it lasts, right?”
The faint hope that their fun afternoon would’ve miraculously changed Win’s mind, and that he’d want a relationship, faded. Elliot couldn’t be upset—Win had been nothing but up-front with him, and Elliot could walk away, knowing they’d still be friends.
If he were smart, that was what he’d do. But he’d never been smart about men.
Besides, if he left now, he’d never know what being with Win was like. That afternoon’s taste wasn’t enough. He wanted more, and by “more,” he didn’t mean everything; he didn’t mean love and commitment. If he said no, Win would kiss him good-bye and find someone else, because men like Win weren’t alone for long. Elliot would see him and the next man together, knowing it could’ve been him kissing Win, touching him, and he didn’t want that. This time he would go into it with eyes wide open. No free-falling into love. He wanted this night with Win more than anything. He could do this. He would do it.
“That’s right,” he replied, and the relief on Win’s face hurt more than he’d imagined, but Elliot mustered a smile. “Friends having fun together.”
The List is the first book in the Second Chances series by Felice Stevens, and it was a great start for it!
Elliot was all kinds of adorbs and I love him to bits. I felt sorry for him, he really had the worst luck picking up men, and once I learned his whole story with his parents and sister, it was obvious why. I loved seeing his growth throughout the book, the way he stood for himself and what he wanted with Win, his mother, and his friends, had me cheering for him. I really liked Win, too, but I was annoyed by how hot and cold he ran with Elliot at times. I got that it wasn’t easy for him, but really sometimes I wanted to just shake some sense into him.
Elliot and Win were scorching hot together, but they were also just what the other needed, giving each other the strength they needed. Elliot to stand up for himself and Win to get over his grief.
I really liked Elliot’s friends, they were great (aside from one particular instance in which I wanted to kick Wolfie and Spencer) and I’m looking forward to their stories.
All in all, a fantastic read! It was hot, angsty, emotional—I was sobbing my eyes out during the last part of the book, so you’ve been warned—and romantic, just what I expect from a Felice Stevens book. Very recommendable!
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***
While I didn’t like Win’s hot and cold routine, I could sympathize and understand his pain; having everyone try to help had to be frustrating. Win likes what he sees in Elliott, but his uncertainty and discomfort about dating were clear. While I had my doubts about the arrangement they made, I liked that it allowed them to spend time together and see what they had. I loved that Elliott stood up for himself more and was able to unburden himself about his family. I really loved how Win stood by Elliott and helped him when he needed it the most. These two brought so much to each other’s lives and had more in common than they initially realized.