Book Review: Side Line by Ben Ryder

Side Line by Ben RyderTitle: Side Line
Author: Ben Ryder
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: June 2013 by Dreamspinner Press

Having rarely experienced another man’s touch, US Marine Damon O'Connor doesn't identify as gay, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think about strong hands or where treasure trails lead, despite his commitments back home. Damon’s sense of duty is strong, and he’ll stop at nothing to do what’s right, even if that means dying for his country.

While stationed in the Middle East, Damon gets what he least expects in the form of Jay Wells, an out-and-proud British beer promotions manager working in the area. Jay is content working his life away and has no time for relationships. Neither does Damon, as he’s days away from deploying to war. Until they met, love was the last thing on their minds, but they’re determined to enjoy it while they can.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Not the book for me as I really disliked one lead and think the men never had important intimate conversations.

The Set Up: Jay is a British beer promoter during a tour of the Middle East. There he meets the rugged US Marine Damon who has no concept of how to have a relationship.

Why I Read this Book: I’ve been on an MM military-men reading spree so this synopsis was perfect for me.

What I Liked: I liked Jay a lot. He’s a Brit with a dry sense of humor and a great working relationship with his secretary and beer girls. His honest conversations with his secretary and good friend provide nice levity for this book, even if their emotional intimacy is the only one I got as a reader.

What I Didn’t Like: I didn’t like Damon at all. He’s harsh and callous with Jay, as illustrated by their less than mutual gratification in their sexual encounters. To me this bordered on sexual violence as Damon didn’t even want to make their sex mutual. In my opinion their sex was about what Damon wanted, if at Jay’s expense. The book does have Jay show Damon another way but in my opinion ignorance doesn’t excuse selfishness, especially in the erotic.

My other huge complaint was that Damon’s backstory and how it pertains to his life choices aren’t shared in an intimate conversation with Jay; instead Damon’s boss tells Jay and then suddenly Jay understands Damon. This was a romance cop-out in my opinion and offered no emotional resolution between Jay and Damon. To me romance is about the incremental steps people take toward a shared intimacy and I got none of that in this book. Even the end doesn’t have Jay and Damon reuniting under their own volition but instead as a result of Jay’s friend.

IMO: This wasn’t the romance or story for me at all.

J9’s Rating:
1 Frog

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


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