Title: The One Who Saves Me
Series: Home, Book 6
Author: Cardeno C.
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Erotic
Source: review copy provided by author
Published: November 12, 2012 by Dreamspinner Press
At fourteen, Andrew Thompson and Caleb Lakes become best friends. As the years pass, they stand by each other through family trauma, school, and the start of their careers. They share their first sexual experiences as friends, learning and experimenting. And they talk each other through countless dates and breakups. Decades of trust and loyalty build a deep and abiding friendship —until Andrew suffers a tragedy. Caleb moves in with him, and the parameters of their unique relationship blur.
Wrestling with feelings he can’t articulate, Andrew spirals into self-loathing. Caleb struggles to help his friend heal, but he longs for more than Andrew can give him. After so many years, neither man knows how to break out of his established role. After all, boyfriends come and go, but best friends are forever.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: I really enjoyed this friends-with-benefits story told over time but the emotional denouement came much too close to novel’s end for my taste.
The Set Up: Andrew and Caleb have been best friends since they were fourteen. They came out first to each other, lost their virginity to each other and over the subsequent years supported each other through countless breakups and sexual escapades. This changes when a tragedy befalls Andrew and he can’t get over his guilt but Caleb is still by his side through everything.
Why I Read this Book: I’ve become a fan of this author and have been working my way through a great backlist of books.
What I Liked: The best thing about this book is how it’s told over time. The book has one pivotal scene in the present and then readers are flashed back to when the boys are fourteen and forming their friendship. I loved watching Andrew and Caleb grow up, explore life and become men. The life events don’t just include Andrew’s search for a monogamous partner who will love him or Caleb’s sexual escapades; instead the life events include Andrew’s parents’ breakup, Caleb’s photography and design work, and Andrew’s effort to become a surgeon. I really enjoyed this complete look at these two characters’ lives and how they loved and supported each other through it all, large and small.
What I Also Liked: MM readers who enjoy a good erotic romance will adore Andrew and Caleb. They have a chemistry that leaps off the page from the time they first notice each other sexually and continues the entire book. Andrew enjoys body modification and this will delight MM readers as it did me. Unlike some authors who write good erotic interludes but not emotional intimacy, this author deftly combines both. The characters’ emotional connection is just as tangible as their sexual chemistry. For instance, Caleb cooks for Andrew when he visits and Andrew rushes to Caleb’s side when he has appendix surgery. The men communicate so well together and share their worries from the mundane, Caleb designing a house for a picky client, to more important like Andrew’s constant quest to find a monogamous partner.
What I Didn’t Like: I loved most of this book but the shift in the men’s relationship from friends-with-benefits to committed life partners happens way too close to novel’s end. The men become roommates and months pass but nothing progresses with the men’s relationship until BOOM! right at novel’s end in one scene they’re a couple. I felt very invested in Drew and Caleb and felt I deserved to see more of them as true couple. I think the way the story was told made it even more critical for me to see them as a couple since as a reader I wanted to shake them through much of the novel and say “look-here! What you’ve each been searching for all along was right in front of you all these years!” I suppose it’s good that I feel strongly about this since it shows the author did a successful job making me care about these characters.
IMO: Even with my issue with the book’s ending, this is well worth the read and better than a lot of MM romance.