Angus is freaking out because he is turning 30. His best friend, Reece, thinks it is hilarious and tries to throw levity into the situation. But then at his own birthday party, Angus’ boyfriend of 10 years breaks up with him. And mere hours later announces his engagement to a much younger version of Angus. Falling into a deep depression, he loses his job and his apartment. In a desperate effort to get his friend back, Reece packs them both up, rents a car and they hit the road with no real destination.
This was both a great road trip book and a great friends to lovers book. Angus and Reece would get to one destination and then decide on the next. Reece is patient and loving and kind. Exactly the best friend we all hope for. While Angus starts out the trip as surly and depressed, their adventures, the people they meet and the things they see along the way help him discover himself all over again. But he also discovers how much he loves being with Reece, his “straight” friend. One of my favorite things was Reece saying “I never said I was straight. You did.”
The relationship, and therefore the sex was a slow build and slow burn. The chemistry between them was always there but as romantic partners it came very naturally. Nothing seemed forced or frantic. And although the sex was definitely hot, it wasn’t out of control. It was sweet and loving.
A road trip across the country could be an editing nightmare, but this wasn’t. They spent about two weeks traversing the US, never staying longer than a day or two in any one city. Their travel time was realistic though. Nothing worse than someone driving from say, San Francisco to LA in 2 hours. Things like that can really ruin a book for me. Research was definitely done on this.
I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really did like the ending. It was a natural culmination of things and what Angus’ sister says when she picks them up from the airport is perfect.
Holding me back from more than 4 stars was that I didn’t feel that Reece had a ton of depth. He was a great friend, loyal to the bone, but I never felt really connected to him.
Angus has been with the same guy for ten years. When his boyfriend breaks up with him the night of his thirtieth birthday party and announces his engagement to a twenty-two-year-old less than ten hours later, Angus is… a mess. To put it lightly. He spends days in bed, drinks himself into a stupor every night, and ends up losing his job and his apartment. His best and oldest friend, Reece, decides it’s time for an intervention. And a change of scenery.
Reece and Angus take off on a buddy trip across the US. They don’t have much of a plan; they just start driving. It takes Angus a couple of days to do much more than grunt when Reece talks to him, but slowly he opens up. They drive, talk, heal, shout, drink a bit too much sometimes, dance, meet new friends… and somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, they fall in love.
Which was the last thing in the world Angus expected.
“I’M SO old.” Angus flopped down on his best friend’s leather couch and closed his eyes. “How did we get to be thirty?” He’d been trying to distract himself for months, but the day was coming. Less than a week and the big old three-oh was upon him. It felt like the end of the world. No, it was the end of the world. The end of him being young and hot and full of potential. It sucked.Angus got a hard poke in the stomach. He opened his eyes to his oldest friend in the world making the dorkiest face he’d ever seen. Angus couldn’t help laughing. Hot as he was, Reece was seriously good at making himself look completely unkissable. And he also was really damn good at making Angus forget about his temperamental angsting.
“I’m only four months after you, man. If you’re old, what does that make me?” Reece asked.
Angus sighed. Reece would never get it. “Straight thirty and gay thirty are two very different things. Have I not taught you anything?”
“You’re gonna have to explain that to me.”
“You just don’t get it. Like, thirty for you is still young.”
“Thirty for you is young too.” Reece rolled his eyes. “You still look like a teenager, babe. I think you’re going to be fine.”
Reece was so delusional. He had years of being hot ahead of him. In Angus’s world, which was youth obsessed and ready to throw away aging twinks with the trash, twenty-five was getting old.
Thirty was… time to be put out to pasture. Angus was starting to feel like a carton of out-of-date milk. Might as well. He was pale enough after the wet, sunless winter they’d had.
And then there was Reece—gold Scandinavian skin, wheat-gold hair and green-gold eyes, big, brawny, smile like a supermodel. Everything about him was… golden. Like he glowed somehow. Reece was annoyingly beautiful, and sometimes Angus hated him. Of course, he also loved him more than just about anyone in his life, so the hatred was fond.
Angus sat up. “I’m not fin—” He was distracted by his phone buzzing in his pocket. Brad. Angus pulled out the phone and waved at Reece to be quiet.
“Hi, baby. How’s Corvallis?” Angus’s longtime boyfriend was off packing up the apartment he’d used all semester when he taught a weekend photography class at Oregon State University—two long hours away from their home in Portland. It had been an endless couple of months with him gone every weekend and a few weekdays as well.
“It’s fine. What are you doing?”
“Oh, you know, just some laundry. Watching a movie. What time are you getting home tomorrow?”
Brad sighed into the phone. “I told you already that I was going to stay until Monday. Some of the staff are throwing me a little good-bye dinner.”
“Do you want me to drive down?” Angus felt a hole in his chest whenever Brad was gone, like he didn’t quite know what to do with himself. He knew it was stupid—he was an independent, grownass man, nearly thirty and all that, but still. He didn’t like being alone.
“No. There’s no point for just a dinner. I’ll be home sometime on Monday.”
“Okay,” Angus said quietly.
“I’m surprised you’re not with Reece,” Brad said. The sneer was in his voice.
“Oh, yeah, um, he was busy.”
Reece made an irritated face at Angus. He wasn’t a fan of Brad. The feeling was more than mutual. Angus had been trying to get them to be friends for nearly ten years, with just about zero luck. It had become easier to not inform Brad of his friend dates with Reece. Too bad he couldn’t avoid talking to Reece about it.
“That’s just as well. I’m going to let you go, but I’ll see you Monday.”
“I’ll give you a call tomorrow, see how the dinner went,” Angus said.
“Oh, babe. You don’t have to. I’ll be busy, and it’ll be loud. We can hang on until Monday.”
Apparently Brad could. Angus bit his lip. “Okay,” he said.
“Talk to you later, babe. I’m going to go.”
“I lo—” Angus realized he was talking to nothing. Brad had hung up.
When he looked up, he was met with a stormy-faced Reece. “Are we going to discuss how you have to lie to Brad now and tell him you’re not hanging out with me?” Reece looked like he wanted to punch something.
“I know you two have had some… political problems.” Which was putting it lightly. They’d never actually punched each other, but on a few occasions it had been really close. Angus knew Reece’s face better than his own. “It’s just easier to play Switzerland.”
“Fuck Switzerland.” Reece flopped down on the couch next to Angus.
Angus loved Reece’s house. He’d helped pick every wall color, picture, and piece of furniture over the years. It was just as much home as his and Brad’s apartment. Usually. At the moment, he was feeling a little uncomfortable.
“You’ll understand someday. When you get into a serious relationship of your own.”
“Wow, that wasn’t condescending at all. So I haven’t been Mister Long-term Relationship. That doesn’t mean I’m a fifth grader who needs a talk on how life works for grown-ups.”
“I didn’t mean it that way.”
“It sounded like it. You always get that way when you’ve been talking to Brad. You turn into him.”
“Are we going to bitch at each other all night? Because if we are, I’m gonna go home and do some work.” Sometimes Angus and Reece sniped at each other like the brothers they nearly were.
Usually Angus had a great time arguing with his most adored friend in the whole wide world. That night, he really wasn’t in the mood for Reece’s shit.
Reece tossed a pillow and hit Angus in the face. “Don’t you dare go home. We had plans tonight, and those plans didn’t include you taking off with your panties in a bunch just because Bradley the Magnificent called and ruined your mood.”
Reece shrugged. “Maybe I’ll try someday,” he said with a wink.
Angus shrieked and attacked Reece with armpit pokes and a few judicious knees to the balls before he gave up and rolled off Reece… and right onto the floor.
“Ow. Shit.” Reece dissolved into giggles at Angus’s misfortune.
“You laugh like a four-year-old,” Angus said sourly.
“You smell like one.” Reece wrinkled his nose.
Angus gasped and slapped a hand onto his chest. “I smell like a rare and perfect flower.”
“Flower of my ass.”
“You actually are four.”
Reece gave Angus a huge, toothy grin. “Are we getting Thai, sushi, or soup and salad?”
“I want cheese enchiladas. With extra cheese. And sour cream,” Angus said. He announced it like it was a foregone conclusion. He knew his best friend. It most likely was.
“Mexican it is.” Reece raised his eyebrows. “Cheating while the paleo police are away?”
“Something like that.”
Since Brad had been gone most of the week to finalize the semester, Angus had had days on end of no CrossFit, zero green smoothies, and only a single twenty-minute run. It had been kind of amazing. Of course his jeans were fitting a bit tight. After his birthday, he was going to have to put a lid on it and hit the gym again. It would be easy, since Brad was going to be in town a lot more. Fewer Sunday brunches with Reece and Cherry.
Reece shrugged. “I could go for a fish burrito and some flan.”
“And extra chips and guac. And queso dip.”
Twenty minutes later, they were back ensconced on Reece’s couch with their food and a movie. It wasn’t a club—Angus hadn’t felt like doing anything like that in ages—or one of Brad’s fancy cocktail lounges where Angus always felt a tiny bit out of place, but it was fun. The kind of dorky stay-at-home fun he and Reece had been having since they were six years old and just moved in next door to each other.
Open Road by M.J. O’Shea – Release Day Book Review was last modified: July 24th, 2016 by GGR-Review