THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Kate McMurray
The Boy Next Door by Kate McMurray
Reviewed by Cassie
Returning to his hometown to care for his mother, Lowell buys a house and prepares to settle into a dull suburban lifestyle. He’s surprised to find his childhood friend Jase living next door with his young daughter. He’s even more surprised when he begins to suspect Jase is anything but straight.
Jase is both happy and worried to be living next door to his old friend. His attraction to the man surges quick and hot, and he wants to give in to it. Too bad his ex-wife doesn’t want their daughter exposed to his affairs. That shouldn’t be an issue if all he wants is a fling, but Jase soon begins to want more. Can Jase have his daughter and Lowell too?
The Boy Next Door is an engaging tale of a man caught between family and love. Jase is pretty much stuck at the beginning of the story: he knows he’s gay, and he knows his marriage was a mistake, but he adores his daughter. He doesn’t want to give her up for anything. His attraction to Lowell both arouses and terrifies him. Sometimes I grew impatient with his self-delusion and wishy-washy desire to have what he wanted without having to risk anything, but he felt realistic to me. Lowell, on the other hand, has been out and proud for a long time. He knows what he wants, and he’s not afraid to go for it. He knows having any kind of relationship with Jase will be hard, and possibly end badly for him, but he wants his old friend enough to go for it. Things get complicated when both men’s feelings deepen. I like friends-to-lovers stories, and reconnections, so I enjoyed the first section of the book very much. I wasn’t keen on the obligatory evil ex wife, whose actions were predictable, but the other secondary characters were interesting. The plot worked well when the conflict was mostly internal. The external conflict wasn’t badly written either, and held a measure of suspense, but I thought the story worked better before the external conflict took center stage. Overall, The Boy Next Door is a sweet, enjoyable story of two men finding themselves and each other.