Type: Gay Romance (Male/Male)
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
My Copy: Sent
Mark Ryan is stabbed in the back by a guy he thought was his friend and is fired from a Fortune 500 company he trusted was his future. He’s not in the mood for any male bonding. Some good hard sex, however, is another matter.
Jamie Wilkes’ real last name is not quite as brand-worthy as Rockefeller, but it’s mighty close. When he wanders by Mark’s mammoth glass beach house and finds the hot corporate titan in residence, he jumps at the chance to get to know his secret crush better. If Mark wants to mistake him for a surfer or a beach bum, Jamie’s fine with that. What he’s not fine with, though, is Mark’s closed-off attitude.
The prince believed to be a pauper and the would-be CEO who’s fallen off the corporate ladder both realize this could finally be their chance at something real.
In Male Bonding, Angela Claire leads the reader down the rocky road of a m/m relationship that basically starts out as a one night stand and ends up being so much more. Jamie Wilkes has seen Mark Ryan before, but not often. They both own beach houses in the same area, but while Jamie is a full-time resident, Mark is rarely around. As a high powered corporate employee, Mark doesn’t have a lot of down time to spend at the beach. That changes abruptly, though, when he is fired from his job. Mark has no family and for years has poured all of his time and energy into his job. To say that being fired leaves him floundering would be an understatement. He feels betrayed by the company he practically lived for, and he heads to his beach house to lick his wounds in private.
The last thing he wants or expects is to be hit on by a beach bum like Jamie. Mark figured he would swim a little, drink a lot, and then figure out how to get back onto the corporate fast track. What Mark doesn’t realize, though, is that Jamie may be young, but he is far from the immature surfer Mark pegs him as. Jamie was attracted to Mark from the instant the older man caught his eye. Since he was rarely around, he did not have the opportunity to learn much of anything about Mark until he spotted him again one night outside his house. He basically forces an introduction, and despite Mark’s hostile attitude that screams “Leave me alone!” he tries to simultaneously befriend Mark and hit on him. Not only does Jamie want to act on the sizzling chemistry between them, but he senses a need for a deeper connection in Mark.
Despite knowing Mark’s circumstances, I was very put off by how unlikeable he was. I could see Jamie’s sexual attraction to him, but it was a little hard to root for them at first because Jamie seemed way too good for the other man. Mark was rude and sarcastic and crass, wanting nothing more than a quick sexual encounter, whereas Jamie wanted to get to know Mark on a friendlier level. Jamie was caring and charming and there was more to him than the pretty rich boy exterior Mark saw him as, and I thought he deserved better. However, the author does a nice job of showing how much someone like Mark needs someone like Jamie, and Jamie’s persistence pays off. Mark’s eyes are eventually opened to what Jamie has to offer, and the book finishes with a romantic happy ending.
I give Male Bonding by Angela Claire 3.5 stars