Title: Nice Tie
Author: Jules Jones
Publisher: Loose Id
Characters: Alex Hall, Robin Wood
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Alex Hall likes watching good-looking men doing up good-looking ties, a kink he can safely indulge on his morning commute as long as he’s discreet. At least until the day he meets new client Robin Wood, whose face seems oddly familiar. Embarrassingly familiar, when Robin recognizes him as “that guy on the bus.”
Lusting after the client and his tie is a really bad idea. Acting on it would be even worse. Which doesn’t stop Alex’s impulsive suggestion when he realizes that Robin’s as intrigued as he is awkward. They’re both grown-ups, they can handle the conflict of interest, and if nothing else it will get the awkwardness out of the way. And there’s a cheap hotel at the end of their bus route.
Just one date. One night for Alex to enjoy watching beautiful hands managing a tie with style. One night for Robin with a man who can understand his own grooming kink, even if it’s not quite the same as Alex’s. One night, and then just good friends, while they’re working together. Nobody else’s business.
But Robin has entirely too much experience with romance at work, and the past isn’t staying past.
Admiring a stranger fixing his tie on the bus. Then finding out that stranger is a new colleague at work. Then having a one-night stand to get rid of the attraction—that refuses to vanish over night. And then learning old boyfriends with high-up connections hold grudges. Turmoil ahead.
Alex and Robin have their own individual kinks. These two men match. But their jobs don’t allow for workplace romances, and one of them has emotional baggage. Nonetheless, they try to resolve a sexual chemistry with a quick one-night affair. Unfortunately, a friendship of like minds ensues, and the attraction never really goes anywhere. But neither does their work relationships, plus a dickhead of a boyfriend who is stalking and won’t give up.
This reads realistic, the dialogue and the getting-to-know-each-other. We get the story from Alex’s point of view, and he is rather cavalier about giving his heart to Robin, with sad consequences. We get to know him, his loneliness and need for companionship, which is easily relatable. Robin is a bit harder to get a handle on, but still comes off as a sympathetic nice guy caught in a bad situation.
The stalker thing. That’s a commonly used trope in romance stories. Michael is related to a company exec, so complications lay ahead. I liked the relatively understated manner with which the problem was handled. A fist-fight would not have fit the mood of this sweet romance. So, though the so-called curve ball is easy enough to predict, with no surprises, it was done in a sophisticated manner. A nice touch, I thought.
Swift pace, likeable characters, nice friendly romance, and a couple of hot and heavy moments. A rather good story.
Reviewed By: Susan