Title: Gone for You
Author: Riley Hart
Series: Wild Side #1
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: 02-06-2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 224
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Oliver Hayes wears his heart on his sleeve, and his friends never let him forget it. Every Friday night spent at Wild Side, their favorite West Hollywood bar, Oliver’s lack of hookups becomes the hot topic. It’s not that he doesn’t want a good time. He just wants it to *mean* something, which is a lofty goal when he’s still pining after his childhood crush, Matt, who left ten years ago to start a new life in New York City.
Matt Daniels has always felt most at home seated at a piano. He might not have entirely fit in with his family and friends, but he was always able to find himself in music. Or at least he did before he gave up his dream a lifetime ago. Now, he has a successful modeling career and should be enjoying every second of it. Yet nothing feels right, and Matt fears he’s losing himself.
Just when Oliver decides to get over Matt for good, Matt waltzes back into LA. As Matt struggles to understand what he’s missing in his seemingly perfect life, he falls right back into leaning on Oliver for support. Things aren’t what they used to be between them, though. They tumble into bed together, and it’s hard not to continue ending up there. For the first time in years, Matt’s inspired to compose again, reigniting a spark he thought long extinguished.
But as always, Oliver can’t keep his heart in check, and soon Matt realizes he’s gone for Oliver too. The biggest question is, can he fully give himself to someone if he still hasn’t figured out how to love himself?
3.5 stars- The ending made the book
I love a good friends to lovers book, and was excited to read about the long-term unrequited love in Gone for You. Unfortunately, for the bulk of the book I found myself mostly indifferent to both Matt and Oliver. I enjoyed their stories, thought they were well-rounded characters with an involved history, but I lacked a connection. Not only did I lack a connection to the characters, but I struggled to “feel” the connection between the main characters. The writing was solid and the typical style I’ve come to expect from this author- relaxed and uncomplicated. Though her writing isn’t flowery or detailed, the emotion and chemistry usually come through clearly. For me, that was missing in this book. There was humor, fun conversations and banter between characters, but even that felt forced at times. I’m not sure if it was the undercurrent of deeper emotions the characters held or the challenges Matt struggled to overcome, but I never felt that easy comfort I’ve come to expect from Miss Hart’s books.
I did find the conflicts and storyline interesting. I really enjoyed seeing the characters try to come together to support one another as friends and even lovers, while independently pursuing their own happiness. The romance was sweet but very sexy as well. There were even quite a few lines that spoke of the deep connection Matt and Oliver shared that gave me goosebumps. I simply didn’t hit that stride where I felt the connection and sunk into the story. Perhaps it’s because I had just finished Dare You To and absolutely loved that couple. I had all but decided this was just a book I failed to click with, so I was caught unawares when those final chapters hit full force. Where I had been reading at a casual pace, I suddenly couldn’t sleep until I knew how their story unfolded. The emotion was overwhelming in those final moments and I ended feeling satisfied and looking forward to the next in the series.