Rating: 4.5 Stars

Publisher: D.J. Jamison

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Bi Character, College, Friends to Lovers, Opposites Attract, Romance, Virgin

Length: 223 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

Purchase At: Amazon.com

Blurb –

You deserve all the kisses you want …

I want you to know how amazing you are. You won’t believe me, because I’m just your brother’s best friend, but it’s true. Each day my feelings for you grow, confusing but undeniable.

With a few anonymous love tokens, I finally have an outlet for all the things I can’t say. And with each gift and note, you smile. For me. Not your brother’s straight friend, but something new. Something more. Something that will change everything if we can both find the courage to believe.

All I have to do is confess who I really am:
Your Secret Admirer

Review –

What a cute, sweet story.

After reading a book that I didn’t like AT ALL I needed something light. Secret Admirer fit the bill perfectly.

Benji is in his first year of college. An art major, his biggest concern is navigating his new life. His brother (Jeremy) talked him into applying for a small college a couple of hours away from home. The only reason Benji agreed was because Jeremy was a student there and he knew his big brother would always have his back. But then Jeremy’s offered an internship in Chicago and ‘big brother always being there to have his back’ is blown out of the water. Even so, Ace, Jeremy’s best friend is still there (his last year of college) so no biggie, right? Wrong. Benji has had a crush on Ace for as long as he can remember.

Ace is super outgoing. Benji, not so much.

He was a go-with-the-flow kind of guy; I was a drowning-in-anxiety-kind of boy.

Ace was an athlete in high school who fought like hell (thanks to Jeremy’s help) to get the grades for a full scholarship. Without the scholarship he’d still be living at home with his mother and stepfather. Jeremy wasn’t just a good friend to Ace. He was like a brother and Ace feels like he could never repay him for all he did to help him.

I’ll come back to Ace’s family.

Benji’s having a bad night. He’s been standing outside of a movie theater waiting for a date that didn’t bother to show up. He didn’t just not show up, he’s refusing to take Benji’s calls and he’s not reading his texts. Bad enough, right? What’s worse is that Ace is there shortly after to see his mortification at being stood up.

This would have been Benji’s first date ever.

Ace feels bad when he sees his best friend’s kid brother so down in the dumps. They go for ice cream (the cure for all that ails you, right? *snort*) and Ace comes up with a plan. That plan is to do something special for Benji who Ace has always thought was a sweet kid. What he doesn’t expect is for that sweet kid to be all grown up and hot. He’s not been back home since he left for college three years before so he was more than a little surprised on the first day of college when he saw that Benji was no longer the kid who used to follow Ace and Jeremy around when he was younger. In those days Benji was simply Jeremy’s little brother.

Boy, does that change. 😉

Yeah, I was officially bi-curious, physically at least. But I’d never felt an emotional pull to a guy… until now.

Ace has only dated girls in the past but he’s always been bi-curious. He’s never been opposed to hooking up with guys. He’s just never done it. He’s long suspected that he’s bisexual but, again, he’s not acted on it. Seeing sweet Benji down in the dumps over being stood up changes everything. Ace is determined to make him smile. The way he does it is by buying a couple of bags of Hershey Kisses (best things ever) and leaving them in Benji’s dorm room with a cute note from a so-called secret admirer. One small gift and note isn’t enough when Ace sees how happy it makes Benji so he keeps doing it. There are the candy kisses, a rainbow eraser, and a new sketch book. In the midst of all this, Benji talks to Ace about the gifts and notes not knowing he’s the one sending them. This goes on for a little while with Ace realizing that no longer is he doing this just to make Benji smile. He’s doing it because he’s genuinely interested in Benji and not just as his best friend’s little brother. He’s finding himself wanting to spend all his time outside of school and work with him.

In the background Benji, along with his friend Tracy, is trying desperately to find out who the secret admirer is. He discusses it at length with Ace, and even Jeremy knows about it. Jeremy thinks it’s creepy. Dre, Benji’s roommate, just wants more chocolate.

I LOVED Dre. He was so funny and had no filter.

Benji is on a mission to find out who it is, eventually convincing himself it’s one of Ace’s frat brothers.

And this is when everything changes. When the truth comes out you can imagine how it goes for sweet Benji – sweet Benji who has always considered himself less than, who always believed Ace was straight. He thinks he’s been made a fool of and he’s devastated.

But Ace is amazing and makes sure that Benji knows that he truly does care for him and not just as his best friend’s younger brother.

Then there’s Jeremy. Jeremy is the reason Ace even got in college. He helped Ace when Ace’s parents only cared about what their son could do for them. Ace never wants to hurt his friendship with Jeremy but he’s fallen head over heels with his brother.

“Jeremy wouldn’t even share his Transformers with me. You really think he’s going to share his best friend?”

Which leads to my only complaint about the book…

I felt that they should’ve opened up to Jeremy about their relationship before they did. As much as I enjoyed watching them build their relationship, I constantly felt that the shoe was about to drop – and it did.

That’s all I’ll say about all that.

I adored Ace and Benji together. I liked Jeremy even if I felt that he was a bit of a butt head a couple of times. I loved Benji and Jeremy’s parents and Tracy.

And now back to Ace’s parents. Oh, how I despised them. All they cared about was what Ace could do for them. They didn’t want to see their son do better in his life. They were against him going to college because it meant he wasn’t at home working his ass off to pay their bills – something he’d done from the time he was fourteen. His mother was absolutely horrible and was constantly trying to guilt Ace into coming back home and paying their bills because they were too damn lazy to get off their butts and talk care of themselves. She didn’t have to see Ace to guilt him. She would send letters going on and on about this and that bill not being paid. When Ace finally made the decision to deal with his mother once and for all, my heart broke for him.

I don’t like books with secret relationships (re: brother’s best friend) because, again, I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even so, when things came out in this book, it worked. I thought Jeremy was a bit of a jerk a couple of times but I understood it to an extent.

There’s a necessary epilogue that takes place several years down the road. This was good for me because I usually see college relationships as HFN. The author gives us a glimpse of Ace and Benji as well as Jeremy and where he is later. I was very happy with the ending.

The sex was hot and sweet at the same time. Neither Ace nor Benji had ever been with a man so it was nice watching them find their way with each other. A really nice, feel good book.