Troublemaker (Goode Boys #1), Sean Ashcroft
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Sean Ashcroft
Tags: Contemporary, Bi Main Characters, Fake Boyfriend, Humor, Opposites Attract, Out For You, Romance, Series
Purchase At: Amazon.com
Neighbourhood bad boy Aiden Goode has had a crush on his brother’s kind, smart, straight best friend since he was fifteen. So when Carter asks him to come to a family wedding as his date, Aiden jumps at the chance to spend a week alone with the man of his dreams.
A romantic cabin, one bed to share, and an ex-girlfriend to convince that Carter’s moved on…
… plus a confession that Carter kissed Aiden’s brother when they were eighteen because he was curious about boys.
What could possibly go wrong?
Troublemaker is the first full-length, standalone novel in the Goode Boys series. It ends on a HEA and does not contain a cliffhanger. It does, however, contain: an intimate piercing, a surprise kiss, huddling for warmth, sexy pastry eating, explicit scenes, kissing in the snow, and true love conquering all.
I’ll be the first to say that I don’t like the fake boyfriend trope. I’m glad I took a chance on this one.
Carter needs a date to his sister’s destination wedding in Canada. It can’t be just any date. It has to be somebody who will freak his mother out. Carter’s ex-girlfriend is part of the wedding party and his
bitchy, horrible, overbearing, obnoxious, controlling, busy-body mother is convinced they’ll be getting back together. No, not convinced. It’s expected. You know why? Because his bitchy, horrible, overbearing, obnoxious, controlling, busy-body mother says so, that’s why. She always, ALWAYS gets her way. The entire family is terrified of her, including her ex-husband, Carter’s father. To keep peace, nobody ever argues back or stands up for themselves with this woman.
This wedding had been the cause of a permanent knot in the pit of my stomach for months. With the news that my ex-girlfriend wasn’t just coming, but was one of my sister’s bridesmaids, I was considering faking my own death and moving to Mexico instead of going.
Carter asks his best friend Kiernan to go as his date. Kiernan shuts that little plan down immediately. He then suggests that Carter ask Kiernan’s younger (by two years) brother Aiden to attend with him. Aiden had a serious crush on Carter when they were teens, even though Carter is supposedly straight. It doesn’t matter that they’ve not seen each other in years. Kiernan’s convinced that Aiden will go.
“Listen, you can either go see your batshit family and your ex alone, or you can take a tattoo artist who wears a lot of eyeliner. The least your type in the world. They’ll stop trying to set you up with Mandi again if they think you’ve gone insane.”
So, Carter does just that. He shows up at Aiden’s shop to ask him, knowing he’ll probably think he’s lost his mind.
Aiden’s a tattoo artist, though calling him just a tattoo artist is wrong. He’s won a ton of international awards for his art and his ink. When his teenage fantasy walks into his shop a few minutes before closing, the old crush comes roaring back. Carter’s still as gorgeous as he was when Aiden was fifteen. When Carter tells him why he’s there, Aiden knows he’d never say no to spending a week with Carter Kowalski even if they’ll be faking their so-called relationship.
Before Carter gives him his reason for being in his shop, he jokingly offers to tattoo a dragon on Carter’s butt. You know, because he wants to touch Carter’s butt for an extended amount of time. 😉
That’s one of the main things I loved about Aiden. He was able to throw out humor when things got weird or uncomfortable. Even his internal dialogue was funny.
They have to leave early the next day so Aiden offers to let Carter stay with him for the night – innocently, of course. What’s not so innocent is when Carter doesn’t hear the shower running the next morning and gets the shock of his life when he walks into the bathroom and sees the naked, wet, and gorgeous Aiden in the shower. Not just that. His eyes go straight to Aiden’s cock piercing.
I’d say that’s a nice way to start a fake relationship, wouldn’t you? *snort*
They arrive at the wedding destination and the meeting with Carter’s mom goes exactly as expected. She’s not exactly thrilled to see her son with the neighborhood bad boy, Aiden. Oh, she knows all about Aiden. She may have pretended to like Kiernan when they were all younger, but she never did with Aiden. He was a tattooed and pierced ‘bad boy’ who didn’t fit into the mold of who she wanted one of her perfect children to be with. She’d controlled almost every single aspect of their lives – their education, their jobs, and pretty much everything else. No way was she going to accept that her son is seeing not just a man, but the bad boy of the former neighborhood.
I hated his mother. Can you tell?
I’m guessing that Aiden pulling a shocked Carter into a kiss within seconds of spotting his mom at the venue didn’t help matters. What really shocked Carter was how much he enjoyed the kiss.
What starts off as a fake type of thing turns real for both men pretty quickly, though neither is willing to admit that to the other. Carter has always suspected he was bi, had even asked Kiernan to kiss him when they were younger to see how it was with a male. That kiss was kinda bleh, but the one with Aiden? Let’s just say that it didn’t take long before Carter was forgetting all about his bitchy mother, his ex-girlfriend, and everything else.
Aiden and Carter’s story is so sweet. Carter, a professional, doesn’t believe he’s good enough for Aiden. Aiden, the so-called tatted bad boy, knows he could never compete with those in Carter’s world. He doesn’t feel that he’s good enough. But then Carter does something he’s never done before… he stands up to his mother. He refuses to do it when she’s bashing him, but the minute she says something to upset Aiden, it’s game over.
That particular scene was very emotional. Carter’s mother went from being bitchy to being downright hurtful. What she said to Aiden was inexcusable. Up to that point, Aiden had been the happy and smiling guy who was a nice buffer for Carter. But when he was the one who needed support, Carter was right there with him, holding him until he could get his emotions under control. This wasn’t fake, and neither were the amazing ‘experimental’ sessions they started having in their cabin.
Being with Aiden confirmed everything for Carter. They both cared more than they would admit to the other, but neither was brave enough to say the words, allowing the other one to believe it was still the fake arrangement, even if they were experimenting in the bedroom.
Neither felt they were good enough.
When the truth finally came out, it was done exactly as it should have. It took a bit of a come to Jesus moment for one of them, but it was absolutely perfect.
I love him.
Oh no. Oh no.
That was it, wasn’t it? I didn’t know how or when it’d happened, but I’d gone and done the stupidest thing of my life.
I knew I would have been in love with Aiden when we were kids.
Because I’d fallen in love with him now.
I really loved this book. I loved Carter and Aiden – complete opposites but perfect for each other. I loved Carter’s father who had a few secrets of his own. I adored Aiden’s family and best friend, Morgan. I even found myself liking Carter’s ex-girlfriend after awhile. His mother? Yeah, I continued to despise her.
I can’t wait to read about the other brothers. I know Aiden’s best friend (Morgan) has a crush on Aiden’s brother (Devin), so I’m sure they’ll have their own story. I’m also hoping to see more about Kiernan. Neither man was in the book much but I liked what I saw. And I can’t not say how much I Aiden’s mother. She was the mother any son would be proud to have.
This is another new to me author. I’m looking forward to reading more.