Wrapped Up In You, Melody Claire
Rating: 5 ‘Hayden’ Stars
Publisher: Melody Claire
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Contemporary, Age Gap (8 Years), Christmas, Opposites Attract, Romance, Step-Brothers
Length: 205 Pages
Purchase At: Amazon
When I fled to the cabin after a fight with my father, I wasn’t expecting to find my uptight stepbrother. Once again, my impulsivity has me in a bind, and now we’re stuck here together in the middle of a snowstorm. Might as well make the best of it.
With my divorce finalized and my parents on vacation, I came to the cabin to drink my way through the holidays. Pity party of one, please. But when my much younger stepbrother bursts through the door in the middle of a blizzard, he turns my world on its axis.
Forced to spend time together, I see a different side of him that has me questioning everything I thought I knew. And when a drinking game has things heating up between us, I find myself too weak to resist.
But can what happens at the cabin stay at the cabin? Or will this fling turn into something more?
Wrapped Up In You is a steamy, opposites attract, age gap, stepbrother, MM Romance, featuring a loveable guy with ADHD and an uptight divorcé in need of a shake-up.
I know a lot of readers aren’t big on it, but I love books with step-siblings coming together. I also love age gaps, though Jonathan and Hayden only have eight years between them. Jonathan is 32, and Hayden is 24.
Jonathan’s divorce from Rebecca was finalized two days ago. It’s the week of Christmas and he’s at the family cabin in the woods drinking away his sorrows. His father and stepmother are out of the country for the holiday, so he’s spending it alone. That’s fine with him because his only goal is to drink himself into oblivion until it’s time to go home. He’s doing just that when the door to the cabin slams open and in walks his stepbrother, Hayden.
Jonathan and Hayden don’t have much of a relationship. Jonathan was long out of the house when his father married Suzanne, Hayden’s mother. They may see each other a couple of times a year at best because of the parents. Other than that, they have absolutely nothing in common. Jonathan is all about routine. Hayden, not so much. In Hayden’s defense, he has severe ADHD. He doesn’t mean to come across as scattered. It’s just the way his brain works.
As someone with ADHD, I get it. I saw myself in Hayden throughout the entire book, especially the hyper-focus.
Jonathan’s not thrilled that his pity party has been interrupted, especially by his scattered stepbrother. He went to the cabin to get away from the world, not deal with Hayden.
If you looked up the definition of impulsive in the dictionary, you’d find a picture of Hayden Harrison.
Under what words would my picture reside? Anal. Boring. Predictable. Those are certainly the words Rebecca would have used. Did use. She’d flung them in my face the day she asked for a divorce six months ago.
Had Hayden known Jonathan was at the cabin, he would’ve just stayed home. He hadn’t been thinking. He’d just had a major argument with his dad and just wanted to get away. Driving up to his step-family’s cabin in the middle of a snowstorm without checking to see if it would be empty wasn’t exactly the smartest thing he’s ever done. Even so, he’s there now, and there’s no leaving until the storm passes. Trust me, he’s about as thrilled about being stuck with Jonathan as Jonathan is him. Jonathan is a judgmental stick in the mud just like his (Jonathan’s) father. Jonathan’s dad never treated Hayden poorly, but it was obvious that his opinion of his stepson wasn’t that great, not when it came to life choices. Hayden’s bio dad wasn’t any better. He was actually worse.
Jonathan is a corporate accountant. Hayden’s a server at a local restaurant. Jonathan is (to be blunt) a rude snob. Hayden actually has a personality. 😉 He gets along with pretty much everybody. Well, except his father anyway. Jonathan is also considered the golden child, while Hayden believes he’s thought of as a disappointment.
Now the stepbrothers are stuck together in the middle of nowhere basically for a couple of days. What starts out as a whole lot of awkwardness quickly turns into more. Jonathan has always had the opinion that Hayden’s carefree personality meant that he had no goals, and that he didn’t care about consequences. He had a habit of jumping before thinking, and not necessarily caring that it made him look as if he was selfish and didn’t care how that jumping affected others. He was impulsive and had zero routine in his life or longterm aspirations.
Only Jonathan couldn’t be more wrong.
I’ll admit that I despised Jonathan in the beginning. He’s the type of person you can’t help but dislike. He’s judgmental and severely anal about everything. He makes the mistake of throwing out comments to Hayden that are hurtful to the other man.
Hayden’s used to people thinking wrongly of him. He puts on the happy face and pretends to not be bothered. It hurts him, but he’s good at hiding that pain.
I’m the queen of the happy face, having had to do the same thing most of my life, especially before my ADHD was diagnosed.
Jonathan may have a bad opinion of his stepbrother’s life choices, but he will secretly admit that Hayden is hot, sexy. Jonathan’s bi, but he hasn’t been with a man in over a decade. It freaks him out that he’s starting to see his stepbrother that way. As for Hayden, he had a major crush on Jonathan when he (Hayden) was still in high school. He got over it, or at least thought he had. It takes Hayden hearing Jonathan having a bit of one-on-one time with his hand in the shower for that crush to come roaring back.
After that, things happen fairly quickly. There’s a drinking game that helps push things along. Before either man realizes what’s happening, they’re playing around sexually. It’s just for a few days, right? Uh, no.
There were rules in society. You didn’t fuck around with your stepsibling. It didn’t matter that we were both grown adults and hadn’t been raised together. It would tear our family apart. My father, in particular, would never understand.
Jonathan can’t get over what he feels is the wrongness of being in any type (sexual or otherwise) of relationship with his stepbrother. He knows that no way would the parents or even society be okay with it. Even so, he can’t help how he’s quickly starting to feel for Hayden. There are so many things he’s discovering about the other man that proves that what Jonathan and others think they know about Hayden couldn’t be further from the truth. He’s not as carefree or ‘live and let live’ that he’d wrongly believed for so many years. He does hurt when people criticize him for being late or a little out there on occasion.
Hayden’s finding himself also seeing Jonathan in a new light. Sure, he’s a jerk on occasion, but he was conditioned by his father to be that way – to be all about organization, routine.
My heart hurt for both of these guys. For Jonathan, it was because he’d been conditioned by his strict father to be a certain way. For Hayden, my heart hurt because he’d always been so misunderstood. He was good at hiding it on the outside, but on the inside he was hurting.
I’m SO glad the author didn’t drag stuff out too long, especially with Jonathan. Once they started playing around a little sexually, they were both all in. Jonathan’s experiencing things, feeling things, he’s never experienced or felt before. Not only is he truly seeing Hayden for who he is, but he’s quickly falling in love with him. Hayden’s falling just as hard. Suddenly Jonathan is encouraging Hayden to reach for the goals he wants to reach for, not what his father wants him to do. In turn, Hayden encourages Jonathan to live his life for him, not his own father.
But then they have to separate and go back to the real world. The question is… can they continue what they have away from the cabin? Or will they go back to being distant stepbrothers who may see each other a couple of times a year because of family obligations?
I absolutely, 100%, loved these guys together. I loved watching them come to realizations about the other that they never would’ve come to had they not been stuck together for a few days. I love how once Jonathan realized he was wrong about pretty much everything about Hayden, he wasn’t ashamed to admit it. I love just how sweet they were, and how difficult it was for both men, when they had to go back home.
What I didn’t love were the fathers. I liked Hayden’s mother and stepmother, but their dads were jerks, even when the author tried to make them good later.
As much as I loved the story, and Hayden and Jonathan as a couple, I ended it a little frustrated over certain things with the dads. I wanted to know more about how they (the dads) felt about Hayden and Jonathan as a couple. Suzanne figured it out, but then nothing was even mentioned by the fathers about the fact that the two stepbrothers were in love with each other. I could let that go had them finding out not been such an issue with Jonathan throughout the entire book.
There’s some serious insta-love happening here, but it was okay, in my opinion. A lot happens in those few days they’re stuck in the cabin. I was perfectly fine with it being so fast. I never, not one time, felt that Hayden was a rebound fling for Jonathan after his divorce. I felt that he was finally being allowed to be himself, not who the whole world expected him to be. It was sweet to watch as it played out.
I have ADHD, as I said, with the hyper-focus being the worst for me. It’s far worse than forgetting things here and there because it prevents me from focusing on anything but that one thing. I get nervous and antsy in ways I could never adequately describe. I have an appointment in the middle of the day? Forget getting anything productive done before because I’m too focused on that appointment.
And while Hayden had issues with being on time, I’m the opposite. I’d rather be thirty minutes early than one minute late because, again, that’s the hyper-focus for me. ADHD is different for everybody, but I sat here nodding my head with each new thing I read about Hayden’s, thinking, “Yep, that’s me.” I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my early thirties. I didn’t get medicated for it until many, many years later. If ever there was a quote to describe me, it’s the one below.
My brain was either completely engrossed, laser-focused for hours, sometimes reading an entire book in one sitting, or I was like a squirrel hopped up on Pixy Stix, my eyes darting from line to line without any of it actually sinking in.
I guess my point is how wrong it is for people to judge without having a clue about the other person. There’s not a person alive with ADHD who wants to be this way. Trust me on that one.
There’s an epilogue that takes place on Valentine’s Day. It was sweet, but I didn’t feel that it really added much to the story. There’s also a bonus epilogue (available via Bookfunnel) that did add to the story quite a bit. If you read Wrapped Up In You, I highly suggest checking the second epilogue out when you’re done with the book. It’s definitely worth a few more minutes of your time.
Overall, this is a great book. It was just what I was looking for. I’m all about discovering new authors. I’ll definitely be reading more by Melody Claire.