Ready for Love by Stella Starling

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Title: Ready for Love

Author: Stella Starling

Genre: Romance

Rating: *****

Review: The opening to Ready for Love was great, we meet Jake and Blair who works as flight attendants but they also have sexuality in common as they are both gay, Jake’s friends keep telling him to have fun but he is obsessed with Gabe and has eyes for no one else.

As we approach the ¼ mark in the novel we see Gabe who is a marine return from deployment and hang out with Jake, while Gabe’s sexuality is undetermined at this point I am sure that Gabe and Jake have feeling for one another. After meeting up but before heading to the club Gabe and Jake get ready where Gabe decides to torture Jake as he knows how Jake feels for him. We learn that Gabe is straight but is comfortable around gay people, but is attracted to Jake which confused him to no end but when their night seems to be heating up it is abruptly ended. We learn that Jake has had a crush on Gabe for years but with her mother recovering from cancer he hasn’t really thought about relationships until Gabe’s return although it is funny to watch Jake’s mother constantly trying to set him up even though he is hopelessly in love with someone he can’t really have, although this may change.

As we cross the ¼ mark in the novel we see Gabe become extremely torn between his sexuality which he determines as straight and his increasing attraction to his life-long best friend. I liked seeing the contrasting perspectives between Jake’s confidence in his sexuality but nervousness towards Gabe and Gabe’s confusion yet steadfast determination not to give in to what he feels. We see the events of the previous week drive a wedge between Gabe and Jake and although they occasionally text we can see the tension building between them. Then by some twist of fate Jake and Gabe meet again while Gabe is on a date with a woman but we can see he clearly isn’t into her because he just can’t get Jake off his mind and he is very slowly opening up to the idea he might be gay or bisexual.

As we approach the half way mark in the novel we see Gabe finally approach Jake and confront the sexual desire he has towards his friend. The first sex scene between the pair was so hot mainly due to the amount of build-up that went into it and Gabe realises that he is going to be able to do the one night thing with Jake because he feels so alive with him. They enter into a friends with benefits arrangement but neither feels that will last long before it becomes a fully-fledged relationship.

As we cross into the second half of the novel we see Jake and Gabe in a relationship but they aren’t calling it that right now while Gabe is still trying to figure who and what he is. Gabe and Jake both begin to admit that this is more than a fling for the pair of them as their attraction runs far deeper than sex especially because of their long friendship beforehand. As the wedding for Gabe’s gay brother approaches and everyone seems intent on setting Jake up with someone, Gabe becomes quite protective and I am almost sure his mother can see right through his act. Even though Gabe has come to terms in his head with his relationship with Jake he still can’t voice any of his emotions.  As the boys get closer it is impossible for them to deny what is happening between them, which is something I really loved because there was no insta-love but rather the romance has been slow built over years and many trips apart from one another for them to realise how they feel about each other.

As we approach the ¾ mark in the novel the boys admits their love for each other but in their own quirky, unique way – without actually saying the word and while the thought of being in love with another man scares Gabe he just can’t be without Jake and seeing his brother happily marry another man helps him along. When Gabe is deployed again Jake begins to worry his mother’s cancer is coming back but he hasn’t told Gabe because he doesn’t know how sick she was the first time she had cancer. I absolutely adored the scenes where Gabe finally realises he is truly, madly and deeply in love with Jake and tells him to his face that he wants to be a couple and put aside his fear of commitment but only for Jake and no one else.

As we cross into the final section of the novel we see Jake and Gabe come together completely and it was beautiful to witness. The final pages of this novel were heart-breaking, beautiful and tear-jerking all at once and I just couldn’t control the feels but the end of this. Highly recommended!

This book was sent to me for review consideration by Hidden Gem Books.

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