Husband Material

Husband Material - Xavier Mayne 4.5 stars

Two novels in and [a:Xavier Mayne|6586039|Xavier Mayne|] has become an auto buy author for me. As in [b:Frat House Troopers|16159818|Frat House Troopers|Xavier Mayne||22000794], this book also explores the "gay for you" theme.

Riley and Asher meet as competitors on a Bachelorette-type reality show and quickly form an alliance. Riley is out to show the woman who left him at the altar what she is missing and Asher just wants to come in second to earn money to pay his sister's medical bills. The two men are well suited and become easy allies. Riley finds he feels like a better person just being around Asher and after Asher confesses that he is gay and is attracted to him, Riley finds himself reevaluating just what his feelings might mean.

While all this is going on, the men are put through one challenge after another, trying to avoid elimination from the show as scandals erupt and the competition gets dirty. The situation the men are in and the attempts of the other contestants to sabotage each other add to the comic relief of the story. Unbeknownst to Riley and Asher however, there are other forces at work that are trying to bring them together.

Xavier Mayne's writing is humorous and intelligent and also manages to tug at the heart strings. There are scenes where Asher just broke my heart with his vulnerability and yearning for a friend and lover, while Riley struggles with his new feelings. There is a slow build to the romance (Riley is not one of those characters that immediately embraces and jumps into this newly discovered side of his sexuality) although the fact that the two are confined in the bubble of the show helps to move things along a bit. The love doesn't come quickly or easily, but happily the two men do talk things through as their relationship deepens and they form a bond of loyalty and friendship on their way to their HEA.