Review: Where We Left Off (Middle of Somewhere #3) by Roan Parrish

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

Leo Ware is excited to leave small-town Michigan for college in New York City. An even greater pull to NYC is Will Highland - the man who stole Leo’s heart a year ago. Will seems happy to see Leo again, and the two quickly become friends. But Leo isn’t okay with just friendship - he wants to give in to the tension burning between himself and Will, and to make Will his.

However Will makes it clear that he doesn’t do relationships. Even when Leo becomes the most important person in his life, Will still doesn’t believe that he can be in a relationship, or that Leo will want to stick around for long. Leo sets out to prove Will wrong, to show him that they belong together.

Anytime a book is set in New York City, I’m automatically a bit more interested. There’s just something captivating about the Big Apple. Seeing the city through Leo’s eyes was a treat.

It was easy to love Leo. It would be hard not to! He’s adorable - kind, caring, friendly, and just a tad awkward. He jumps headfirst into his new life in NYC, making friends and enjoying the experience of the massive bustling city.

Will, with his ice cold exterior and standoffishness, took a bit more getting used to. However, his armour breaks off bit by bit as the book progresses, and we get to see the heart underneath all of the ice.

I wasn’t at all surprised that Will and Leo slowly became each other’s best friends. It’s undeniable that Leo and Will have had an emotional connection since they first met in book 1. They may have very different personalities, but they understand each other.

And an emotional connection isn’t all they had. The sexual tension between Leo and Will was killer. It takes them a while to give in to it, but Will and Leo finally do, it was very hot. Leo may have been a newbie to sex, but he was more than willing to take charge.

However, an emotional and sexual connection doesn’t necessarily mean that two people will work out as a couple. At the end of the day, Will and Leo have entirely different conceptions of love. Leo wants ever-lasting romance and monogamy, while Will thinks love is fleeting and monogamy is restricting. Up until the very end, Will refuses to commit to Leo, and hurts Leo multiple times. And I really can’t blame Will, because while his actions were often callous, he was always honest with Leo about what to expect.

I’ve read and enjoyed many romance books in which the couple agree to an open or polyamorous relationship and it works great for them, because both parties want the same thing. But that isn’t the case here.

And I think that’s the heart of the problem - this isn’t a romance between equals. This is a relationship between a man who’s too set in his ways and beliefs to change, and a boy who’s so desperate to hold on to his first love that he would agree to anything.

Will and Leo may have chemistry, but they don’t have what it takes to make it long-term. It’s possible that Leo may eventually share Will’s views on monogamy, or it’s also possible that Will may find that he’s okay with only being with Leo. But I don’t believe either of those things will happen.

I think Leo and Will are two very different people, which is completely okay, in very different stages of their lives and they’ll eventually go their separate ways. And that might be realistic, but that’s not what I look for in my romance reads.

A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest opinion.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.

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