Review: Regret (Under My Skin, #1) by Christina Lee

When Brian “Brin” Schubert’s condo floods, he takes his co-worker up on the offer to stay on his crappy futon for a while. The last thing he expects is for his friend’s roommate to be the one guy he despises the most. The same guy who stomped on his heart senior year of high school. And by the looks of the girl on his arm, the same man who’s still deep inside the closet.

Nicholas Dell never predicted that eleven years later, one of his greatest regrets would show up on his doorstep down on his luck. Nick has made some terrible mistakes—story of his life—and he’s been paying for them ever since. And if the guilt and shame aren’t enough, his first crush had to turn into one of the sexiest men he’s ever laid eyes on.

Nick and Brin have weeks to steer clear of each other. Weeks to avoid strangling each other. But when stubbornness leads to skyrocketing sexual tension, hate-sex doesn’t seem like such an awful way to work through their frustration. Except hate is a powerful emotion, especially when it’s turned inward. And in Nick’s case he’s been drowning in a sea of self-loathing for so long, he can’t see his way out.

As Brin reconnects with Nick, his perception of what really happened in their past begins to change. He’s finally ready to forgive him and take a second chance on the one guy who stirs him like no other. But Nick’s demons are complicated, heart-wrenching…demanding. So devastating, he might never allow himself true happiness—even with the one man who’s always owned his heart.

Alright. Lemme just have my Stuart Smalley moment here and fess up.

Hi! My name is Cupcake and I'm a sap. It's official after this read because Regret is sappy and if someone had handed me a biscuit I would've used it to sop the excess schmaltz off my kindle. Like a glutton. I flew through it too. I looked after what seemed like a couple minutes and was over 30%; the next thing I knew it said "the end" and now I'm jonesin' for more. Admittedly there were a couple moments wherein I actually recognized the sap may be being laid on a little thick but... *shrugs* 

So if there's some sort of sash or crown then someone can start fitting it out for me with extra bedazzling, please and thank you.
"You were my only source of light. Seeing you, talking to you... it filled me up, gave me something to look forward to every single day. I felt lost, otherwise."

Brin and Nick went to high school together. Brin was a geek/nerd to Nick's jock but they had something until something bad happened and Brin couldn't forgive Nick for it. Skip forward 11 years and a burst pipe in Brin's apartment lands him on his best friend Elijah's futon temporarily. Guess who's Elijah's roommate?

The bad thing that happened in high school was pretty bad by high school standards so I get Brin's wariness towards Nick, but I grappled with this grudge he holds. Sometimes you just have to Frozen that shit and this seemed like one of those times. 11 years, bro!

Nevertheless, Brin hasn't let it go and he makes Nick work for it even though he's still attracted to him and there's still clearly something between them.

Nick... *sigh* he's been through the wringer. Poor guy. I really felt for him, like, a lot. He's trying to do all the right things for all the right people, pretending to be someone he's not to make others happy and he's making himself miserable along the way. The road ahead looks bleak and lonely as hell so it's no wonder he struggles with depression and anxiety. Plus, he's carrying the weight of the world in the form of a childhood tragedy. He's getting professional help but he also needs someone to be on his side. And he really wants that person to be Brin even though he doesn't think he deserves him. He knows he fucked up and he does whatever's in his power to show Brin he's changed and how much regret he carries. Truth be told, Brin could never beat Nick up more than he beats himself up. Once Brin starts to recognize what's going on things begin to change. 

Lee did a commendable job with both of these characters, fleshing them out, making them relatable, heartfelt and genuine. This narrative and the dialogue flow easily and hooked me into this story immediately. The prose isn't polished-several words or phrases were used repeatedly. For example, Brin keeps referring to himself as a "needy bottom" and he has a "deep craving" which I kept thinking was some sort of kink and was starting to bounce a lil bit trying to guess what it was. But it turns out his "deep craving" is he needs an emotional connection with his lovers. I'm not sure how him preferring to bottom factors into that since Nick seems to need/want the same and he's a top so...

The sex while hot I wouldn't necessarily categorize as hate sex either. Maybe "hate sex" is more apropos. Though the face fucking scene... *stares off into space* Ahem. I'm not mad at it. Not at all.

The secondary characters are reasonably well developed and I'm REALLY hoping the next book features Tristan. And more dogs like Tally!!! Tally stole the show more than once. I'm not quite sure what to make of Elijah at this point. His boyfriend seems likes he's circling the controlling douchecanoe block which made me feel sorry for him, but he seems cool with it so who am I to judge? However I did find his investment in Nick and Brin bizarre. It tipped the nosiness line into weirdness and had my facial region doing some gymnastics. The family dynamics of both Brin and Nick were truly heartwarming though, even the awkward stuff with Brin's dad.

I'd never heard of Christina Lee prior to this request, but my first experience was certainly a success. She sure does know how to deliver a sparkling HEA that punched me in the feels and has me amped up to read the bejeezus out of the next one.

So thorough, yet overwhelmingly so-like he was trying to climb inside me and live there for a while. Little did he realize he already fucking did.

If you're a fan of second chance romances that are heavy on angst, new adult or are a sap like me I think you'll enjoy Regret.

A review copy was provided.

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