Review: Falling for Him by C.L. Mustafic

Doctor Gavin Addison’s marriage didn’t end on the friendliest of terms, and his estranged wife’s continual harassment has the local police visiting his home so often they’ve started calling him “the doc.” One of those cops, Officer Lex Turner, has a crush on the handsome doc, even though he knows there’s no chance the doc would ever consider dating a man.

A chance encounter on a crowded dance floor ends with both men in the same bed with the same woman—but with questionable results. When the doc wants to try that again, Lex becomes more involved than he’d dreamed possible as he helps his new friend navigate the kinkier side of sex. Knowing it’s just sex for Gavin, Lex finds it hard to keep his feelings hidden. But when Gavin finally figures out he has feelings for Lex that go beyond what a guy should feel for his buddy, will he let Lex convince him to take a chance with him—even if it turns both their lives upside down?

I know my updates prolly lead people to believe that I hated this book. I didn't. I have two main problems with it and a few quibbles which I will get to in a minute, but for a first book it's really not bad. The plot is straightforward slice of life friends to lovers, one of whom discovers he's bisexual. On paper it sounded like it was meant for me.

Gavin is in the midst of a divorce and his soon to be ex-wife is a crazy ex which is how he meets Officer Lex Turner. I'm not a fan of the crazy ex-girlfriend plot device in general and it went on far too long for my tastes.

Furthermore, it leaks like a sieve. Not to jump too far off the diving board but she's pretty much always been a bitch on wheels and Gavin just fooled himself into believing she's misunderstood or some such nonsense. But this level of unhinged? I didn't buy that she could stalk and harass him for months on end without him taking more drastic measures to protect himself, like hiring a private investigator to get her prosecuted sooner or installing a security system or maybe acquiring a guard dog. She's a menace and her antics escalate to ridiculous levels taking her from villainous to caricaturish quicker than you can say Ice Queen. Her motivations for harassing Gavin in the first place are thin and most of this struck me as added drama for added drama's sake which these two did not need, but I'll come back to that.

Now Gavin... there's a part of me that pities him and part of me that wanted to nut punch him. He's wishy washy, temperamental and milquetoastish, a trifecta I'm not crazy about. His character and the relationship altogether felt very m/f to me with the coquettishness, abundant giggling and the crying.

I'm pretty sympathetic to a wide range of human emotions and I know everyone needs a good cry once in awhile especially when there are hurt feels but MOTHER OF GOD! I know. I know. I sound hella bitchy when I say that but at some point I thought he'd realize it's not a productive use of time. Of course he didn't and reading about Gavin's mantears and hurt feels wore me out.

His relationship with Lex is fraught with hurdles. One too many hurdles if you ask me. Gavin wends up in a threesome with Lex and this is how their relationship begins. So be forewarned m/f sex occurs on page. Being a fan of the ménage I found these scenes possibly the hottest of them all. Through these interludes Gavin realizes he's attracted to Lex. Then the troubles began. Communication issues, misunderstandings, Lex is not out at work, the crazy ex again and again, Gavin's mother turns out to be a bigot which led to more dramatics that didn't add up for me which led to yet another big misunderstanding and so on and so forth. So many external dramatics that were unnecessary. They had enough to deal with within their relationship, so all the external kerfuffles were superfluous and skirted the soap opera line.

I could go into all the specifics of why some of these things seemed fabricated, but I think it can all be summed up by saying this book is trying too hard. I completely understand the desire to be thorough as someone who's quite verbose herself. I also appreciate the lure of dramatics to keep the pace uptempo but sometimes less is more. Many of the conversations became monotonous, didactic and even preachy at times. There are details upon details of every single minute of Gavin and Lex's lives that killed the pace. Making it tighter would've gone a long way towards making it a more successful read for me.

There are sweet and heartfelt moments between them and through the dual POVs it's clear they both care for the other and want to make it work. The author did a good job of fleshing out these characters as well as some of the secondary ones. The sexual chemistry is there, though I found some of the sex scenes somewhat awkward.

I have read, and quite liked, the short story by this author so I think much of this is firstbookitis. I would read something else by her and I would encourage anyone interested to go for it. If you like Gavin I think the read will be more successful for you than it was for me.

A review copy was provided.

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