Frottage: Drawn Together Book 2, Aly Hayden

Frottage (Drawn Together Book 2) by [Hayden, Aly]

I don't know what I was expecting from these men but Phoenix was a complete surprise.  It turned out to be a good surprise, though, because he was complex, complicated, sweet, and achingly vulnerable.  Having issues like he has makes it difficult to connect with anyone and he becomes frustrated and disheartened quite easily.  With confident, alluring Ace, there's an even bigger fear that he will mock, deride, or even reject the fragile Phoenix.  When his fears seem unfounded, however, they build something that neither of them want to walk away from.  But what happens with the dream job comes knocking and Ace wants to answer?

Phoenix was troubled and I grew to love him very quickly.  He has issues, yes, but he's honest and tries to do his best.  With friends he knows he can count on to try and understand his situation he makes a life for himself that includes art, Lucy, and seclusion.  We've met most of his friends in Exposure so we have a good idea of the kind of community he's involved in, however on the fringes he places himself, and how far they're willing to go to support him beyond what they truly understand of his condition.

And then Ace shows up.  A blast from the past, his first and only crush.  Ace is struggling under the weight of delayed grieving, a lost job which was actually a career he dreamed of and loved, a writing position at a magazine he doesn't really want, and a return to the podunk backwoods town he swore would only be in his rear view.  Life has a funny way of giving you what you need even if you're sure that's never what you would want.  For Ace, it's his past that needs reconciling and a future with Phoenix.

There are issues of grief for Ace that I don't feel are satisfactorily dealt with but almost everything else is addressed in a way that makes me hopeful for the relationship and Ace's sense of fulfillment in a place he thought he left behind.  Joel again makes an appearance with an outburst that I don't really feel is warranted, but I do respect all the support Phoenix has should he need it.  I feel that Ace could have a bit more of a welcoming after things were all said and done, but overall I think that the community as a whole embraced his return with much more alacrity than he was expecting and I like that he can feel truly at home.

Frottage was cute and happy and I liked it more than Ben and Sam's story though I did think it was a bit predictable.  This story is full of good feelings, mistakes, forgiveness, understanding, and warmth.  By the end I was happy for the couple's progress both together and in their community.  I'm looking forward to seeing who else gets their HEA in Wilmingson.

 Frottage: Drawn Together Book 2, Aly Hayden

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