Tonight by Karen Stivali

TonightWhy I read it:  I saw some of my friends had read and enjoyed this one so I downloaded it. It’s FREE!

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  David has loved his older brother Derek’s BFF, Wiley, since the first day he met him, five long lust-filled years ago. But, as Derek never hesitates to point out, Wiley is straight.

When Wiley has a falling out with his roommate and winds up crashing on David and Derek’s couch for a month, he’s a 24/7 reminder of what David wants but fears he’ll never have. Until one afternoon when David has a major art project to finish and a model who’s a no-show. Wiley offers to pose for him—and it sure feels like the heat between them is mutual.

Could Derek have been wrong about his best friend for all these years? Would David’s dreams about Wiley finally come true? The only thing David knows is that one way or another he’ll find out for sure…tonight.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  David is out and gay – he’s the kind of boy who didn’t really have to struggle with the decision to come out because it was obvious to everyone early on. He was fortunate in school to have a big brother with an excellent reputation and big muscles who supports him fully – Derek makes it clear that David is not to be made a target and this made his high school experience much better than it could have been. Even though David’s and Derek’s parents aren’t really in the story, it is clear they have an accepting and loving family.  When James Wiley moved to the neighbourhood in Derek’s senior year of high school, David fell in love.  Only problem – according to all reports and especially to Derek, Wiley is straight straight straight.

Derek and Wiley are now in grad school and David is in his junior year of college. The older guys are focusing on business subjects but David is all about art. When a model doesn’t show up (again) for David’s end of semester project, Wiley offers himself as model and David can barely keep his tongue in his head and his focus on the drawing.

It’s a short novella – about 45 pages on my reader –  which is told from David’s POV. Therefore, when Wiley’s story is revealed, it is not particularly detailed. I suppose if I thought about it a bit more I could find things to be concerned about or details which were lacking. But I accepted going in that the story was going to be short and I knew therefore, I was going to get (hopefully) the “highlights” reel – the essential information needed to make the story work and not much else.

The novella certainly delivered on that. The chemistry between Wiley and David is very strong and I was pleased that Wiley had made good decisions about his future in so far as the closet was concerned by the end of the story.

While I had the definite sense that there was more to their story and more yet to tell, I was still pretty happy with how things progressed and the way they were wrapped up. I liked the dynamic between Wiley and David and (somewhat to my surprise) I liked the way David and Derek were together too. At first I thought maybe Derek was warning David away from Wiley for some squirrelly reason but it actually turned out to be just what it was with no hidden agenda.

It was sweet, charming and fun with a side of sexy. And, did I mention it was free?

Grade: B



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