I was pretty excited when I saw the By Your Side by Willa Okati was up to be reviewed. As a fan of her books, I was stoked to see that this book was also a May/December themed romance, which is also one of my favorite themes in homoerotic romances as well. The story has a nice buildup, and the romance between the main characters is sweet and slowly develops into a loving relationship.
Roman and Mattheiu meet when Roman is just eighteen. At thirty-two, Mattheiu feels an immediate connection with Roman, but their age differences and life experiences keep Mattheiu from giving into his feelings for Roman. After getting to know each other, and one stolen moment together, Mattheiu’s fears cause him to leave the younger man behind.
Now it’s seven years later, and they find themselves within each other’s company again. Roman becomes determined to become a permanent fixture in Mattheiu’s life, and Mattheiu is still conflicted and convinced that there is too great an age difference between them.
I really liked this book. Although the pacing is a little slow, I enjoyed watching Roman and Mattheiu’s relationship grow into an undeniable love. I liked both heroes…especially Roman. His determination to never let go of Mattheiu and his feelings for him was interesting to read. There were times I wanted Roman to smack some sense into Mattheiu, (I’m sure the feeling was mutual) because after a while, I myself would have given up on him. But, Roman’s persistence is one reason why I enjoyed the story so much.
Fans of love at first sight romances will love this story, and I believe By Your Side will also appeal to those readers who like their heroes who have a relationship that develops over time will like this book too. Of course, Ms. Okati’s lyrical and easy style of writing makes this a must read for her fans and readers of homoerotic romances.
Seven years ago, during a sultry summer by a lake, Matthieu fell in love with a man fifteen years his junior. Intelligent, passionate and talented, Roman swore he wanted nothing more than to settle down with Matthieu for the rest of his life. Matthieu couldn't let that happen. The way he saw it, Roman had too much talent to waste with a small life and small dreams. He tried to do the right thing by severing all ties with the young man who commanded his passion, hoping that one day Roman would forgive and forget him.
That was never going to happen.
Roman has always known exactly who and what he wants -- who he loves. Now that he's found Matthieu again, Roman's willing to do anything it takes to prove it. He'll use his body, his music, and all his wiles to show the older man that their love is as real as their passion, and that they are meant to be together. Matthieu isn't easily convinced, but Roman isn't easily bested. He's never been good at taking "no" for an answer -- especially when he knows his partner well enough to be sure what he really wants to say is yes, yes, yes.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Male/male sexual practices.