Mixed Messages WORTH WAITING FOR-A Review

Hi there! Toady I’m sharing a review for a recently released contemporary M/M romance from new-to-me author Wendy Qualls. WORTH WAITING FOR is a reconnection romance for college more-than-friends who connect professionally at the conservative Georgia college where one of them teaches.

About the book:
A small-town in the Deep South isn’t where most gay men would choose to go looking for love. But open hearts will find a way…

Growing up in the Bible Belt, Paul Dunham learned from a young age to hide his sexuality. Now he’s teaching psychology at a conservative college in Georgia—and still hiding who he really is. If Paul hopes to get tenure, he needs to keep his desires on the down-low. But when an old college crush shows up on campus—looking more gorgeous than ever—Paul’s long-suppressed urges are just too big for one little closet to hold . . .

Brandon Mercer has come a long way since his freshman year fumbling’s with Paul. Now he’s confident, accomplished, proudly out—and the sexiest IT consultant Paul’s ever seen. When Brandon asks Paul to grab some coffee and catch up, it leads to a steamy reunion that puts their first night of passion to shame. But when Paul’s longtime crush turns into a full-time romance, he receives an anonymous email threatening to expose their secret to the world. If Paul stays with Brandon, his teaching career is over. Yet if he caves under pressure, he risks losing the one true love he’s been waiting for…

My Review:
Paul and Brandon connected in their freshman year of college. It was a conservative school, and Paul was scared into the closet, lest his secret attraction for another man cause him to be expelled for indecency and out him to his family–who he expected would disown him. He’s had one pseudo-relationship sicne, with a self-loathing man who was deeper int he closet than himself. Brandon moved on to a different college–one that was more open to diversity, and he’s been an out-gay man since.

Fast forward several years. Paul’s seeking tenure at the same university, and Brandon has been dispatched there by his IT company to manage some data security issues. Brandon thinks it’s an inside job, and recognizes that some important people at the university were terribly lax in their security protocols. Paul is assigned the task of helping him investigate the audit for the Psych department, and their camaraderie persists. Paul has long wondered what happened to Brandon, and how out gay men live in society. He’s not really ready to come out, but he has plans to do so when he gets tenure…if he finds another position.

But, the temptation to stay away from Brandon proves too great. Plus, Brandon is more that willing to keep it casual–or so he says at first. It seems as if he’s willing to extend their getting to know you times into, well, a lot more. There’s some plot shenanigans regarding the data breaches, peeping toms and nasty exes, which all lead to existential threats to Paul’s career. For his part, Paul begins to recognize that if he’s going to lose his chance for tenure, he might as well enjoy it. So he does. A lot. With Brandon.

For me, the book was okay. I didn’t hate it, and I wasn’t too challenged by the reading. I expected to be more engaged–I usually am enthralled with reconnection romances, and coming out stories, but this one fell a little flat. I did enjoy Paul’s wonder at “being out” in Atlanta, where his anonymity gave him cover, and wondered why he never really tried this before. Lots of folks do… His vulnerability with Brandon was also sweet. Though, it was a bit of a seesaw with the hiding and the being sure no one could possibly connect them romantically. Steam-wise there’s lots of sexploration going down, and I mean the puns, folks. The political machinations of the story, and the questions regarding who’s doing the spying, and who’s wrecking Pual’s professional chances, seemed a little out there. At least, considering Paul’s early perspectives. It wasn’t completely illogical, just complicated in ways that didn’t suit me. That said, I liked the story, and think it’s fine if you’re interested in a quick, and sexy, read. Expect an HEA.

Interested? You can find WORTH WAITING FOR on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

About the Author:
Wendy Qualls was a small ­town librarian until she finished reading everything her library had to offer. At that point she put her expensive and totally unrelated college degree to use by writing smutty romance novels and wasting time on the internet. She lives in Northern Alabama with her husband, two girls, two dogs, and a seasonally fluctuating swarm of unwanted ladybugs. Wendy can be found on Twitter as @wendyqualls. She is represented by Moe Ferrara of BookEnds Literary Agency.

You can connect with Wendy on her website, Facebook, and twitter.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!