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425 pages, Paperback
First published July 7, 2020
“I’m in love with you, Lucien. But it seems hardly adequate.”
“You really do own your illiteracy, don’t you?”
“Yeah, I’m thinking about moving to America and running for public office.”
“You should never let anyone tell you it is wrong to be how you are.”
“It’s just…it’s going to be all hard and messy.”
“Lots of things are. Many of them are still worth doing.”
It was a sign of quite how fucked up I was feeling that I didn’t try to make a joke out of hard, messy or, indeed, worth doing.
✯ Love Interest:
I was unexpectedly de-sleeped by a buzzing from my phone at 5:00 a.m.: My apologies. Next time, I’ll send a photograph of my penis. And then several further buzzings.
That was a joke.
I should probably make it clear that I’m not intending to send you any pictures.
I’ve never sent that sort of thing to anybody.
As a lawyer, it’s hard not to be aware of the potential consequences.
I also realise you’re probably asleep at the moment. So perhaps if you could just delete the previous five messages when you wake up.
Of course, I should emphasise that I am not meaning to imply any judgment about people who do choose to send intimate photographs to one another.
It’s just not something I’m comfortable with.
Of course if it is something you’re comfortable with, I understand.
Not that I’m suggesting you have to send me a picture of your penis.
Oh God, can you please delete every text I’ve ever sent you.
“Either you never trust anybody ever again, and pretend that stops people hurting you when clearly it doesn’t. Or, um, don’t do that. And maybe your house will burn down. But, at least you’ll be warm. And probably the next place will be better. And come with an induction hob.”
This was why relationships sucked: they made you need shit you’d been perfectly happy not needing. And then they took them away.
“I’m coming to the conclusion I might be unbelievably terrified.”
“Me too,” I said. “But let’s be terrified together.”
I'm so excited to get a copy to review - folks are saying it's the next Red, White and Royal Blue. Fingers crossed!
(PS. check out this week's BookTube Video to see why I'm psyched about this one and the other fabulous books I picked up!)
It was just so fucking... heart emoji that I actually had to take a moment.Permission to squee for the rest of all time. I know I have often referred to romcoms leaving me a pile of warm gooey goodness, but I can't help it if it's true.
"Your father," she declared. "He has not aged well."Perhaps the best part about this rom com, aside from the obvious slow burn romance, is the colourful cast of side characters. They're all so compelling I could almost ask for a book about all of them. There is the James Royce-Royces (yes, they're both called James Royce-Royce), Bridget who is always dealing with a literary crisis that deserves a series all on its own, Priya the tiny metal art sculptor, Luc's workmates at the dung beetle charity, most memorably Rhys Jones Bowen who has only recently heard about hashtags on Twitter and just discovered the instagram.
"Good to know."
"His head is bald as an egg now and a funny shape. He looks like that chemistry teacher with the cancer."
This was news to me. But then I haven't exactly gone out of my way to keep in contact with my old school. To be honest, I haven't exactly gone out of my way to keep in contact with people who live on the wrong side of London.
"Mr. Beezle has cancer?"
"Not him. The other one."
"Do you mean Walter White?"
"Oui oui. And you know, I think he is too old to be hopping around with a flute these days."
“Luc…” Mum stood, actually wringing her hands. “I know you won’t remember him very well, but this is your father.”
“That reminds me. How did your date go?”
“It was awful. We have nothing in common. I think I might have sexually assaulted him. But we’re going to pretend to give it a go anyway because we’re both desperate.”
“I knew you’d work it out.”
I rolled my eyes, but only because she couldn’t see me. “That’s not working something out. That’s making something up.”
“Yes, but you’ll slowly discover that you’re not as different as you initially assumed, and then he’ll surprise you with how thoughtful he is, and then you’ll come to his rescue in an unexpected moment of need, and you’ll fall madly in love with each other and live happily ever after.”
“I think people surprise you and, really, what do you have to lose?”
“Pride? Dignity? Self-respect?”
“Luc, you and I both know you have none of those things.”
“You’re beautiful, Lucien. I’ve always thought so. Like an early self-portrait of Robert Mapplethorpe. Um”—I practically heard him blush—“not the one with the bullwhip in his anus, obviously.”
I wasn’t sure, but I thought Oliver Blackwood had just called me beautiful. I had to be gracious and calm and mature. “Pro tip: When you’re complimenting someone, avoid the word ‘anus.’”
“You’re prissy and insecure and uptight and use pretentious language because you’re afraid of making mistakes. You’re so controlling you keep your bananas on a separate hook and such a god-awful people pleaser that it borders on self-destructive. Which is weird because you’re also convinced you know what’s best for everybody—and it never occurs to you to actually ask them. You’re smug, patronising, and adhere rigidly to a set of ethics I don’t think you’ve thought through anywhere near as well as you pretend you have. And I honestly think you might have a little bit of an eating disorder. Which you should probably see someone about, by the way, whether you go out with me or not.”
“Explain to me again,” said Oliver finally, “why you need a boyfriend?”Oliver has a family event coming up where he could use a date as well, so the fake boyfriend operation is in play. I love watching fake relationships turn real. There is seriously nothing better. And watching Luc and Oliver fall for one another was magical.
It was the least I owed him. “Mainly for this big fundraiser we’ve got coming up at the end of April. Our donors all think I’m a bad gay.”
He frowned. “What’s a good gay?”
“Someone like you.”
“I’m conscious this could be rather burdensome to hear, but you remain the thing I have most chosen for myself. The thing that's most exclusively mine. The one thing that brings me the deepest joy.”
Turns out, the one thing worse than having a famous father who blew up his career like a champagne supernova is having a famous father who’s making a fucking comeback.
Because somewhere along the line, I’d turned getting ahead of the story into a lifestyle.
He’d helped me see that my life was better than I’d thought it was… that I was better than I’d thought I was.