In Odd Man Out by Bonnie R. Paulson, Nikki is looking for a way to get out from under her ever mounting debt. She has a great thing going with her bar Sprites which has made a niche for itself as a male gay bar but it still is not enough. Her next plan is to help her friend Billy get more members for a band, an all gay, male band. Nikki is hoping a good band will be the answer to her money problems.
Ryker Steele hopes to do well with the audition for this band. He had great success as a singer with the group Dagger, but when he had to leave to help care for his sick mom he was tossed to the side. Even though he works as a nurse, the extra money from the band will help, plus it will give him the opportunity to get back to the music he loves. The big question is, can this former rock star who had women clamoring over him pretend to be gay. Nikki and Billy know Ryker is straight but their goals for the band are clear and Ryker needs to play the part if he wants the job. Aside from being conflicted about misrepresenting himself, he can’t deny his attraction to Nikki and that only makes the decision more difficult.
I have to admit I was really intrigued by this story. How much is someone willing to sacrifice to get what they need and what they want. My problem with this story was Nikki and Ryker’s relationship. There wasn’t one. I found Nikki to be horribly annoying in this story. It is understandable that she was a fan of Ryker when he was with Dagger and it has to be overwhelming that he is in her bar and has shown a smattering of interest in her. The kiss really solidifies her attraction to him. But for her to be upset over his choice of going for the band over her, really. They barely know each other. Even if he is just as enamored with her, it is new and they don’t even have a history together.
Now each of them has some redeeming qualities. She loves that he wants to care for his mom and he is driven. He thinks it is cool that she is hot and drives a truck. Aside from that, all she does is give him a really hard time. I don’t condone the wording he uses when he essentially picks the band over her, but I don’t blame him for the choice. I totally get that their attraction to each other is heightened due to the forbidden aspect of having a relationship, but I don’t see how they can actually fall in love with each other. Unfortunately there was just too much back and forth, can we/can’t we. I didn’t feel the chemistry and I didn’t find myself hoping things would work out. The only emotion the story evoked in me was during the times Ryker cared for his mom. But unfortunately, even when that situation took a turn for the worse, I didn’t like the way the story played out, and I wasn’t even really upset with it. I was hoping for so much more with this story and it just never happened.
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About the Book:
Ryker had considered being gay for all of two minutes. He could change his image to be what’s needed to achieve his dream to sing.
And not just in the shower.
But Nikki, oh Nikki, with curves like a guitar and an understanding of what it meant to work for what one wants. She’d be his obstacle to every desire he sacrificed for – not his ex-band, not his ex-friend, not the Alzheimer’s slowly taking his mom, not even the façade of being the gay lead singer in an all-gay band.
That’s the funny thing about dreams. Sometimes they change. Sometimes they become less about him and all about her. If his dreams change, will hers?