Review – The Gift That Keeps On Taking by B.J. Irons

I picked this up because I really enjoyed Cul-de-Sac, Irons’ first novel about a gay couple moving into a close community and finding out their new friends all have secrets they would rather kept hidden. 

This YA romance novel is written from the point of view of Liam, on the cusp of becoming an adult. He has a privileged upbringing and family, who he knows will be supportive when he eventually comes out. They are all close friends with the Delgados, and go on vacation with them on a regular basis. 

This situation could be a hotbed of sin and seduction, but it isn’t. It’s about Liam’s resentment towards Christian Delgado, the son of the family friends. Christian is everyone Liam is not; he’s good-looking, academic, sporty and overachieving. Everything he says and does seems calculated to make Liam feel inadequate. 

At times, Liam sounds like a whiny little biatch, whilst Christian is clueless about the roiling feelings he stirs in Liam. When they end up at the same college, their relationship sours, especially after Christian wins a large sum of money on a scratch card Liam buys, then gives to him. 

Liam does have a rough ride. The man he is in love with is not who he seems, and his coming out moment is slam-dunked by Christian coming out seconds before him. There are so many missed chances and misunderstandings, it seems unlikely these two will ever see eye to eye. 

It’s a pleasant story though, light on the love scenes, with too much tell and not enough show in places. In one section, Liam’s first date and his boyfriend’s first vacation with Liam’s parents is covered in one paragraph. It makes the pacing a little lumpy in places.

I enjoyed the story though, because Liam and Christian were decent characters and I was interested how it would pan out. It isn’t in the same class as Cul-de-Sac, but a fun book to read.

BLURB

First, he took away my coming out moment.
Next, he took my scratch-off and won $77,777 for himself.
Then, he took my first boyfriend away from me.
Despite how crazy he drives me, I am still obsessed with thinking about him. It’s sick!
Christian Delgado is the gift that keeps on taking.

The Perkins and Delgado families meet on the weekend between Christmas and New Year’s annually at their joint single-family home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. This long-standing tradition has become an annoyance to Liam Perkins, a high school senior, who is still in the closet to his family. Liam is forced to have to hang out with the Delgado’s son, Christian, during this yearly holiday get together.

Everything about Christian annoys Liam. From his suave looks, to his popularity and athleticism, and even his laid back, carefree personality. On their most recent Christmas family vacation, Liam planned to come out to his parents, but somehow Christian managed to make that night all about him, too.

Liam has had to put up with Christian taking everything from him and he is determined to somehow put a stop to it. But little does Liam know that Christian has kept some secrets about him for years that will soon surface, causing Liam to second-guess all of his former opinions about Christian Delgado.

Published by Deliciously Dark Romance

I write dark romantic suspense and under the name, Lady Jaguar, sizzling MM fiction. One of the original founders of WROTE Podcast, a medium for showcasing queer storytelling in all forms.

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