Heavy Lifting by Andrew Grey

Heavy Lifting by Andrew Grey
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Would-be journalist Reg Applewhite is a slight, geeky guy who knows from high school experience that he’s the perfect size to be shoved into a locker. He writes for his sister’s fashion and gossip blogs and is very understandably reluctant when assigned to cover a local bodybuilding competition for material.

Jack Ponte is a physical god, with a perfect body, poise, and intense eyes. But it’s his grace that captures Reg’s attention, and when Reg asks for an interview, Jack agrees. After all, he’s looking for a life after bodybuilding, and Reg’s blogs offer a chance at something less fleeting.

During the interview, they discover mutual interests in fashion and video games that lead to friendship and deeper feelings neither expects. Reg finds it hard to believe that a god-man like Jack would see anything in him, and Jack is just as shocked when Reg seems to see beyond his looks to the person inside. But there is a price to pay for everything, and Jack draws the kind of unwanted attention that could threaten to pull them apart… or worse. Together they need to figure out a way to lift each other up and push through the challenges.

Reg might have been a geek, skinny and into video games, but he was also an excellent journalist and blogger. He enjoyed working for his sister’s fashion magazine and although his heart wasn’t in a lot of the more gossipy articles that the blog ran, he felt it was balanced out enough with the more real articles he had the freedom to go for. Covering a body building contest wasn’t his idea of a good time, but after a quick initial chat with Jack and finding a sharp brain beneath the magnificent muscles Reg is quickly swayed by the handsome man.

I found this a delightful and fun story. I was super impressed that while at a first glance Reg and Jack’s characters had a few strokes of their “jock and geek” stereotype, both characters were far deeper and infinitely more interesting than I had previously given them credit for. I adored how they didn’t simply glance at each other and jump into bed, and that the two men really learned about each other before becoming intimate. This helped me as a reader see their relationship as far more than just a quick sexy interlude and the building of a far more lasting and interesting emotional relationship between them.

Another thing I really enjoyed with this story was how many of the stereotypes and tropes didn’t unwind how I expected them to. Things like the subplots around a creepy stalker and an over-ambitious sister/editor, both of these are quite well-worn plotlines to my mind and all too frequently fall into a similar pattern to each other. When I could see them beginning I was tempted to skim ahead, not overly interesting in something I have read in other books numerous times before. Both times I was quickly proven extremely wrong – the plots unfolding in ways I had not expected and I was relieved to have not jumped ahead.

The communication and slowly building trust between Reg and Jack – as well as their friendship and connection, I feel – was the real sticking point for this story. I absolutely loved them and loved how neither man was as cookie-cutter as I was expecting. This really appealed to me and made the whole story feel lighter and fresher than I had worried about. While there isn’t anything earth-shatteringly new or different in this story, between the interesting plots, the vivid characters and the really fresh voice of the author I absolutely enjoyed this story and fully expect to purchase the second in the series.

Readers looking for a fun, sexy and steamy story should not be disappointed by this book. I found Reg and Jack’s characters to be interesting and vibrant and their connection and friendship to be believable and relatable. These are two men I felt empathy and interest for and I am intrigued to read more by this author.

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