Cover Designer: Cate Ashwood
One dilapidated cabin in need of renovation. Two stubborn men pretending to be a couple. Three summer months to get the job done. Four tangled legs in only one bed. Five cameras catching it all for YouTube. Six hundred thousand Instagram followers. Seven nosy family members with Opinions. Eight thousand reasons they should never fall in love. Nine million reasons why they will. Say You’ll Be Nine is a standalone novel..
Thinking about Cooper though… well, that did something to me. It made me annoyed, mostly, but for some reason that annoyance made itself known through what I’d begun to think of as “angry dick.” Yes, thoughts of arguing with Cooper made me hard. And since I was fixing to spend the entire summer sleeping near, fighting with, and pretending to kiss and hug the man, this was going to be a problem.
“Keep it together,” I grumbled under my breath. Nacho’s ears perked up in the rearview mirror. “Oh, not you, baby. You’re fine. Go back to sleep. Daddy’s just having a sexuality crisis, no big.”
I remembered one time when Cooper was staying over during a spring break, I’d come home late from helping a neighbor fix his tractor shed and run right into Cooper pouring himself a glass of ice water in the darkened kitchen. He’d been standing there in nothing but navy-striped boxer briefs, and I’d stared at him like he was some kind of alien.
“Nine,” he’d said slowly. “Didn’t know you were out this late.”
I’d glanced my fill of his entire body, curious more than anything about what another man outside my family looked like without his clothes on. Since I’d helped my dad on the farm and worked at Walt’s, I hadn’t played school sports and had the locker room experience like some others had.
I remembered the air getting weird between us and his underwear getting bulgier as we stood there. Had it been possible he was getting hard for me? I’d known he was gay, but this was something else.
“Uh, yeah,” I’d croaked. “Was working at the farm next door. Sorry.” I’d scooted past him and raced for my room, kicking myself for apologizing for being in my own damned kitchen. After that, every time I’d seen Cooper I hadn’t been able to help but look at his fly to see if he was getting hard for me again. It had been this inappropriate addiction I’d had that had pissed me the hell off and started the odd discord between us. Was it ego? Did I really care if some gay guy found me attractive?
So yeah. I was sweating buckets and probably going to puke and faint at the same time the minute I saw him at the renovation cabin. Super-duper.
When I finally pulled off the deserted mountain highway and onto the road where the property was located, I finally pulled over and upchucked into the weeds at the side of the forest. Nothing like christening a new place with a little vomit.
Nacho whimpered and whined from the half-open window, so I waved my hand at him to let him know I was still alive. I used some napkins from the side pocket to wipe my mouth and then swished with water from my water bottle. Finally, I popped in some mint gum from the console and tried to take a deep breath. At least now I wasn’t going to puke when I saw Cooper.
Nine comes from a big family… and he’s sweet and the kind of guy who will do anything for someone who needs it. That’s how he ends up sharing an RV with his brother’s best friend who happens to be gay. You see, there’s this sponsorship with “Stallion Tools” ( I know! Funny right?) and they want to bring more LGBTQ folks into their customer base. They need a gay couple to live in an RV while they renovate a cabin. Cooper needs money because his twin brother is ill and needs a bone marrow transplant.
In Nine’s mind, this works out for both of them in the end. Add to all of this the fact that Cooper is an aspiring actor and it’s great. They will be vlogging the entire renovation which will give Cooper lots of screen time. Nine has a bit of experience in front of the camera, he’s been making DIY videos.
The main characters in this story are EVERYTHING that is great about M/M romance. Cooper and Nine are very different, they’re well-written, distinct, and equally likable characters. The best part is that they are flawed in that way that we all are. We all have good qualities and we have qualities that keep us from doing the things we really should be doing from time to time. I absolutely adored Nine! He’s one of the best characters I have read this year.
Nine comes from a huge family and has grown very used to not putting himself first. He loves to help people, he loves his dog… and he “may” be falling in love with the man he’s supposed to e pretending to be in a relationship with. What I liked about his self-discovery is that it wasn’t simply that he was “gay for Cooper”. As Nine explores how he feels and thinks, he realizes that he connects with people in a different way than some… he needs to be emotionally connected, loved, needed – in short, he needs a truly emotional connection to someone in order to feel sexual attraction. For once, the “fake boyfriends” theme really seemed realistic to me. I can see that being in close quarters with someone for a long time, having fun, getting to know someone, would reveal that a person might by Demi-sexual and gray asexual.
Cooper is fiercely independent after a bad relationship in his past. Sadly, that has jaded him and he doesn’t’ believe that true love or long-lasting relationships are a real thing. That is so sad! But I didn’t feel sorry for Cooper – I really liked him. He was sweet and funny and certainly livened up Nine’s life immediately.
There are some really cool themes in this book. Never let it be said that romance books can’t have great themes and topics. I loved the self-discovery that Nine goes through. He just lets himself grow and change without really questioning it. He even tackles some really difficult questions with his family throughout the course of the novel.
Friendship is important in this book. The friendships in this book transcend sexual orientation and political vies and even basic lifestyle differences. This book is full of people who are just trying to support their friends. It really made me happy to read about all these lovely connections.
The other major theme in the novel is determining what it is your really want out of life. It can be difficult to know what you want to do with your life and both characters in this book struggle to figure this out. Sometimes, it’s impossible to see what your future can be until you’re already on the way!
This was a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I have read other books by Lucy Lennox but I have to say this is my favorite so far. It’s just such a well-written, lovely, funny, charming book …. And it made me cry (In the best possible way). I would definitely recommend this one to fans of the genre.
Potential triggers: (spoilers!!)
WARNINGS: descriptions of repeated attempts to get blood with a needle, character faints, character vomits, a character has aplastic anemia, a character is hospitalized, descriptions of minor injuries
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After enjoying creative writing as a child, Lucy didn’t write her first novel until she was over 40 years old. Her debut novel, Borrowing Blue, was published in the autumn of 2016. Lucy has an English Literature degree from Vanderbilt University, but that doesn’t hold a candle to the years and years of staying up all night reading tantalizing novels on her own. She has three children, plays tennis, and hates folding laundry. While her husband is no shmoopy romance hero, he is very good at math, cooks a mean lasagne, has gorgeous eyes, looks hot in his business clothes, and makes her laugh every single day.
Lucy hopes you enjoy sexy heroes as much as she does. Happy reading!
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