I was wary starting this. I'll just admit it, I'm always a little suspicious of any author who chooses not to write under a name, even a pseudonym. So, RoughDraftHero had me quirking an eyebrow. It's ridiculous, but true.
This book also was not anything like I expected. I went in expecting a little slap and tickle, some rough, dirty spanking and smutty talk, combined with a dash of psuedo-pedo titillation (high-school student). I couldn't have predicted a character as heartfelt and earnest (if a little unstable) as Sev.
Plus, I generally avoid teenaged main characters. I'm in my mid-thirties. I just no longer relate to a lot of the common agnsty, sex-is-such-a-massive-big-deal issues common in teenage-centered plots. In fact, I generally find them really off-putting. It also became apparent early on that the text could do with a little more editing.
My point is that there are plenty of reasons I shouldn't have liked this book. So, when I say that I did, it should be understood that what I mean is that I did, despite all those reasons I shouldn't—all those strikes against it. And I did. I really, really did.
I 100% adored Sev and his obsessive floundering. As Caleb says at one point, how could you hate someone who tries so hard? I could just stop right there, I liked Sev so much. He was just so darned cute. I just want to scoop him up and nibble on him in a slightly inappropriate, but also somewhat motherish fashion.
I also liked Caleb. He's as flustered and lost as Sev, just in a different way. I found his attempt to do the right thing by his student believable and his particular kink hot (even if the sex is never very explicit).
In fact, the lack of sex, oddly, is part of what made the whole thing so endearing. Sev doesn't make the connection between what he's feeling and sexual arousal until 60% into the book. This means that a lot of obvious opportunities to insert gratuitous sex or masterbation scenes is judiciously skipped over on the authors part, allowing the reader to focus less on the lascivious and more on the intrepid relationship.
I did think that the ending came a bit abruptly and the tacked-on epilogue felt a little forced. But I am more than pleased with and surprised by this book. Kinda wishing I could read it again.
(reviewed the day of purchase)