Desert Isle Keeper
That Kind of Guy
When a romance hits that sweet spot between adorable, heartbreaking and steamy, you know what you’re reading is a treasure. Talia Hibbert’s lovely and warm-hearted That Kind of Guy is a delight; romantic, tender, and a little heartbreaking, it features realistic and flawed people who carve a bit of love out for themselves in a difficult world.
Zach Davis is a handsome-as-sin metalworker whose reputation as the (former) town squeeze has prevented him from settling into a committed relationship with a woman. Zach hates this; in the light of his mother’s recent near death, he’s done some soul searching and realized his demisexuality. Thus – Zach wants to fall in love, but word of mouth about his old rowdiness keeps preceding and foiling him. If only he could explain to his best friend, Rae, how he feels!
Rae doesn’t care about Zach’s reputation; he’s her best friend, and they’re the undisputed highlight of each other’s day. Accompanied by her adorable mountain of a dog, Duke, as they spend time with one another, Rae is highly attracted to Zach but resists telling him so. Having recently divorced her cheating husband (who has already married the woman he got pregnant during his marriage to Rae) and still smarting from her emotionally abusive relationship with her mother, risking her heart on love again seems like a dangerous thing.
But then Rae gets word that she’s been nominated for a Burning Quill award for one of her fantasy novels. Her ex is going to be there with his new wife – so she asks Zach to accompany her as her fake date for the convention weekend? He agrees because he loves Rae as a dear friend.. He doesn’t expect to start falling in love with her – and vice versa. Will they make it out of the weekend together? Or will Zach’s trust issues and Rae’s complicated feelings for her ex make things difficult?
That Kind of Guy is such a good romance. It’s easy to fall in love with Rae and Zach, and easy to invest in their wholly believable romance.
It’s not an easy path for either of them. Rae has to process years of self-blame and being stifled before she can speak out and claim what Zach offers, and Zach has to figure out how to declare himself a proud demisexual. In between there’s so much steamy pining and longing (and eventual consummation – whew, that consummation! Hibbert knows steam and how to apply it!) to keep the reader breathlessly involved. Zach is a people pleaser without being a doormat, not wanting to hurt the feelings of his friends Ruth and Evan (from book one in the series, A Girl Like Her) and Hannah and Nate (from book two) as they try to set him up with other women but trying to figure out how to explain his sexuality while having had enough of having to explain it.
Every single issue the book tackles – from parental abuse to plagiarism to the age difference in the romance (at forty, Rae is twelve years Zach’s senior) is handled well by Hibbert. That Kind of Guy has the best handling of a demisexual main character I’ve seen yet, and is doubly good at covering the societal pressure when it comes to sexuality – on men to be ‘studs’ and sleep with as many women as possible, and on women who are seen as unappealing and ‘less than’ because of their ages or their divorces.
That’s not to say the book’s too heavy; it has some lighter moments, many of them including the wonderful Duke, who’s one of the best romance novel dogs I’ve ever read. Hibbert also captures the Hugo Awards-like atmosphere of the Burning Quills and its attendant convention flawlessly
That Kind of Guy provides sweet, giddy romance combined with heart-enriching stories of two people learning to stand up for themselves – while always knowing how to stand up for one another. It comes recommended to the gills and deserves your attention.