If You Want Me Close - Skye Kilaen

Friends and family are everything , but when his best friend wants more Simon needs to decide if he can take the risk. If you want a book with true to life characters and a struggle to feel acceptance, If You Want Me Close is the book for you.

From the blurb:

Falling in love with your best friend is wonderful… until tragedy means fighting for the romance and the friendship.

Bisexual event coordinator Simon Novotny thrives on connection. He cherishes his large, queer-friendly family and his friends—especially his cute, brilliant work bestie, gay IT geek Ziah Holdaway.
It’s taken forever for Simon to to coax Ziah out of his shell. Time and again people have let him down, especially those who should have loved him unconditionally. But Simon would do anything for Ziah: text him jokes when he's down, bring him homemade lunches, change his tire in the rain. Heck, if Ziah needs a kidney, Simon’s got two.

Minor crush? Maybe, but Simon’s not a make-the-first-move kind of guy. So when an unplanned hookup with Ziah proves their chemistry is off the charts, it also shakes Simon to his core. Because for Ziah, it's not casual, it's love.

Before Simon can fully process his feelings, a life-altering tragedy upends Ziah's world. Simon throws himself into helping and also rallies his family. But for Ziah, family means rejection, and Simon's uber-helpful clan sets off major alarm bells.

Can they find a middle path through the storm, or will this crisis cost them both their romance and their friendship?

A high-heat contemporary M/M romance novel with a guaranteed HEA.

Tropes: friends to lovers, hurt-comfort, grief, nerds in love, bisexual disaster, single parenting.

Detailed content warnings are available in the book's front matter and on the author's website.

SNik's Review:

If You Want Me Close is Standalone. Friends to lovers. Hurt/comfort. Found family. Slow burn. Single POV.

Event organizer Simon feels lucky to have a supportive large family and a set of best friends that are always there for him.

Ziah works in the IT department and has been a solid presence in Simon’s life for the last couple of years, but one night Ziah finally lets Simon know that he wants a more romantic relationship.

This book felt so realistic in its depiction of the main and even secondary characters, these were dimensional characters with backgrounds and histories that had depth and real-life problems and relationships.

I appreciated the detailed content warnings, and I didn’t feel like the book was angsty for the sake of drama but just putting forth a genuine description of how two men become friends and learn to love through life’s difficulties.

There is sweetness, communication errors, gaming, multicultural family and food, and tearful interactions. An epilogue that stays true to the story gives a good HFN/HEA for Simon and Ziah.

Rating: 4.25 Stars

Miki J's Review:

Not everything is sunshine and rainbows and unicorns....

Intense and not an easy book to read, as in the subject (mental illness). It deals with two beautiful people who struggle with their own personal issues. It’s also very sweet & funny – love love love the Czech/Mexican family fix – OMG, how wonderful. That loving madness just felt like a warm hug !!

As for the characters – poor Ziah, all that he was holding in and dealing with on his own….. And then Simon….. working on living his life, sometimes just on a day to day basis, takes such strength.

All of the tough issues the author addressed and wove into the story was done with honesty, empathy and compassion. Very much heart-wrenching and emotional - certainly opened my eyes. Had to laugh though at how oblivious Simon was…..but when they did connect, they certainly made up for lost time!!! But the story isn’t just about that they meet and that’s it …. it’s also about how they really work at keeping their relationship for the long haul.

Definitely a tear-jerker. Awesome book !

Rating: 5 Stars

If You Want Me Close is currently available in e-book and paperback and can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited Subscription