Author: Abraham Steele
Title: Fated Dates
Series: Fated Date Agency 1
Pairing: M/M, M/F
Rating: Two Petals
On the Author's Website: The author does not appear to have a website.
Bryant had always known that Cade was straight. After years of crushing on his best friend, the bookish young omega was ready to move on. Cade would never be interested in him like that. It was time to move on - time for Bryant to get matched by the Fated Date Agency.
The agency's response only showed Bryant how cruel fate could be. His sexy jock friend wasn't just a crush - he was the only one for him. But Cade was still straight. Bryant couldn't let him know that they were fated mates.
And yet... he couldn't let him go.
Fated Dates was supposed to be a cute story, but I didn't find it cute at all. There were parts of the story that could have been interesting, but didn't quite get there, and other parts that needed to be cut entirely. Two petals is probably generous, but the fact of the matter is that I finished reading the entire story and am actually considering reading the next one (since it's available for free). I can't give a story only one petal if I'm still going to continue with it.
The writing style is very stilted. There's a lot of dialogue, but not a lot of description. I have a vague idea of what the two main characters look like, but the roommate, the college, or even the basketball court where the story begins are all shrouded in mystery. The story needed that extra description to give the setting the depth necessary to hold up to the plot.
The plot itself was the only interesting part. The difficulty of one partner being gay and the other straight was definitely well plotted. I also thought the idea of having them contact each other anonymously via email and the issues that arose there was well done. It was cliche, but not too poorly written.
Bryant was an interesting guy. His worries over Cade were fun to read and as the relationship progressed I liked him even more. He made some stupid mistakes, but they worked with his personality. I didn't like Cade. He's a chauvinist that claims to treat women well all while belittling them and doesn't really act like Bryant's best friend for most of the book despite his claims otherwise. The other character given a lot of screen time was Tila, Cade's crazy girlfriend. All the women in the book were treated like idiots and Tila's crusade to force Cade to marry her was completely ridiculous. It only served to underscore Steele's apparent utter dislike of women.
The concept of 'gay for you' has to be handled carefully for it to be believable and Steele instead handled it with a mallet. I don't think Cade really understood what he was getting involved in and I don't think he ever would have settled down with Bryant if Steele hadn't forced the issue. I think I could have rolled with it if Cade were at least bi-curious or if there had been some sort of buildup with him realizing he might be able to eventually like guys as well, but he's so exclusively straight that his sudden acceptance of a romantic relationship with Bryant wasn't believable in the least.
I don't recommend this book. The writing was stilted and lacked description, the characters were often portrayed as caricatures of real people. The women in particular were depicted as idiots. I also thought the 'gay for you' concept in the story was handled extremely poorly.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.