One Shot by Rowan McBride
Nick Carlyle understands the intricacies of his job better than anyone. He lives to crunch those numbers and his skills are valued throughout the company. If his personal life might be lacking, he doesn’t notice, especially whenever he steals a harmless glance or two at Riley Jameson’s tight body. But he’s the boss, and that means look but don’t touch.
When a universal flu shot is developed, it’s hailed as a miracle, and rightly so. But the seemingly harmless side effects begin to change the world, warping the statistics that Nick’s always used to guide him through life. Everything he thought he knew is suddenly upside down.
No one changes as much as Riley. Suddenly the young man is bigger, stronger. He’s also aggressive in ways Nick isn’t prepared for, and for the first time analyzing the numbers does nothing to help the situation.
Now, his numbers only add up when it comes to Riley.
This is an over the top, outrageous, and ultimately fun yaoi influenced story. The antics and actions are sometimes completely ridiculous, yet there is a certain humor and enjoyment if you’re willing to let go and just enjoy the ride. The characters have appeal and interest and while the story is far fetched, it’s just a vehicle to introduce yaoi characteristics to the pairing. On the downside the lead character of Nick is entirely too obsessive compulsive and whines throughout the entire book. However, if you can get past that – and I surprisingly did – this might be the fun yaoi book that satisfies.
In this day and age of flu shots, the particular shot in this book also has the added bonus of increasing height in the majority of the recipients. Nick is very happy at an even 6 feet but worries and stresses that everyone else will be taller than him and thus making him the dreaded “average.” Nick worries that being average will ultimately cause him to lose income, be less attractive, and even lose intelligence. While Nick is worrying about the increased height of everyone else, he doesn’t run out and get the shot himself since it’s known that 0.4% of people actually –lose- height and that’s a gamble he’s not willing to risk. It’s not until Nick’s paranoia reaches untenable levels that he finally gives in and gets the shot himself.
Unfortunately, Nick classically is in the rare percentage that loses height instead of gains and he shrinks from 6 feet even to a perky 5’8”. Here the confident, intelligent, if obsessive, Nick turns insecure and whiney as he complains about his height, his looks, his intelligence, and even his sex appeal. While everyone around him is taller and to him, more attractive, he is ignorant and clueless to his own appeal. Nick can’t fathom how anyone would be interested in him and the one person who has always shown interest, Riley, must be using Nick in some horrible, evil way now that Nick is shorter and thus vulnerable.
The characterization in the book is uneven. On the one hand there is Nick who whines enough to annoy likely the most placid reader, yet this is tempered by the adorable character of Riley. Riley grows to massive, hulk-like status just by breathing. He is constantly outgrowing his clothes whenever he happens to take a deep breath or encounter Nick. Riley even has some hilarious and ridiculous scenes when his (also growing) dick bust through his clothes. This is very reminiscent to the Hulk getting a woody. Funny, over the top, and potentially painful but entertaining in a comic book style. This is where the book is able to transcend the ridiculous premise into a story with typical yaoi personalities and some fun sex scenes.
The writing is engaging, so much so that the whiney Nick doesn’t ruin the story. The dialogue is sometimes strong and interesting and overall the emphasis and intense focus on muscle building didn’t bother me. This clearly is a fantasy story that will appeal to those with a muscle fetish first and foremost, yaoi fans as well, but the prose choice and voice compliment the story. At times I rolled my eyes and others I was fully invested in the story. If you’re looking for a cute, funny story with a bloated emphasis on muscle growth – this will definitely satisfy.
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