If I Must by Amy Lane

If I MustIf I Must by Amy Lane

Joel Martinez, a practical and organized computer programmer, is roommates with Ian Cooper, a certified IQ-in-the- stratosphere mathematical genius who literally can’t find his own underwear in the mess of his day-to-day life. When Joel uneasily leaves Ian for the holidays, he ends up telling stories to his sister and discovers he feels much more for Ian than he thought. So when Ian calls, distraught because the only other thing in his life that loves him (a half-feral cat named Manky Bastard) is going to have to be put down, Joel hurries back home hoping that opposites really do attract.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I’m a little late in reading the Mistletoe Madness stories from Dreamspinner’s Christmas anthology but I happened to pick this one up due to the cute kitten on the cover and quirky blurb. Most novellas either leave you wanting more or tend to be forgettable, which is why this perfect story stands out among the pack. The shorter length is just right and the characters are memorable and adorable. There are a few slight issues but really they don’t matter. If you’re looking for a very fun, cute story with some great humor and romance, get this. It’s absolutely worth the few dollars.

The story is mostly about Joel realizing he’s in love with Ian and a few scenes of how they manage to live together with the change in their relationship and a happy ending. The characters are set up through Joel as he tells his sister all about his roommate Ian. The stories are funny, quirky, delightful, and a touch sad as Joel realizes the deeper meanings behind Ian’s actions and what it means for his own emotions. Joel is the neat one who manages Ian’s crazy life and enjoys being the caretaker in their apartment. Ian is the classic genius who can’t remember to eat or sleep but is harmless and good hearted so Joel can’t get mad at him.

The writing is very good with some really engaging dialogue. The story is a warm mixture of touching scenes and humorous antics that combine to deliver a thoroughly entertaining and satisfying short story. There are a few nagging details that don’t always make sense such as Joel’s sudden realization that he’s gay, something he never even suspected before, but for the sake of the story these issues can be overlooked. I wish the story had found some other way to keep the two men apart initially but again, it’s not a detail that will derail your enjoyment. Bottom line I’d easily recommend this fun and flirty story with great characters and a satisfying ending.

Get it HERE!

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