“Seems I went and married a stranger and I could lose everything important in my life.”
In a word: Read the thing! Absolutely read the thing! This is part one of a six part series, and this part is free so if you end up not liking it all you’ve wasted was your time. One thing you have to understand about this one is that the premise is ridiculous. It’s about Will and Patrick (obviously) and how they accidentally get drunk-married and can’t get divorced because it’ll piss off Will’s mob family and he’ll lose the money that he inherited from them. So now these two have to pretend to be completely in love so that the mob doesn’t get suspicious and come after them. For as silly and outlandish as the whole thing sounds, it’s actually pretty good. Also funny, there is a lot of humour here, as well as some heavier themes and hints of dark things to come. These two strangers have to somehow convince an entire small town, including family and friends and the mob, that they are head over heels in love with each other while at the same time trying to deny that they are actually falling for each other. It’s very well written and the jokes work, as does the minor angst that comes up about Will’s relationship with his ex-boyfriend. It’s very easy to become attached to the main couple enough that you want to keep reading to know what happens with them and if they will get their happily ever after (with each other, of course, because we all know where this is going).
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
The Trigger Warning: This book contains alcoholism, needle use, and emotional abuse.
The Series: This book is part one of a six part series, called Wake Up Married, about the adventures of two men who accidentally got drunk-married in Vegas. It’s a simple premise, using the trope of two people getting married by accident and then eventually falling in love with each other. But this series adds on to this one with the ‘fake relationship becoming a real relationship’ trope, and then just throws in the mob because why not, right? This series is silly as all hell, as we read about these two idiots trying to fake their way through a marriage to fool the mob while ignoring how they’re falling in love with each other. It’s great.
The Couple: Will Patterson and Patrick McCloud are both horrified to wake up in Patrick’s Vegas hotel room to find out that they accidentally got drunk-married the night before. Will was far more horrified than Patrick because Patrick is completely shameless (we love him though). Will is the founder and head of a charitable organization, called Good Works, that he started with money he inherited from his estranged father’s mob family. He’s currently focusing on getting doctors to come work at the new medical center he had built in his hometown of Healing, South Dakota, that’s how he comes to cross paths with Patrick, who is the country’s top neurosurgeon (apparently). Will is also a struggling alcoholic, and his life isn’t made any easier by his emotionally abusive (my interpretation) on again/off again boyfriend. And on top of that he’s a Type 1 diabetic. He’s a bit high-strung as well, but it’s possible that he isn’t always like this and we just caught him at a bad time (re: accidental drunk-marriage). Patrick is a lot different from Will in the way that he’s a more ‘go with the flow’ kinda guy (although it does take some convincing to go with Will’s plan to play house while he tries to figure out a way to get a divorce without losing his inheritance). He also possibly has undiagnosed autism. Also he’s an asshole, but one that’s more entertaining (for the reader) than cruel. Patrick comes off like he doesn’t care about anything, but we can already tell that he cares a lot; from the way he talks about his patients to the way he cares and frets about Will’s diabetes. These two are strangers now and they’re only starting to get to know each other, so we get five more parts in which to watch them and their relationship develop.
The Ex: When I describe Patrick as an asshole I do it lovingly. Patrick’s a lovable asshole, he easily grates on people but he’s got a good heart. Will’s on again/off again ex-boyfriend Ryan is an asshole of the highest order and in no way lovable. Like, at all. Will is head over heels for him, which clearly means that Will has issues. We don’t really see much of Ryan, as this part is mostly focusing on Will and Patrick trying to keep their shit together. The first we hear of Ryan is that he broke up with Will over the phone while Will was out of town on business. Most of what we know about Ryan is second-hand information from Will, both from him talking to Patrick or his sponsor, or through his thought process. Will is kinda (a lot) biased when it comes to Ryan though, luckily Patrick has no such problems. Ryan only shows up in person once in this part, Will runs into him and his new boyfriend in the local coffee shop. Yeah. To make matters worse is that Will and Ryan had been living together when Will left for his trip, and it apparently didn’t take Ryan long to move him out of the apartment (I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ryan had moved Will’s stuff out before he even broke up with him, he strikes me as that kind of guy). Ryan’s new boyfriend is Hartley Kills Enemy (First Nations Lakota) and it’s implied that he had set his sights on him while he was still with Will. So while this is all shitty boyfriend behaviour it isn’t why I call him emotionally abusive. For one thing, both Ryan and Will are recovering alcoholics (although Will struggles with sobriety, Ryan has apparently been sober for the past nine years), and it’s implied through conversations with others that Ryan has told Will that he’s (Will) a threat to his (Ryan) continued sobriety. What a douche. The bigger thing, that really isn’t touched on all that much in this part, is that Will and Ryan’s sexual relationship is a hot unsexy mess. It’s possible that Ryan is actually asexual, he and Will haven’t had sex in forever and he doesn’t seem to enjoy it all that much in general, but that is absolutely no excuse for the way he treats Will. Yes, if Ryan does not want to be in a sexual relationship that is his right and no one should force him to, but to use Will’s sexual desires as a way to beat him down is grossly uncalled for. And in an overheard conversation with Hartley we learn that Ryan has let Hartley do things to him (that he apparently enjoyed) that he has called Will disgusting for even bringing up. This leads me to believe that Ryan is a manipulative prick who just gets off somehow on destroying Will, a man he claims to love. We see more of Ryan in the upcoming parts. He doesn’t come out any better in them.
The Side Characters: Will and Patrick are the stars of the show, but there is also a varied cast of characters for them to bounce their personalities off of. There are Ryan and Hartley, of course. There’s also Owen, Will’s AA sponsor and business partner (I think? They work together anyway), who is a steady presence in Will’s life and also probably shares my and Patrick’s loathing of Ryan. Jax Taken Alive is the barista at the local coffee shop, he doesn’t have that big a part to play in part one, but he’s named so he’ll be showing up later. Jenny Burger is a woman who Patrick meets in the coffee shop and she instantly declares herself his new friend in town. She’s a laugh and a half and she gets on really well with Patrick (they have similar personalities, but she’s less of an asshole generally). When she first showed up I thought she was gonna be made a stereotypical female ‘villain’ BUT I WAS SO WRONG!! She’s probably one of my favorite characters (Patrick’s my #1 fave, though). We don’t get to meet Will’s family in this part except for his paternal grandmother Eleanora, or Nonna. Nonna was married to a mobster and she still has high standing in the mob hierarchy (or something) and if anyone can get Will and Patrick safely divorced it’ll be her. She only has one scene in this part, but she’s pretty cool. We get to know these characters (and more!) in future parts, and they’re all pretty entertaining in their own way (especially Jenny).
The Sex: There is no sex in this part. None. The story opens on the morning after Will and Patrick accidentally married each other, which means we skip the wedding night. Which is a shame because it seems like a good time was had by all for that one. Patrick puts the orgasm count as six, which is quite impressive. Now that both men are sober and panicking, sex is off the table (no matter how much Patrick would like a repeat performance). So we don’t get any on-screen sex scenes. What we do get, however, is a lot of references to what happened on the wedding night. Sometimes there’s little flashes of memory, never more than a few sentences long, and sometimes one of them will talk about what happened (usually it’s Patrick trying to get a rise out of Will). It’s mostly just teasing for the future scenes that we all know are coming. I also have to mention what seems like a throwaway line by Patrick where he mentions a few kinks he has. I’ve already read the whole series, but even when I was first reading this the line stuck with me and I knew that it was going to come up again at some point. (I’ll put up warnings when we get to those parts, but there is kink coming, folks).
The Writing: I have virtually no complaints about the writing. It’s easy to get sucked into the story and follow along with character shenanigans. Also it’s hilarious, both in the absurdity of the situation and in the way things are worded. You will laugh when you read this. If I have one problem it’s that sometimes it’s easy to forget whose point of view you’re reading from if both Will and Patrick are in the scene together. It’s written in third person and the point of view switches each chapter and sometimes during the chapter and there were a few times where I forgot whose point of view I was reading in and got a bit confused. It’s not a major issue though and didn’t diminish my enjoyment. (Just a note, I initially downloaded this from Amazon to read on my Kobo and it turns out that Kindle books don’t really read well on Kobos, I wouldn’t recommend it.)
[Will & Patrick Wake Up Married was published October 26, 2015, it is only available as an ebook]