Britt Chandler a doctoral scientist and Kyle Michaels an IT Director meet when they are both in what soon become unsatisfying relationships. They have an immediate chemistry which they don’t act upon, because they are good people who try to do right by their significant others even though the sentiments are not exactly reciprocated to them. As they get to know one another, they find they have quite a bit in common, even though both are gun-shy from a series of failed dating attempts. They strike up a friendship and it thrives because they were both smart kids, and downright nerdy, yet sexy adults who like a lot of the same television shows, music, and movies. Not to mention they have this incendiary chemistry which they tamp down for the sake of preserving that friendship.
Over time and the demise of the relationships they were in when they first met, they lament their inability to perfect the art of dating in the twenty first century. Against the backdrop of hurricane Irene, their relationship takes an intimate turn, which they each had been secretly hoping for unbeknownst to the other.
After an idyllic few days of having their fill of each other, Britt’s ex finally mans-up and calls her out of the blue to discuss his hasty departure from her life to return to his ex. This conversation and a recent hook-up with a guy her best friend Cheryl introduces her to, reminds Britt that she’s made some poor decisions regarding men of late. Because she doesn’t want to make the same mistake with Kyle, she bolts, and they make the mutual decision to be friends who have sex when they’re unattached, because clearly the situations they were in before went sour when expectations weren’t lived up to.
I love how Bynum wrote these characters. They were not predictable, clichéd or over-blown. They were a man and woman deeply scarred by love–first by their parents, and then by partners who didn’t have their best interests at heart. Jaded by relationships having not been what they expected, they decide to be friends with benefits either until something better came along, or this arrangement blew up in their faces, whichever came first.
I challenge you to go on this adventure with Britt and Kyle. You will be surprised the plot doesn’t take the predictable path you think. You will be turned on by their hot sexcapades. And wowed, and thoroughly satisfied by the unexpected turn of events.
I have to admit that this was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2013, and after purchasing it on the day it debuted and devouring it between furious writing of my own sophomore effort, I was not disappointed.
Join us on “The Block,” my Facebook Group Page when we discuss “With Benefits” with the author, Christopher Bynum, on July 28th.