Reviewed by Morgan
Title: Outside the Lines
Author: A.R. Barley
Series: Boundaries #3
Heroes: Mitch Dalton/Chi-Chi Ramirez
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 172 Pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: October 31, 2016
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Falling for the drag queen next door
Mitch Dalton can’t stop fantasizing about his sexy and confident drag queen neighbor. He wants to make a move, but he’s had a lot less experience with men and isn’t sure Chi-Chi would be interested in a guy who’s never gone all the way—let alone a widower and struggling single father. And when Mitch’s child care falls through, he needs Chi-Chi’s help more than he needs a boyfriend.
Chi-Chi Ramirez has his own struggles: getting his degree one class at a time, working too many jobs and performing at a nightclub to make his Broadway dreams come true. Mitch’s offer of a nanny position is too good to pass up, even if seeing Mitch every day and not being able to touch him is torture. But when even a simple handshake feels like pure sex, soon touching is all either of them can think about.
A one-night stand, a quick fling—that’s all Chi-Chi can give if he’s going to leave town for New York City. But once they finally get a taste of each other, what if Mitch wants more?
Review: I love Chi Chi! I’ve been a fan of Chi Chi since the beginning, so I was psyched to see him have his own story. If anything, I think this story showed how special he is, but could have gone even further to showcase his unique take on life.
Mitch, on the other hand, was as exciting as dry toast. 😦 He was a big disappointment and didn’t do much to make me think he deserved Chi Chi in all his glory.
Chi Chi’s gender fluidity is easily accepted by Mitch, and to me that’s Mitch’s main saving grace. While I understood that Mitch had a family to consider (a family that absolutely outshone him in terms of personality!), I don’t think he did enough to really make Chi Chi feel that he was any more than just a welcome extra hand and handy f**k buddy. Sure, he eventually pulls out his feels and lets them be known, but it was kinda a fizzle ending, not the emotional kapow it could have been.
Chi Chi’s life story and his relationship with his brother, his struggles in town, his desires to sing and be “seen” – I didn’t see these really resolved or resolved in a way that gives it proper attention. There was so much potential here and it just didn’t have the emotional payout I was waiting for. I didn’t understand or appreciate whether or not Chi Chi gave up his dream or got a different dream in the end.
I thought Mitch’s in-law, Susan, was a bit of a ridiculous cliché and Mitch’s tepid response to her just made me mad. I wanted a bit more fire from him in defense of his life, his kids and his man.
The May/December aspect of the story was also really glossed over. Chi Chi is only 21 and I think some discussion of his role in the family, his goals in life, his expectations really should have happened in more detail. I understood what Mitch got from Chi Chi, but I thought what Chi Chi got needed more attention to detail.
The writing was fluid and I was easily immersed in the story, but I was just underwhelmed by Mitch and that affected my overall enjoyment of the story. It was still quite good, and I recommend it to fans of the series, but I wanted more for Chi Chi.
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*