When you’re with the one you love, every day should feel like an adventure.
Rob is an accountant. He’s a straight-laced, by-the-book kind of guy. When he hooks up with a younger guy who’s in his 20’s at a bar, Rob does his best to forget about the guy, chalking it up to an experience he probably won’t have ever again.
Alex is a fly-by-night kind of guy, working at a moving service for all kinds of people. When he happens to get a job where he’s helping Rob move his parent’s stuff out of their old house–learning that both of Rob’s folks passed away–they bump into each other. Awkwardness and sexual tension ensues. As Alex and Rob make a connection with one other as they move stuff out of Rob’s parents house, they long to be closer to one another.
Center of Gravity is a romance, but it’s got grit and heart to it. Alex’s dad is dying of cancer, and he’s got to work to help his family remain afloat. His mom is working all the hours she can at the hospital, and his little sister Lainey is acting out because she’s not quite sure how to process the notion that her dad is slowly dying. Alex pulled himself out of college to work, and because he was having trouble finishing his senior art project. Rob is trying to climb up the cooperate ladder at his accounting firm where he works, but as he and Alex get closer, the reward he faces in his professional life doesn’t come as the thrill he once thought it would be.
Alex and Rob–who’s in his late 30’s–eventually do break through their sexual tension barriers and have sex. It’s a breakthrough for Rob, who is trying not to get involved with Alex, because he thinks it might not last. Alex realizes that he has a “Rob Macomb fetish” and continues wanting more of Rob, more sex, more everything. He likes seeing Rob on a vulnerable, open level, because he keeps everything so air-tight it’s hard to tell what he really does want in life.
Several serious situations bring the two men closer together: a car accident which leads to an injured dog, and the death of Alex’s father. With Rob’s help, he gets financial things in order for Alex’s dad before he passes, which was really quite sweet of him. It’s also where he finds his calling in life: not climbing a work ladder per say, but helping people financially on a one-to-one scale.
As Alex and Rob are forced to confront their feelings for one another at Alex’s senior art show, their pesky feelings do come to life when they take a walk to get some fresh air outside of the stuff art center. (This is after Alex and Rob have had a kind of falling out, where they aren’t seeing each other or sleeping with one another.)
I really like Rob’s confession to Alex of his true feelings for this younger man, because he keeps it all bottled up until much later in the book. I think he’s scared that Alex will be selling himself short if he goes out with an older guy. Not that either of them are old–Alex is 23, and Rob is 37. At most, that’s only 14 years difference. And while they are in different places in their lives, they are inexorably drawn to one another. There’s love there, something more than just great sex. (While sex is important, ya gotta have something else to back it up.)
At Nook Island, where Rob’s parent’s house is located, they have something special: a life together, a budding romantic and sexual relationship that keeps getting better every day. There’s commitment and adventure when these two are in each other’s presence. And that’s what truly matters: everything should feel pretty awesome when you’re with your special someone, whether you’re gay or straight. Alex and Rob have that longevity, and that interest in one another to keep them close-knit lovers.
I recommend this book to those who worry that their relationship isn’t worth it, or that it won’t work out. Center of Gravity fills me with hope and joy when it comes to the future, and reminds me that my own relationship with the man I love is definitely worth it. Thanks for a great read, Neve Wilder!