Learning Curve by Andi Jaxon


Title: Learning Curve
Author: Andi Jaxon
Genre: MM Student/Teacher Romance
Release Date: April 18, 2019
Alister Bennet
Loyal, reliable… predictable even, I’ve always done what’s expected of
me. Stay out of trouble, get my teaching degree and build a respectable career
as a college professor. The job comes with a long list of rules and at the top
of that list is no fraternizing with students. Following the rules seemed easy
enough, until a dark, tortured boy sat outside my office waiting for me. His
voice told me it was his grade he was worried about, but the deep onyx pools of
his eyes told me more as they shook the solid ground I’d always stood on.
Am I willing to risk my career, my carefully built reputation, to help
one so filled with pain I can taste it?
Benjamin Wallace
Rejected, abused, and abandoned my entire life, all I’ve ever wanted was
to be accepted, loved even. I thought going to college on a scholarship would
be my ticket out of hell, but nothing good ever comes without a price. As
graduation nears I find myself drawn to the mysterious professor like a moth to
a flame. Just one meeting with the man that has been staring in my dreams has
my soul screaming for him to hold me, comfort me. A relationship isn’t just
frowned upon, it’s forbidden, but the heart doesn’t always know the difference.
Can I trust my mangled heart in his perfect life when my past repeats
itself or will he destroy what is left of me?
*Author’s note: This is an MM teacher-student romance with themes
including abuse and kidnapping. This story ends with a HEA.*

My review:

This book has me divided. On one hand, it’s a lovely story about overcoming a horrific past and finding love, acceptance, and family. On the other hand, it’s too… easy I guess is the closest word I can find. This is the story of Ben, 23 year old college senior in his last semester, and Alister, 36 year old calculus professor. Ben grew up in foster care until he aged out, and the last several years lived with an abusive man who would beat, starve, and freeze him. His only support was his best friend Kristen. Now in college, Ben is determined to make it on his own but is stuck living in a dilapidated apartment building with not even enough money to eat. Alister is captivated by Ben but doesn’t want to get involved with a student, although of course that happens or we wouldn’t have a book. His life was the exact opposite of Ben – twin brother, supportive parents, financially stable, out and proud with no ramifications. Even though they are on a college campus in the Pacific Northwest, Ben is still bullied relentlessly by unnamed thugs who stalk him and beat him. And for some reason his old foster father is still searching for him to lock him up and torture him some more (he would have aged out of the system 5 years previously and no explanation is given so I really don’t know why).
The ending is what seems too easy to me. I’ll try not to spoil so I can’t be as specific as I’d like, or that would make sense I suppose, but Alister’s solution to a potentially big conflict that would enrich the story was all handled “off camera” and we just got his narrative to Ben about how it was all handled. But when did he do all this? There is literally no mention of the career crisis at the college, no job interviews, nothing. Just “this came up at work but I handled it by telling them this and oh by the way I’ve been hired at another college although two weeks ago I wasn’t even looking.” More details, and having all of these things worked into the book, would have made it so much better. Showing the conflict resolution is easier to read instead of ‘bad thing bad thing bad thing happy ending’. Also how does Ben recover from that experience so quickly, emotionally? It happened right before finals week, so how has he progressed so much by graduation even with seeing a therapist?
But like I said before, the overall story is a lovely story of two people finding love and the one who needs it finding acceptance and healing.
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Author Bio
From Dyslexic kid with a love of Algebra to a published author, no one is more surprised to find me here, than I am. I love to write about tortured pasts and hot sex, a happily ever after that has to be worked for. My stories tend to be a little dark but
with some comic relief, typically in the form of sarcasm.
Author Links