Learning Curve by Andi Jaxon

Book Blurb:

My subconscious wanted him even when logic said I shouldn’t.

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 starring 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:

Who knew that a book about a teacher who falls in love with his student could make you feel so many strong emotions. It is a trope that a lot of people would associate with being a bit sleazy or taboo and so they avoid it. That can also be said for gay male relationships or age gap romances. This book contains all three genres and I can honestly say that despite having reservations before I started it is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. I started reading with low expectations and it managed to blow my mind and had me addicted right from the start.

Alistair appears to have the perfect life. He has a mum and dad that love and support him unconditionally. He has a twin brother who is also his best friend and they share a unique bond, a fantastic amount of banter and a lot of love. His family have weekly dinners so that they can return back to the home the twins grew up in and catch up, so that they can all remain close. He also has his dream job teaching maths at the local Christian college. His students love him and he is well known on campus for being the hottest teacher as well as being a bit of an enigma as nobody has ever seen him in a relationship. This is the only area in Alistair’s life where he knows that he is missing out as he really wants to find love but it is not easy given that he is gay. Alistair doesn’t have an issue with his sexuality and he has been out to his family for years but the college that he works for would not approve of his sexual orientation. But they would hate it even more when Alistair becomes deeply attracted to someone for the first time and it just so happens to be one of his students.

Ben has had a horrible existence so far. He was placed in foster care as a child and his foster father severely abused him for years before Ben finally ran away into hiding. He is 23, living in a run-down flat in a dangerous neighbourhood. Ben is determined to graduate and make it on his own, but to graduate he needs to pass one more class that he is currently failing. He needs to ask his gorgeous maths teacher to tutor him but every time he tries to ask him Ben gets distracted by how attracted to Alistair he is. Feeling worthless and undeserving of love has always made Ben shy and withdrawn until his feelings for Alistair come out and he makes his feeling clear. This leads Alistair to take the leap and kiss Ben, which is the start of one hell of a relationship.

The relationship that Ben and Alistair share is so beautiful to witness for lots of reasons and it is something new for both of them. Alistair has never had a serious relationship but he has been with men before and he has fantastic role models to base his relationships on. Whereas Ben has never been with a man, after he was shamed growing up for his feelings. So Alistair has to tread carefully to ensure that Ben is well cared for and does not freak out. Watching Ben heal and grow in confidence when he is surrounded by love was breathtakingly beautiful to see. But watching him have everything torn from him and seeing him being forced to relive his trauma was truly heart-breaking. Never have I been more pleased that a character has found someone in the way that Ben found Alistair. He cares for him, treats him with respect and shows him that his feelings are normal, which all helps him grow as a person. Every time Alistair tells Ben to take what he wants, it made me smile because Alistair had to give up a little control for Ben to be able to grow but because of his love he did not hesitate to do it for him. You cannot help but love this couple and the chemistry between them is off the charts. The sex scenes are steamy but they are also beautiful at times as they are used to show how love helps Ben to heal.

I loved the secondary characters that we are introduced to in this book. Sexy, dirty, bad boy cop Alex ticks so many boxes for me and I sincerely hope that he gets his own book. But if he does I am sure it will feature Ben’s feisty best friend Kristen. Their banter ad chemistry just as additional characters was extremely hot, so I can’t wait to see what would happen if they do get their own book.

Overall, I loved this book. I went into the book with low expectations and I am ashamed to say that because this book definitely does not deserve that. It is beautiful, heart-breaking and heart-warming all at the same time. There is a great level of banter and sarcasm between the characters to keep things light in between dealing with the very heavy subject matter. For some people abuse, gay relationships and discrimination may be triggers, so please bear that in mind before you start reading. But I loved this book so much and I am happy to shout it from the rooftops and recommend it to everyone!

Note: I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This book is available for Free on Kindle Unlimited or can be purchased here:

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2YHTAs2

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