Title: A Casual Thing
Author: Annabelle Jacobs
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 138 Pages
At a Glance: A Casual Thing turns complicated in a lovely and romantic way.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Patrick Mason travels to Bristol to spend the summer with his brother, Ben. He’s cat sitting for the first two weeks while Ben goes on holiday. But Ben neglected to tell him he wouldn’t be doing it alone. Will Adams—Ben’s mate and Patrick’s long-time crush—is staying in Ben’s guest room while he waits to move into his new house after a breakup.
Against his better judgment, Patrick convinces Will that a little no-strings fun is just what they need. Patrick doesn’t want to get involved with a guy on the rebound, and Will isn’t interested in starting something serious with a student. But Patrick’s never been good at separating sex from feelings, and this time is no exception. As their weeks together draw to a close, they need to decide if they have something worth pursuing or if it’s really just a casual thing.
Review: One of the side effects of being an avid reader is that there is a definite point where you feel like you’ve been there, read it all before. Some of us even have the t-shirts. But the tried and true romantic tropes still work in this genre, and in Annabelle Jacobs’ A Casual Thing, they work so well.
A Casual Thing explores sex as both an action and an emotion, when circumstance sets Patrick Mason up in a rather uncomfortable but fortunate opportunity to act on his crush on Will Adams—who not only happens to be six years older than Patrick but is also his brother’s best friend. The tension and discomfort, offset by both men trying to come to a casual friends-with-benefits arrangement for the fourteen short days they’ll be together, plays well against our own awareness that things are never simple or casual, certainly not as simple or casual as Patrick and Will believe it will be.
There are no complicated plot twists or manufactured angst for angst’s sake in this novella, just the very real and believable scenario in which two men find a set of complications they bring on themselves. Patrick and Will are great protagonists, which is all I needed to elevate A Casual Thing from the realms of standard romantic fare to something sweet and hopeful, charming and endearing. The author makes us want these two men to realize that sex is the long-term complication to their short-term living arrangement, and when everything starts going to pieces, I was invested enough to demand she put things back to rights because I knew if Will would just give Patrick a chance, they could be something pretty amazing together.
I love where this story ended—no rushed I love yous (we get how these two feel about each other through body language and don’t need the forced endearments), and on more a promise than a trite and tidy happily ever after. Does that mean there’s more to come for this couple? I’m not sure, but if there is, I’ll be first in line to read the rest of their story.
You can buy A Casual Thing here: