“Textual Relations” by Cate Ashwood


Evolutionary psychology professor Henry Hathaway is ready to spend his birthday the same way he does every year: a good teeth cleaning followed by lunch with his brother. But when he receives a wrong-number text confirming the details of a date, he does what any considerate person would—he goes to meet them and explain why they’ve been stood up.

Asher Wescott hadn’t expected his blind date to go well, because when do they ever? Henry shows up instead, and things are suddenly looking up. Socially awkward and attached to his routines, Henry is nevertheless one of the most charming and kind men Asher has met in a long time.

Too bad he’s not Henry’s type.

An accidental date, an impulsive kiss, and a few conflicted feelings later, can Asher get Henry to see the world—and him—in a different light?



If you’re familiar with Cate’s stories, you should know she does sugary and fluffy very well. This makes me wonder if she’s a great baker too? I bet she is. Whenever one of her stories pops up, I quickly grab it. I might set it aside initially and come back to it when the mood strikes because I find her books to be ‘mood’ related. I’ve been on an angst kick lately and her stories are exactly the opposite. However, when my heart is feeling bruised and I need comfort, I turn to Ashwood. This book was just what I hoped, needed and expected. Sweet, short and easy. If that pushes your buttons, you’ll want to take note of this one.


I instantly warmed to Henry. I mean, anyone who chooses to spend their birthday with their hygienist every year, well, I’m a fan. Ha! Henry is a brilliant man but he’s more than a little socially awkward. He’s quiet and shy, he’s a man of routines, and he struggles with people in general. And he’s so stinkin’ adorable! When a random text mistakenly comes through, he elects to swing by and inform the sender of their mix-up. He believes it’s only right and considerate to let the person know. Ash is not what Henry was expecting but regardless of his gender, he finds himself drawn to him. They end up having a wonderful night together until…a second misconception brings them to a halt. Ash is gay and Henry failed to recognize this. Henry misread their entire evening but feels the connection between them. And when Asher offers him friendship with no strings attached, Henry is relieved and pleased. You can never have too many friends, right? Especially not Henry.



Strangers become friends and then said friends become lovers. Gahh! So good!! This accidental message brings them together and their friendship is instant and easy. When Henry discovers he wants more than friendship, he’s frazzled. He’s never felt desire like this before. It’s clear Asher wants more and though he completely respects the boundaries of their relationship, Ash simply notices the potential for more between them. He can be patient, some things are worth the wait. Henry’s never been attracted to men before, how can he not know this about himself? Henry’s self-discovery and sexual awakening began slowly but was embraced fully by the end. It could have been angsty or challenging but it wasn’t. It was straightforward, simple and sweet. I adored watching them come together. And their “date-not-date” was soo romantic!



Misconceptions aplenty. It’s easy to view Henry as clueless but in reality, he simply doesn’t read people well. He’s book smart, not people smart. It didn’t bother me, but some might be put off by this. And I would have enjoyed a bit more insight into Asher because I think the story would have been stronger with more Ash layers.



If you are looking for a short and sweet story that will leave you will a smile on your face, I suggest making the acquaintances of Henry and Ash.


TITLE: Textual Relations 
AUTHOR: Cate Ashwood
PUBLISHER: self-pub
LENGTH: 122 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 10, 2017

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