Moving into a new home starts with a bang when Ryan Blackwell celebrates turning thirty. Being hungover means he’s bleary-eyed and clumsy the next day, but even in that state, he can appreciate how sexy and fit his neighbour is.
Matt Thomas isn’t looking for anything long-term—one and done is usually his life rule. Why settle down early, like his sister, when casual relationships are so easy? With Ryan living in the same building, chance encounters are inevitable. When one night together becomes two, a friends-with-benefits deal seems a natural progression.
There’s only one problem: sex with no strings relies on matching expectations, so Ryan can’t help worrying. His huge heart always wants more, but Matt’s been clear about his limits. As passion leads to caring, they’ll have to make some tough decisions—maybe this time, breaking some rules will be worth it if that means they’ll get to share a future.
The more I read Annabelle Jacobs the more naturally I slip into her ebb and flow. Her rhythm is smooth, her tone is gentle and I find myself leisurely gliding through the pages. This sweet story revolves around two men that become neighbors, then casual sex suddenly shifts into something more…well, maybe. Ryan and Matt are both in their thirties but on opposite ends of the decade. Ryan celebrates his thirtieth birthday the weekend he moves into his new place. He’s teetering between the freedom of his twenty-something party-on days and the responsibilities of maturity and settling down. At this point in his life, he’s still single and hitting the pubs every weekend with his mates. But moving out of his parent’s place and leaving his recently widowed mom is the first step in claiming his new future. He would love to have a serious relationship because he’s not a one-night stand kind of guy; but when an opportunity presents itself for a hot night with his new silver fox neighbor, there’s no way he’s turning him down. After they survive the not so awkward morning after, they discover they are quite compatible and agree to embrace friendship. But what happens when you can’t reign in your desires for your new friend? Well, maybe you’d like to find out?
As I mentioned, Jacob’s free and easy style paves the way for this low angst, tender romance with a lovely HEA. Her signature British lilt always brings a smile to my face. This meet-cute begins with an embarrassing collision between a sexy silver fox and an adorable klutz. When their circles connect again and again they acknowledge what fate is trying to tell them. They are good together. Sadly Matt has no interest in repeat occurrences with the same man. He’s destined to be alone. He likes it that way. It’s for the best. Clean cut, no strings, one-and-done is his motto. Maybe if he continues to repeat this over and over, it will remain true. Sometimes the perfect person must come along to rattle any stubborn beliefs and only a fool would deny themselves a chance at happiness. *clears throat* Are you listening to me Matt?!
The slow evolution of their relationship lured me in and held my attention all the way through. Ryan is a little lost. He has one foot stuck in his youth and the other is taking him into the next chapter of his life. He’s still grieving the recent loss of his father and he hasn’t had the best of luck with his personal relationships so far. One thing he does have is solid mates. And an awesome mom. When his attraction to his new neighbor ignites into a passionate “friends with benefits” status, he’s determined to convince himself he’s content with that. Ryan has his imperfections but he’s honest and when he cares, he does wholeheartedly. I appreciated their ability to communicate. They are upfront with each other, even if they are still coming to grips with reality in their own heads. I enjoyed the family involvement. And they both have top-notch best friends. Their journey is sweet, funny and full of heart. Oh, and let’s not forget sexy!
A declared eternal bachelor initially presents hard edges. A delightful wayward lush strives to move forward in his life. A wanker coworker toes the line of harassment. And a finale that will melt your heart.
This warmhearted story is filled with everything I consider classic Annabelle Jacobs and a lovely place to start if you’re not familiar with her work.