Review: Four Days with Jack by Kelli A. Wilkins

Four Days with JackRating: 3.25 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Having just broken up with his long-term, but emotionally cold, girlfriend has left David in something of a fix. Before they broke up, David had ponied up for a long weekend at a beach resort. Not wanting to lose out on the reservations, he asks his best friend Jack to accompany him. The thing is, Jack has carried a flame for David ever since they jerked off together during that one sleep over years ago as pre-teens. Spending four days with David at a beach resort is the sweetest kind of torture.

Except David may not be as straight as he always thought. While David values his friendship with Jack over anything else, he can’t help but notice how enticing Jack is to look at as well. Spending their days lounging on the beach and sharing a king-sized bed at the resort haven’t given David new urges and desires so much as brought them boiling to the surface.

When David makes a move, Jack is only too happy to reciprocate. Yet as they explore a physical relationship to complement their life-long friendship, Jack can’t help but wonder if he’s just Mr. Right Now. Jack fears this romantic intimacy will only last as long as the vacation. Couple that with some stressors on Jack’s personal home front, and he’s not sure if he can deal if David decides he can’t leave the closet…or even worse, declares four days with Jack just a fling.

Well, if you’re looking for a super easy, super low emotional commitment beach read, this fits the bill. To me, this book embodies the spirit of “mindless tropes.” To be blunt, the plot consists of pretty unimaginative situations like a “straight” best friend (David) realizing he’s actually in love with his gay best friend (Jack), David waffling over whether or not he can come out of the closet for Jack, Jack waffling over whether or not he can accept a relationship with a closeted gay man, and how they magically resolve some major emotional issues in the span of four days.

Adding to the literary lethargy is the melodramatic turn these characters take. As an angst queen, I tend to love self-flagellation and unrequited love and all that jazz, but the presentation here just felt gratuitously schmaltzy. Take, for example, Jack’s ex-boyfriend. The man never appears on page and we don’t even really know he’s any major force in the book—until David reacts negatively to a PDA, only then does the narration indicate that Jack’s ex was abusive. Without any previous exposition about Jack’s ex, this presentation felt unpleasantly contrived to me.

While I felt let down by the lack of character depth and the lackluster plot devices, at least there was a lot of sex. And we get to see Jack and David go from zero to sixty rather quickly. Perhaps it’s because I’m a dirty old lady, but on-page sex scenes (almost) always pique my interest. It gave me something to look forward to and something I could enjoy, flaws and all (like why the fluff did David offer Jack a blowjob last Christmas? Why is it David who instigates their first intentional sexual encounter when he’s the one who’s half denying he’s gay?).

I would like to note that the whole reason David and Jack are even on this trip is because David’s former fiancee really wanted to go and so David booked it. Between the booking and the departure, however, David and his fiancee had a huge blowout fight and broke off their engagement. The “kicker” is that David’s former fiancee accused David of being more committed to Jack than to her. This plays out in bits throughout the book, which was a nice smidgen of intrigue, but my inner Negative Nancy is telling me it feels like it’s just a convenient excuse since this scene never showed up on page.

What helps make this book stand out a little is how the action and drama between Jack and David is shaped in no small part by a small cast of supporting characters. There are the sweet older ladies enjoying the resort who offer positive energy and there is the disaster couple composed of a drunken husband and meek wife, the former being vocally bigoted and the later keeping her conservative values mostly to herself. Having these latter two characters helped develop our MCs touch. I liked seeing how they both reacted negatively to the couple (obviously), yet the reason for their reactions was very different. While these reasons for their negative reactions are touched on, it’s limited to a few on-page mentions, so I felt a bit like I missed a chance to make a deeper connection with David and especially Jack (who got smacked around off-page, apparently).

Mostly, though, there are zero surprises in this book. David and Jack are secretly and not-so-secretly lusting after one another. A situation arises that throws them both together in a provocative situation, and much exploration, sex, and bearing of the emotions comes forth. It also has a tidy little HEA. Even if I thought the resolution of the conflict between David and Jack felt a bit haphazard, it was nice that their issues did get resolved.

Overall, if you’re needing something quick and painless to read, something that won’t require much attention, but still deliver a lot of steam and a bit of emotional tension (again, Jack’s fear the whole thing with David vanishes when they return), then you’d probably enjoy this story.

camille sig

 

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