Rating: 4.75 stars
Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance
“Guess some things don’t last forever,” he said.
“Some aren’t meant to,” Jaime replied. “If we kept everything forever, we’d never find anything new.”
Alessandro couldn’t wait to get out of town after he graduated high school six years ago. But when his foster father passes away, Alessandro drops everything to return to the only home he’s ever known to help the only mother he’s ever known. While searching for a job in town, Alé happens upon a small bakery and is hired on the spot. That’s where he meets Jamie, the owner’s brother. The man is beautiful, and Alessandro wants him immediately, but Alé isn’t a commitment kind of guy.
Jamie Winters has watched life pass him by from a hospital bed, but now he’s better and slowly attempting to reacquaint himself with society. Then he meets Alessandro. Their friendship quickly moves to acting on attraction. When Jamie confesses his virginal status, Alessandro presents an offer to show Jamie everything he knows about sex, no strings attached.
The agreement is easy at first. Sex with Jamie is something Alessandro looks forward to – sharing his experiences, seeing the look of ecstasy on his face. After spending so much time with Jamie, it’s impossible not to develop feelings for him, though Alé refuses to say anything. But when Alessandro’s past shows its ugly face, threatening not only his family but Jamie and his sister, there is nothing Alé won’t do to protect his own. Even if it means facing and begin honest about his own feelings for Jamie.
It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of A.M. Arthur, and it’s because of books like this. No Such Thing is a story about growing up, finding one’s self, and finding love unexpectedly. It’s a beautiful story that enraptured me from the beginning with Alessandro’s need to care for what is his and Jamie’s need to move past the bubble his life has become. I loved it from beginning to end.
Of course, I adore Alessandro and Jamie. Alessandro is so caring, the type of guy to take care of those around him. And he really does. He learned from the mistakes of his past and moved on and up. He is a good man, a strong man who wants nothing more than to see the people he cares for happy. Not one for staying in one place, he hasn’t ever made attachments, never claimed anyone as his, but that all changes when he meets Jamie. Jamie appears to be fragile and weak in the beginning. But the man’s spirit, his will, his intellect are powerful. He’s a force to be reckoned with. There are points in this story that it may seem like Jamie is taking the coward’s way out, but in retrospect, he is attempting to protect the people he loves. Both Alessandro and Jamie bring out the best in one another. And I’m always a fan of diversity in any form. I love that this relationship is interracial – Alessandro, dark skinned from Brazil and Jamie, pale and blonde. They are beautiful inside and out.
Ezra is an acquaintance of Alessandro’s – a very hot, extremely sexy acquaintance. I don’t want to go into detail about the night out with Ezra. I only want to note that this author creates not only amazing main characters, but intriguing secondary characters as well. Ezra is a man who has sworn off commitment of any type. He holds a mysterious past that I am dying to know about.
“I apologize if I overstepped this morning,” Ezra said.
“You didn’t,” Jaime replied. Ezra was too beautiful to shut out. “I just get a little uptight about my scar.”
“Understandable. So many people put a high emphasis on perfection, especially among young gay men. The thing most don’t remember, though, is that even the most outwardly beautiful men can be disasters inside.” He spoke with a conversational tone, but a lingering hint of sadness colored the words with experience.
After reading this, I’m hoping Ezra will get a story of his own soon.
One of the subjects highlighted in this book is small-town bigotry – the rumors, the hate crimes, the bullying. Arthur also shows the effects of those rumors on impressionable young children. It’s a very difficult and uncomfortable subject, but I have to say the way this author handles such volatile situations is commendable. The story is painful and heartbreaking at times, but Alessandro and Jamie learn from their situation, they grow. Yes, they hurt and they don’t give up and don’t turn their backs on one another, but in the end they find something worth fighting for, worth being themselves for. Seriously, it’s painful but so beautiful.
So, on to happier subjects. The writing, as always, draws me in. This author has a way of captivating me with her characters and her stories. The words flow so smoothly and the dialogue keeps me wanting more. Here. Let me show you. This is part of the first actual conversation between Alessandro and Jamie:
“So where were you really going when you saw the help-needed sign?”
Alessandro laughed. “The steakhouse down the street, on the off-chance they needed help in the kitchen. But I’m glad I stopped at Baker’s Dozen.”
“Me, too.” Jaime coughed. “I mean, Shannon was really stressing this morning, so I’m glad she got someone fast.”
“How fast I am remains to be seen.”
He rolled his eyes. “That she got someone quickly.”
“Well, I’m a quick study, and I like a challenge.”
Those final four words made Jaime’s skin prickle, as much for their overt innuendo as the tone Alessandro used when saying them—like a caress of fingers over silk. He had to be imagining the whole thing. He didn’t dare hope Alessandro was actually gay, or interested in him. Neither one of them said anything for a while. Jaime was completely stumped. He wasn’t a blunt person by nature, but every single thought circled back to asking Alessandro the bluntest, most personal question possible. He just couldn’t get the words past his lips.
“So Eunice suggested I find out where people my age hang out and go make new friends,” Alessandro said. “You’re my age. You want to take me out?”
Jaime’s brain tripped and his cheeks heated. “Take you out?”
Alessandro nodded. His coffee-brown eyes searched Jaime’s face. Jaime tried to hold his gaze, tried really hard, but his dropped down to Alessandro’s mouth. Smooth, thin lips that Alessandro licked at that exact moment. Jaime swallowed hard, then looked away.
“It’s okay. Never mind,” Alessandro said lightly, no hint of annoyance or embarrassment in his tone. “But maybe we can hang out sometime.”
I love the vulnerability and forwardness, as well as Jamie’s shyness in this meeting. It’s a precious moment that these two build on throughout the book.
I absolutely love this book. I’m not surprised, as I have loved everything I’ve read from this author. This will be a series, with book two to be released this summer, although I’m unsure of the series name. I’m hoping for more of Jamie and Alessandro, but I’m also hoping for Ezra’s story as well. I highly recommend No Such Thing by A.M. Arthur.
Note: This story will be published February 17th by Carina Press