Author Jay Northcote unapologetically states at the beginning of her short story, All Man, that it is a sweet little “spin off” from another short she wrote, Top Me Maybe? Trust me when I tell you she is right in not apologizing for this sweet snippet that takes a sassy minor character, Jules, and brings him center stage.
Jules is the guy who shampoos clients and is a stylist in training at the hair salon featured in Top Me Maybe? He is a slender, impish flirt who loves to party on the weekends, but is also very worried he may never get the man he really wants—that would be the plumber, Gareth. Big and burly, Gareth is a soft talking man who has captured Jules’ eye and then some. As they dance around each other, it will take a rather frightening episode to bring the two men together.
Clocking in at just 43 pages on my kindle, this short story was both fun and sexy. I loved Jules. His sass never grew old and it served to cover a deep thread of insecurity within him that caused him to truly doubt his appeal to other man, particularly Gareth. Gareth, on the other hand, was so warm and caring, particularly when he rescues Jules from a real slime ball halfway through the book. In the end, one could not resist just falling head over heels for him. The chemistry the author developed between the two was so palpable, making their attraction even more realistic and exciting to read.
All in all, this was an incredibly fun foray into the life of a twink and his bear. Both characters were amazingly well developed despite the short length and incredibly charismatic. By means of a swift moving yet intricate plot, we learned much about what made these two men tick and we grew to care for them as well. As far as short stories go, you could not get much better than All Man by Jay Northcote!