Vaughn works in an art gallery. He doesn’t necessarily need to. He’s got money, but he enjoys the work. Vaughn is very chic. His wardrobe is beyond compare. He has friends he goes clubbing with on the weekends, and he feels relatively satisfied with his life…except when it comes to men. Vaughn wants a romantic relationship with someone, but sex is just not important enough to him to worry about.
On the other hand, Jonah is…well, Jonah is a manwhore. There really is no other word for him. By day, he’s an investigator for an insurance company. By night, he goes to clubs for cheap hookups in the bathrooms. Cheap hookups pretty much anywhere, actually.
When a painting disappears from Vaughn’s gallery, he comes face to face with Jonah. Jonah instantly wants Vaughn, but Vaughn has been warned off by his friends. They say everyone knows Jonah’s reputation. Vaughn can’t help feeling some connection, though. He wants to be friends, but Jonah knows absolutely nothing about friendship. All he knows is anonymous sex, and he’d like to keep it that way.
This is the story of how two men with opposite relationship goals find their way together. It’s also a whodunit, because more than one painting turns up missing and the thief must be caught.
I hate to say it, but I didn’t care for Blank Spaces at all. I liked the blurb, but I confess to feeling a little…misled may not be the word, but I didn’t realize I’d be reading a book with an asexual hero. Here is a line from the blurb:
“That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection.”
I guess when I saw that sex wasn’t his forte, I didn’t think that meant he didn’t want any sex. I assumed he was just waiting for the right guy to come along. I know I shouldn’t assume, and it got me into a little trouble here. This is the part where I say this is purely a personal opinion of mine. I like sex in my romance novels…between the MCs. Vaughn is there being Vaughn. He works, he hangs with his friends, and he seems sincere in his wish to become friends (and eventually more) with Jonah. Meanwhile, Jonah is out there having sex with anyone with a penis, and it doesn’t matter who they are. Thank God he uses condoms, anyway.
I also considered Jonah to be arrogant. He’s handsome, and he knows it. When he meets Vaughn, who is equally as handsome, he automatically assumes something along the lines of “We’re both hot. We’re both gay. Let’s do this!” He seemed to resent the idea that Vaughn had money. He couldn’t quite accept why Vaughn wanted to work in a gallery when he could just be out spending the family cash. Jonah had enough chips on his shoulder to fill a whole batch of cookies.
There was one particular incident that really bothered me. Jonah invited Vaughn to a toga party (Really? Do adults do that?). Since Vaughn doesn’t want to have sex with him, Jonah proceeds to “punish” him by parading not one, not two, but three men upstairs to fuck while Vaughn is in the living room with strangers playing games. Jonah also gets rip roaring drunk, but Vaughn still winds up letting Jonah rest his head on his lap while he strokes his hair. Pretty sure I’d have let him drown in his own vomit.
Anyway, Jonah and Vaughn do become friends of a sort. Jonah enjoys going over to Vaughn’s place to hang out and play video games. He discovers it’s nice to spend time with someone and not have sex with them. He also finds out Vaughn is quite the artist and is fascinated with a mural Vaughn has painted on his wall. He encourages Vaughn to get his work out there to be seen by people.
Towards the very end, Jonah has this epiphany. He is in love with Vaughn, even though Vaughn has finally found a name for his lack of interest in sex…asexuality. He knows he won’t be doing too many sexual things with the man he loves. Vaughn agrees to giving Jonah the occasional hand job and rubbing off together. Jonah still wants sex, though. Love or not. Vaughn then does something I just can’t get past. He tells Jonah to go on out and score as much action he wants…as long as he comes home to him at night. I have to confess this made me sick to my stomach. “Sure Baby…go on out a pick up a stranger. That’s A-Ok by me.” NO! Just NO! Hell-OOOO! STD’s? Robbers? Serial killers? You don’t know who’s out there. Just because a man is hot and burns up the dance floor, doesn’t mean he’s not going to rob and kill you in the alley behind the club. Heavy sigh…While I didn’t exactly connect with Vaughn, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.
There were some background characters who played an important role in the story. They helped move it along, and I liked a few of them more than I liked Vaughn and Jonah. Also, there was the ongoing mystery about who was stealing the paintings from the gallery and trying to collect the insurance money. That wasn’t bad, and even though I guessed it before the big reveal, it was still decent. In fact, the final discovery was even kind of amusing.
All in all, I’m not going to recommend this book. In fact, I honestly didn’t realize I could do a DNF rating, or else I’d have put this one down at about 40%. I hate having to do that. and I’m very sorry.