Annabelle Jacobs offers up a short novel, Old Acquaintance, for Christmas this year. With a one-sided enemies to lovers type theme, the story is an old fashioned romance in many ways. With just a tiny bit of angst to the book, you will no doubt fall in love with Sam and Charlie quite easily.
Sam works with his friend Dave restoring and painting houses. When the two spy a new neighbor moving in, it couldn’t be more of a shock for Sam when he realizes it’s an old acquaintance from his school days. However, this isn’t some long lost chum, but a guy who had beaten Sam’s then best friend so badly he ended up in the hospital. Despite his determination to hate Charlie, Sam finds himself slowly becoming attracted to the guy and since his buddy Dave is bent on getting the two together, Sam really doesn’t stand a chance.
Charlie has just broken up from a five-year relationship. The guy next door looks vaguely familiar and when Charlie realizes it is a former school mate who used to really give him trouble (i.e., constantly snitching on him to the headmaster at school), Charlie is put off, at first. But Sam is handsome, funny when he’s not snarling at Charlie, and definitely someone Charlie wants to get to know better.
With Dave pushing the them together every chance he gets and nagging Sam to confront Charlie about the past and get his side of the story, things begin to heat up between the two of them. But Sam has to know—why did Charlie beat up his friend, Nigel, and can they put the issue behind them once and for all?
Old Acquaintance was a second chances kind of romance for both Charlie and Sam. It’s hinted at that Sam has not had the best luck with romance, although we never really get to know why or any of the circumstances. Dave is annoying at times with his constant nagging at Sam to speak to Charlie and clear the air. While I got why this character and his air of wisdom was needed in the story, it still felt like Dave somehow knew that Sam was wrong in believing Charlie was a bad guy in high school and frankly I wanted Dave to just butt out after a while.
In many ways this novel seemed a bit unfinished to me. The characters and the plot a bit shallow and sometimes the minor conflicts between Charlie and Sam seemed a bit forced just to extend the storyline a few more chapters. Given that Sam’s friend, Nigel, turned out to be not such a good friend after all, I wasn’t really sure why Sam was so hellbent on hating Charlie over something that happened so many years ago.
Despite all that, I did think Sam and Charlie made for a nice couple and the romance was very sweet. Old Acquaintance by Annabelle Jacobs is a cute Christmas romance that fans of this author will enjoy.