Tom might be the least romantic person in the world. He abhors flowers, candy, teddy bears, and silly cards. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave him very lucky in the relationship department. Tom’s wallowing in his own misery when he gets a call from a friend asking if he could rent out his spare bedroom to his brother, Alex, because mold was found in Alex’s apartment and he needs to find a new place. Tom reluctantly agrees, and Alex moves in.
Poor Alex is suffering from crippling anxiety. He’s nervous about everything. For instance, when he moves into Tom’s place, he checks out everything to make sure there aren’t things that can hurt him. This includes the gas stove with a flame rather than an electric model, and the fact there is only one fire extinguisher and it is in a cupboard and not easily reachable if that gas stove was to start a fire. Unfortunately, this leaves Alex lacking in the romance department.
As time passes, while Alex is having a difficult time finding a new apartment (there’s always something that sets off his anxiety), the men form a friendship that turns into a friends with benefits arrangement. Tom begins to understand Alex’s issues and tries hard to accommodate them, and Alex is willing to press outside his comfort zone…with little success, but still, he tries.
When there’s a little bump in the road, Alex is worried everything is ruined, but can he be wrong? Tom and Alex’s future is decided in an evening. How will everything work out? Only time will tell.
I really enjoyed this little novella. It was well and smoothly written. I didn’t feel any sort of disconnect with Tom or Alex. In fact, I felt an intense kinship with Alex. I myself suffer from anxiety…granted, it’s not as crippling as Alex’s, but it’s there, and I understood his feeling of powerlessness. I was thrilled when Tom began to actually understand and try to make things easier for Alex, even before they began their friendship/friends with benefits/romance. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count. Tom wasn’t a grand gesture kind of guy, and Alex didn’t need them.
What I liked best about the men was that they felt real. They were good, honest guys who managed to find each other when they needed it. Even though Acts of Service was a novella on the short side, their relationship didn’t feel rushed. The author made excellent use of time. It progressed naturally with a good pace. Another thing I really liked was the mention of the five Love Languages…acts of service being one of them. Without going into too much detail, by reading through and asking yourself some personal questions, you can find out what your particular love language is so your partner can know exactly what you need to be happy in your relationship. (The Hubs and I did an actual weekend workshop about it and it was very enlightening.)
Tom and Alex are the main focus of the story. It was really all about the two of them. Some background characters could be considered important. Alex’s brother and mother play a small part, especially when Alex’s mother was able to talk Tom through helping Alex during a panic attack. However, this book definitely belongs to Tom and Alex. They’re sweet and sexy, and their chemistry was fantastic.
The ending was neat and tidy. There were no twists or surprises here. Tom and Alex’s HEA was lovely and warm and left me completely satisfied. Acts of Service was an excellent way to spend an hour. It left me smiling, and I think it will make you smile too.