Seb is used to being used and discarded and perhaps that is why he finds it difficult to settle into a job where he can see finally settling down and building his life and a career. When Seb is approached by the bar owner, Elijah, at a party he’s attending and offered a part-time administrative position, he is more than willing to give it a try. Of course, the fact that Elijah is gorgeous has nothing to do with it. But Elijah’s mixed signals have Seb twisting in the wind and feeling hurt when he thinks he misinterprets Elijah’s caring demeanor as attraction—the same attraction Seb is fighting off when it comes to the gruff bar owner. Then Seb is attacked on the street and things slowly begin to change. Elijah finally realizes he is ready for more with Seb and willing to put his own bad relationship past behind him. Now if only Seb is as willing to take a chance on Elijah.
Becca Seymour’s new story, Not Used to Cute, is a sweet, slow-burning romance with a dash of danger thrown in on the side. With homophobic attacks beginning to happen at Elijah’s bar, it is going to take all his focus to figure out just who is targeting his place and why. Throw in an unwanted attraction to a cute waif of a man into the mix and Elijah has his hands more than full. Seb is determined to be happy in life, even though his past hasn’t always been a good one. Used to others leaving him high and dry, he is hoping his crush on Elijah doesn’t ruin the new job he is offered or bruise his heart too much. Poor Elijah, however, has also been burned by a long term ex who has left him wary of investing in anything more than casual sex. It’s going to take some hefty communication between the two of them to figure out just where they stand and if they can make a go of it together.
I found there to be one important plot point that is missed in this novel and it has to do with the fairly constant reminder by Seb himself that he is not the person he used to be—carefree, happy, positive. There is some reference to an ex, but that is never developed and he never confides much to Elijah. There is also an issue with Elijah’s sister, Harriet, that is not well explained. It seemed as if this story is set up as if we should have already known what happened to both Harriet and Seb and understood what had changed them so dramatically. Perhaps this is intentional and the author will write more stories set in this venue with these characters, but there is no indication that may happen. So I am left with meeting heaps of characters, many of whom obviously have backstories that have shaped their relationships, and no information to help me sort it all out.
Aside from this, however, I really found Seb’s tendency to word-vomit when nervous or happy really adorable. He is the perfect fit for the grouchy, serious Elijah and the tension over whether to get involved with one another lends itself into a slow burn romance that is very nice. They side mystery of who is creating havoc with the bar Elijah owns, vandalizing it and eventually attacking Seb is nicely done, although again, when we find out why the bar is being targeted, we find too little else about the character who is the real focus of the attacks. Still, it made for a great side issue that played out well and lent a bit of danger to an otherwise sweet romance.
In the end, Not Used to Cute is a good story with solid bones that could lend itself to many sequels. I do like this author’s writing style overall and will look for more work by them in the future.