Cassius and Spencer have been best friends from pretty much the first day of kindergarten. They have a deep affection for one another and can’t imagine not being in each other’s lives on a regular basis. Cassius is out and proud, a social worker at an LGBTQ shelter, and a happy-go-lucky guy with many grooming and attitude quirks and lots of silly behavior. The kids adore him.
Spencer is straight… or so he has long thought. But, recently he’s begun noticing that he has more than friendly feelings for Cassius. It’s problematic for several reasons. First, Cass hates change, of any sort. Family turmoil in his youth has him leaning heavily on Spencer for friendship, and Spencer leans on Cass for approval, since his family connections are all pretty tenuous. Spencer is afraid telling Cass about his evolving feelings will upset their friendship. Plus, Spencer is the biggest overthinker in New England. He’s got spreadsheets for every choice he might potentially make, and brings four suitcases filled with clothes to a clothing-optional gay-centric resort for a weekend getaway.
Spencer got an all-expenses paid stay at Elysian, after running a big ad campaign that set the resort up with massive bookings. He’s bringing Cass, and planning to try his hand at being wild and carefree, and maybe get Cass to see him in a new light. And, Cass is pretty down with it—except he’s afraid it will freak Spencer out. They immediately make the acquaintance of a pair of sex pals, tops who like sharing, and they become good sounding boards for Cass and Spencer as they experience all new things, like deep affection and sexual interest where friendship had only existed before now.
This is a sweet friends-to-lovers story, but I will be honest that it went on too long. Cass’ silliness got overwhelming; coupled with his weird grooming hang-ups and juvenile food combinations, he read way younger than his 20s. His aversion to change, and his reaction to Spencer making a friend, also felt extremely immature. Spencer is far more emotionally mature, and I relished his courage in this story. I was glad that he finally could tell Cass his truth, but I was frustrated as a reader with how long he procrastinated. He had chance after chance, and they even had some intimacy, but Spencer still couldn’t get the truth out until very late.
There are some cute vignettes in the story, and it has a breezy feel. Unfortunately, I think all the description and “what if?” wondering slowed the pace to the point where I got more interested in side characters than the main couple. Because every time a side character entered, the story went somewhere, while Cass and Spencer continually walked/talked themselves in circles. For me, that was a problem. The ending wrapped pretty quickly, with Spencer and Cass having their happily ever after and returning home for the getaway with plans for a life together. I wanted to like this one more, but it just dragged on too much for my taste.