Rating: 3.75 stars
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After a breakup, Dustin moved to small town, Mineral Creek, to get his son on a more focused path. He’s determined to improve his relationship with his son and does not want the distraction of another relationship. Except, from the moment he gets there, everyone is trying to set Dustin up with the only other gay man in town, Jeremy King. But when Dustin finally meets Jeremy, there are most certainly sparks.
Jeremy has lived his whole life in Mineral Springs. He has a lot of guilt about his divorce and has had a difficult time moving on. It doesn’t help that his romantic options are limited, but the people in town think they are looking after him and try to set him up whenever possible. Jeremy feels bad that everyone is pressuring Dustin to ask him out, so he suggests they go on a public fake date to show everyone there is no chemistry between them, Except, the plan backfires when their chemistry winds up being on full display.
Dustin doesn’t want a relationship and Jeremy feels guilty moving on, so they agree that a friends-with-benefits relationship will work just fine for them. However, it’s really not so easy for these guys to keep it casual.
This is an easy to read, quick moving book with two men finding the relationship they have always wanted, while being determined not to have a relationship at all. We have Dustin, a single father, who has moved to a small town and is determined to focus on his relationship with his son. He feels his last relationship made him lose that focus and he’s not going to make that mistake again. Then there is Jeremy, who has lived in town all of his life. He married his college girlfriend and they had a young daughter. But when Jeremy realized he was gay and not bisexual, he ended the marriage and he carries around a lot of guilt for a lot of reasons that he can’t get past. He really doesn’t do casual, but when that is the only way he can have Dustin, he compromises.
This is a shorter, novel-length story and the pace at the beginning was great for me. I liked learning about Jeremy and Dustin and watching them fall for each other. The pace of the later part of the book faltered for me as I felt there was manufactured drama to continue to keep the men apart. Their kids are worked into the story and are a natural part of it and, while the townspeople are supportive, you can expect that gossipy vibe. Overall, Keeping It Casual is a good choice for a faster read with two men with great chemistry that you will want to see get their HEA.