books

Cass Lennox

Books

Toronto Connections: Blank Spaces (2016)


Toronto Connections


Blank Spaces (2016)

Blank SpacesVaughn Hargrave has friends, a place to live, and a job in an art gallery that allows him to paint. He’s perfectly fine without dating or casual sex–even if everyone around him thinks he requires it.

“Mom. I’m fine. Singledom is great. Work is great. I’ll see you when I next have a free weekend.” He glanced around to make sure no one could hear him. “And for the love of God, please stop researching gay nightlife.”

Jonah Sondern grew up in foster care, learning the hard way that you have to look out for yourself.

Of course he’d aced the interview; he’d dreamed of working somewhere like this since he’d been twelve and his third foster dad had told him he would never amount to anything.

And that’s what he’s doing, with a job as an insurance investigator he enjoys, and the casual sex he craves.

When Jonah and his manager show up to the art gallery where Vaughn works after a painting is stolen, they seemingly have nothing in common. Yet Jonah’s investigation brings them back into contact, and perhaps, despite their differences, they can be friends.

You sure . . . You genuinely don’t care about . . .?”

Vaughn could definitely see a blush now. “About hearing you being fucked sideways for twenty minutes by two guys in a washroom?”

Jonah crossed his arms, giving a curt nod. Back to business.

“No. I don’t.” Vaughn cleared his throat. “I mean, it would be nice to pee without listening to coitus, of course, but it tends to come with the territory.” As if to illustrate his point, two guys with their hands down each other’s pants slammed into the wall next to them and proceeded to breathe all over each other.

I really really did not see how things was going to work as a romance. Vaughn is uninterested in sex and Jonah needs sex more than he needs food.

“Do you have any idea how many calories are in lasagna?”

Calories. Give me strength. Vaughn lifted the piece he’d cut off and chewed it deliberately, eyes locked on Jonah’s. He swallowed. “I can’t say I do, no.”

Jonah also swallowed, even though he hadn’t actually been eating. “Cheese. Pasta. Beef. The unholy trifecta of dairy, wheat, and red meat; it’s the worst thing you could possibly eat.” Jonah’s fork stabbed into his salad again. “I don’t eat that kind of stuff.”

“You’re missing out.” Vaughn forked an especially cheesy piece into his mouth. Mmm. Bliss. He closed his eyes briefly, it was that good. Swallowed. “Was that all you wanted to ask me?”

“Huh?” Jonah was staring at him again.

Flirting? Good God. Calorie-conscious and delusional. Vaughn knew how to pick them. He set the spoon down. “I’m not flirting with you.”

“Really.” Jonah’s voice dripped with disbelief. “You don’t call putting food in my mouth flirting?”

“No, actually. I share food with my eating companions regularly.” Vaughn mentally replayed their conversation. “What part of the last twenty minutes was flirtatious?”

Jonah’s jaw dropped. “Are you kidding me? Just how oblivious are you?”

I really really like Vaughn.

Unwilling to listen anymore, Vaughn hung up. He stared at his cell. It was ridiculous, but he half expected it to apologize to him for letting such a terrible conversation happen.

And surprisingly, I liked Jonah as well. He had a rough childhood, and although he is functional, he is clearly struggling with his past. But then I do like broken characters, so I suppose it would have been odd for me not to like him.

As I said, I really didn’t see how things were going to work out between the two of them, so their journey was especially fascinating.

Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Rating: 8.5/10

Re-Read: June 2020
8.5/10