From Brussels, With Love by Emy Calirel

From Brussels, With Love by Emy Calirel
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full length (156 pages)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Dispirited after a recent breakup, Irish project manager Trevor is guilted into a trip to Brussels with his best friend. A chance meeting with cute and funny tour guide Jerome turns into a weekend of sex and friendship. Forgetting his phone at Jerome’s apartment shifts their fling into a long-distance relationship held together by postcards, texts, and stolen weekends. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart—Trevor is a workaholic who values his success, while artistic Jerome is carefree but insecure.

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Trevor is trying to recover from a bad heartbreak, but it’s difficult when he still works with his ex and a large project forces them to keep in contact. In a serious funk, Trevor lets himself get bullied by his best friend into a short trip to Brussels. He doesn’t expect to enjoy himself, but is surprised when he feels an instant and strong connection to his walking tour guide, Jerome. What starts as a weekend of fun and a sexy fling turns into a long-distance texting relationship and soon both men are finding their lives change in ways neither ever expected. Can Jerome and Trevor find their way together?

I found this to be a fun and deliciously slow-moving sexy romance. I was pleased the fuller length of the story allowed the author to really show us Trevor and Jerome’s characters – where they were in their lives and what kind of people they were individually – before we watched them connect, click together and start to form their relationship. While at times I felt the pace between them was a little slow, it was also understandable as Trevor in particular was still not in a good place from his recent breakup. I feel the slow burn and gradual build up of the relationship might be a little slow for some readers. While it made the story a lot more realistic to me, and the connection and emotion between the two men was very well drawn, I did at times feel that there was a little too much hesitancy on each man’s side and this allowed small flutters of doubt creep into my mind.

I really enjoyed the men’s characters. They felt well drawn, emotional and realistically complex. I also was pleased that the author didn’t have Trevor hang around and turn his very brief holiday into a longer-term thing right away. That would have been something very easy for the author to do to push the romance between the men, but I feel the book and the plotline was far stronger for giving Jerome and Trevor a bit of space and time. I feel this “away from each other” section on the book was very well handled.

Readers looking for a deeply emotional book should really love this. I enjoyed reading about Trevor and Jerome as they connected with each other, eased each other’s hurts and most importantly learned about one another’s lives. This book is filled with interesting facts about Ireland and Brussels and I feel the author was really deft handling these facts – not info-dumping on the reader but weaving it skillfully into the story. The connection and emotion between the two men is absolutely the highlight for me of the story and goes a long way to making me want to pick up more stories by this author.

A strongly written, lovely full length story this is a great read.

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