The Art of Loving by Cassidy Ryan

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The Art of Loving by Cassidy Ryan
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (79 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

Does Asa have a life sentence doing time in the friendzone?

Asa has been in love with Theo since their art school days in London, but Theo has only ever had eyes for their straight friend Oliver. Two years ago, unable to take the pain of unrequited love any longer, Asa came home to Glasgow. He hasn’t seen Theo since, nor has he stopped loving him.

When Oliver marries Charlotte, Asa can’t come up with any reasonable excuse not to attend the wedding, so he returns to London. He isn’t exactly shocked when Theo doesn’t show up, but when he learns that the reason for Theo’s no-show is a car accident that has landed him in hospital, Asa immediately rushes to be with him.

Unable to leave Theo to fend for himself while he recovers, Asa takes his friend back to Glasgow with him.

There, secrets are revealed, and Asa learns more about Theo than he ever imagined.

Asa has been in love with Theo since their first year of college. But Theo only has eyes for Oliver, who is completely straight and unaware of Theo’s feelings. Years later at Oliver’s wedding, Asa has returned back to London for the nuptials, unsurprised to find his feelings for Theo remain as strong as ever. But when Theo has an accident, could this be the chance Asa has longed for?

This is a lovely short story about two really good friends who finally allow their relationship to bloom into more. I personally enjoyed the pacing of the story – that lovely slow, sweet fall from friends into lovers. Readers looking for a harder-core erotica might find the pace too slow though. There is no sex or spice until well past the half-way mark and in such a short length story readers who are more interested in the spice and erotic scenes rather than the journey itself might find this lacking in the heat department.

For me, I often love the journey and am far more interested in the characters and the ride – so this story really hit a lot of good points for my enjoyment. I loved getting to know Asa – and to a lesser extent Theo. The entire story is told from Asa’s point of view, so at times I really did wish for a quick glance in Theo’s head. Needing to read this thoughts and feelings from cues in his actions and through Asa’s eyes were sometimes difficult and I would have dearly loved at least a chapter or two from Theo’s perspective. That said, I loved watching Theo and Asa deepen their friendship, open their trust to each other and finally, finally at the end of the story come together and admit their feelings were so much more than friendship.

Readers looking for a slow, realistic and very sweet progression of a story, one focused on the characters and their journey together should really love this M/M story. I really enjoyed it and would happily look for more.

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