The Good Guys by Francis Gideon

The Good Guys by Francis Gideon
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (64 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When Oliver meets a really cute elf while out Live Action Role Playing, he thinks he’s found the Sam to his Frodo. He tries to find out more about Oakenshire the Elf, but comes up with nothing. When summer vacation forces the LARPing group to take a break, Oliver throws himself into his upcoming play, where he is one of the main leads. There he meets a new person to captivate his attention: Avery.

She’s smart, funny, and into all the same things that Oliver is into, even LARPing. As their friendship progresses, Oliver begins to notice the similarities the young woman has to Oakenshire the Elf. It could be his final chance to see his elf again—or another case of mistaken identity that will leave Oliver fumbling with pronouns, excuses, and hurt feelings.

Is love at first sight something that really happens?

Oliver was so three-dimensional and interesting. A reader doesn’t have to know anything at all about LARPing or the fantasy genre in order to understand why this character enjoys these things so much. Oliver’s playful obsession with everything related to these topics would have made sense to me even if he and I didn’t love some of the same books because of how much time the author spent connecting that part of his life to what he did with the rest of his time. He was anything but a perfect person, though, and his flaws turned out to be what endeared me to this character the most. It was fascinating to see how his weak spots affected the rest of his life. Without them I would have still liked him, but including them made me wish his tale would never end.

The only thing holding this story back from a much higher rating was how quickly the romance developed. Based on what I knew about the characters involved in it, I would have expected them to spend far more time figuring each other out before either one made any romantic gestures. They both struck me as extremely cautious people, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Because of this, it was odd to me to see them take so leaps of faith.

With that being said, the chemistry between Oliver and Oakenshire the Elf was really well done. I definitely wanted to see them end up together. They shared enough common interests to give them something to talk about on a date. More importantly, though, they both had kind hearts and the same goals in life. They seemed like two people who could develop a strong friendship, and that is definitely something I like seeing in this genre.

The Good Guys made me feel warm and happy. It’s a nice choice for anyone in the mood for a gentle romance.

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