Then Came Cal by Lee Barrows

Then Came Cal by Lee Barrows
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (46 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Sean Hutchins is having the worst day of his life…

After losing what he thought was his dream job, Sean Hutchins walks away to suddenly find not only his professional life, but also his personal life, falling apart. Seeking comfort in his best friend Cassie, the last person Sean expects to run into is Cassie’s big brother—and Sean’s long time crush—Cal.

Cal is supposed to be on vacation visiting his baby sister, not babysitting her and her best friend, Sean. And he definitely is not supposed to be staring at Sean’s hot ass. But after spending some time with the guy, Cal finds himself having confusing feelings for him.

Should Cal act on his attraction? And can Sean find a way to put back the broken pieces of his heart and his life?

Sean loves his job. But when his section is reorganized he learns firsthand that the last one hired is the first one fired. Determined to make the best of it, Sean decides to get his life in order. But when he goes home and finds his quasi-boyfriend in the middle of an orgy, Sean is devastated. When Sean turns to his best friend, Cassie, for an evening of commiserations, he’s surprised but pleased her older brother Cal is visiting. Because Sean has had a major crush on Cal forever, and this might finally be his chance to do something about it.

This is an interesting short story about how life can finally turn a corner when everything seems darkest. I really enjoyed Sean’s character right from the start. I desperately wanted to help lift him up after he lost both his job and his boyfriend pretty much simultaneously. I could also see that Cal was exactly the sort of guy who’d be perfect for Sean. I was eager to see them come together and hopefully forge something wonderful – something that could set Sean on the right path to taking back control of his life.

In many ways I found this to be a very sweet story. Except for some sexiness while Sean is drunk, Sean and Cal don’t just jump right into bed. Their movement from a cool, removed friendship into a real relationship is slow and gradual. There are some steamy kisses and plenty of indications they both are eager for more – but there’s no true consummation to my mind until right at the end of the story. Readers looking for a quick, erotically spicy story might not find this satisfying. Those looking for more of an emotional attachment, however, and for that “slow burn” kind of romance I think should really enjoy this.

I was a little disappointed we never heard what happened with Cassie. While there was talk of her also moving along with Sean, we don’t hear anything about her after she gives Sean and Cal some space. I was very curious whether she, too, made the move or stayed back in San Francisco. While I appreciate she wasn’t a main character, as Sean’s bff and Cal’s sister I really felt knowing even briefly how her plans panned out would have rounded out the story perfectly and not left the plot feeling unfinished to my mind. Possibly though there’s a sequel planned and this will be resolved later. I hope so.

Readers looking for an almost sweet M/M, where characterization and the relationship are central and sex – while present – takes a backseat will really enjoy this book. It’s short enough I feel it can be read promptly and I really enjoyed the tone and warmth between Sean, Cal and Cassie. A great read.

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