Better Than People by Roan Parrish
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When animal loving Jack breaks his leg and can no longer take his pets for the exercise they need, Simon, a man who craves four legged companionship, comes to the rescue. Soon they discover they have more in common than their love of pets. Simon and Jack are just the sweetest, softest and most heart warming pair you could spend an evening with, but both have real issues to work out. Simon has debilitating social anxiety, and Jack is an artist who no longer creates art and is having trouble sleeping in the wake of a work partner’s betrayal. But these two get along like a house on fire almost from the start. Together they work through some of their heaviest baggage, though the narrative makes clear that it's not a matter of trying to "fix" anyone. They love each other completely not in spite of any perceived faults, and they mourn each others' pain without trying to change who they are. There’s angst in the story, but overall there was fairly little stress for me in reading it, because these people are very good to each other, and they have loved ones who are good to them as well. The writing is emotional and evocative and beautifully done. This was exactly the steamy and emotional comfort read I craved.
One of my favorite scenes comes near the end. IT'S A SPOILER:
“Are you crying?” Simon said, instantly attentive. “What’s wrong?”
Jack shook his head.
“I’m so fucking in love with you.” He wiped his cheeks. “So when do you think you might wanna—”
“Now. I live here now.” He turned around the room, addressing the animals. “Pack! I live here now!”
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