Rating: 4 stars out of 5
For Ben Slater, moving back to Bristol means being closer to his family, living with his best mate, and volunteering at the local animal shelter. But there’s also Jason, his best mate’s eldest brother. Ben’s had a crush on Jason for as long as he can remember, but the eleven-year age gap has always seemed insurmountable.
Jason Armitage works as a vet at his uncle’s practice. He owns a cute cottage on the outskirts of the city, and a loving dog. The one thing missing is someone to share it all with. His brother’s best friend seems a bad choice, but Jason can’t help taking a second look. Ben’s changed a lot since Jason last saw him; both in appearance and attitude. Gone is the shy young boy, replaced with a confident, twenty-four-year-old man.
In the run up to Christmas, the festive period gives Ben the ideal opportunity to show Jason what he has to offer. But concerns for his brother’s feelings hold Jason back. If they have any chance of making this work, Ben must convince Jason that he’s old enough to know what he wants, and Jason needs to believe that a relationship with his brother’s best friend won’t ruin their friendship
When you are looking for holiday romances you want something that’s heartwarming, has characters you can connect with and a storyline with enough holiday elements that pull you in and keep you smiling until the last page. Not Just for Christmas by Annabelle Jacobs does exactly that.
It’s pretty much angst free. Best friends move into together, Ben has had a crush on his best friend’s older brother for years . Now that he’s grown up he finally has a chance for the guy to see him in a more mature light. Yes it’s a all staple and it still works here. Throw in the fact that Jason is a vet, there’s rescue kittens and pups, and well, darn it, this story is nigh irresistible!
It also helps that Annabelle Jacobs writes such wonderful characters with lovely supporting secondary cast. Here it’s families that work so well to bolster the men as believable, loving human beings. It’s easy to fall in love with them, and watch them doing the same with each other.
If you are looking for a lighthearted, sweet holiday romance, look no further than Not Just for Christmas by Annabeth Jacobs. It’s a lovely read at this time of the year or as the title says not just for Christmas but all year long.
Cover art by Natasha Snow is perfect for the character and storyline. It’s adorable.