Length: 48,000 words approx
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
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.
I've had Annabelle Jacobs on my radar for quite some time (bad reader, I know!) and when I saw the cover for Not Just For Christmas--too adorable for words, right?--I knew this would be the perfect place to start. Boy was I right! This was sweet, and full of adorable animals and a case of falling for your best friend's brother which made a perfect combination.
Ben Slater has crushed on Jason Armitage for years, and it hasn't been much of a secret from anyone. Not from Jason and not from Jason's brother, Liam, who also happens to be Ben's best friend. Ben is moving back to Bristol after being away for a few years and Ben is not the boy Jason remembers. Nope, Ben is all grown up and not the shy somewhat awkward kid he used to be.
It was really fun watching grown up Ben pursue Jason. Jason might be 11 years older than Ben, a successful vet, and owns his own home but he's ready to settle down and isn't quite sure 24 year old Ben wants the same things. *hint* he does. I liked that Ben was the one who made the first move and initiated the first kiss, conveniently under some mistletoe.
The pace was a little slow at times but the bromance between Liam and Ben was so awesome I didn't mind so much. The heat level in Not Just For Christmas was on the low side, but for the tone of the story it really worked. This was a delightful read. The cute animals didn't hurt any and I was left with a smile on my face at the end. I'll definitely be reading more of Annabelle's work and recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet, light story to put you in the Christmas mood!
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Ben tried not to look, but inevitably his gaze was drawn to Jason still sat on the sofa. He stood as Pete stepped back, and Ben got a proper look at him. Ben wasn’t the only one who’d changed a little over the past couple of years. The last time he’d seen Jason, his hair had been short, like an army cut, and he’d had a beard. He’d looked hot then, but now…. Ben had to forcibly shut his mouth so he didn’t gape.
Jason’s thick dark hair, still shaved at the sides, was now a good couple of inches longer on top. And he was clean shaven. Ben kind of missed the beard, but without it Jason looked much younger, and his strong jawline was a thing of beauty. He looked thinner, too. Ben frowned because Jason ate like a horse and had always been bulkier than his brothers. That thought somehow made its way out of Ben’s mouth.
“Have you lost weight?”
Jason laughed softly, one hand immediately going to his stomach. He patted his belly and sighed. “God don’t you start. Mum’s already been on at me about not eating properly.” He pulled Ben in for a quick hug. “It’s good to see you, even if you do put the rest of us to shame.”
Oh God, that voice. As smooth and deep as Ben remembered.
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