Timing - John A. Ashley Review originally posted at Sinfully.

I’ve read two other Ashley John stories that were both pretty angsty, but this story was light and sweet. A city boy meets farm boy romance, where timing is everything, even if it’s all wrong. Tom and Cole are about to learn that love doesn’t care whether you’re ready for it or not.

Tom’s life is very neat and orderly and pretty boring. He is a journalist with a local weekly paper, a job he doesn’t particularly like with a boss who seems to hate him, and is toiling away for a promotion he desperately needs but is sure will never come. The rest of his time is spent in his apartment watching The X-Files with his cat, Mulder. It’s been three years since the horrible ending of his last relationship and since then he’s done nothing but work. The timing isn’t right for dating since he’s working on his career and he’s not interested in meaningless sex. His best friend Ricky aka drag queen Miss Kitty Litter is so exasperated with Tom that he bets him 100 quid (that Tom doesn’t have to lose) that he doesn’t have sex before Ricky’s birthday.

Cole has lived his whole life on the farm owned by the aunt and uncle who raised him and he can’t imagine working or living anywhere else. Circumstances have forced him to take a job in a gay bar in Manchester to help keep the farm and him and his aunt afloat. Cole’s sex life consists of occasional hook ups, but his main concern is making sure his aunt and the farm are taken care of.

Both Tom and Cole live in the same village but have never met until literally running into each other on the train platform. As both are rushing for the train Cole, nervous about his first day at work, spills his coffee all over a late and hungover Tom. Cole would like nothing more than to continue talking with Tom after their train ride, but Tom doesn’t seem interested. Luckily for Cole they run into each other later that day, but Cole isn’t very smooth and things don’t go much better. They do start up a friendship and agree to a date. Both are at a time of change in their lives and Tom wants things to move slowly, but it is clear early on that they are just so good together, he’s not too sure he can hold out.

Through some missteps, a growing friendship a little hot sex and a few X-Files marathons, the two men fall into an easy and loving relationship neither expected nor experienced before. Tom is still uncertain, hanging onto his job but feeling more and more at home on the farm and in the house Cole shares with Aunt Belinda. While Cole is more certain of what and who he wants out of life, Tom finds it hard to fully invest in what Cole is offering and trust in things. This leads to a bad decision that Tom immediately regrets, but hurts Cole deeply nonetheless, setting up a bit of drama at the end of an otherwise angst free story.

Tom shows real growth during the story and is the character with the most personal issues to get over. It took me longer to warm up to him than it did Cole, but the two have good chemistry and I was really pulling for Tom to grow a pair and do the right thing. Lucky for him he has not just Cole, but also Ricky who is a great secondary character. Sassy and supportive of Tom and later Cole, Ricky’s had his share of pain and loss and urges Tom to think about what’s really important to him. I wouldn’t mind seeing Ricky get his happily ever after in a book of his own.

Ashley John’s words paint a lovely picture throughout the story and I could easily picture the characters and the settings. The story flowed at a very good pace and I never felt things dragging. The big misunderstanding at the end wasn’t drawn out and the Epilogue guarantees us that the two men are sharing a very happy ending. With lots of love, a bit of humor and some engaging characters, this was a feel good love story that would be a perfect little weekend pick me up for anyone who loves a sweet romance.