A Guest Review by Cole
Review Summary: A sweet short story, without conflict but great for a pick-me-up, about two men sharing a remote cabin for a weekend.
Jesse hadn’t planned for anything more than a break from the noise and heat of Atlanta when he returned to the cabin he rented each year in the Smoky Mountains – but that was before he met Eli, the handsome man renting the other side of the cabin. Eli’s plans to mix a little hiking with his relaxation match Jesse’s perfectly, and before long the two men are sharing more than just a wall and a view. Jesse’s not one to let an opportunity like this pass him by, though it remains to be seen whether the weekend encounter can turn into something more permanent.
Jesse, a biologist who works at the CDC, goes away one weekend a year to a remote cabin in the Smoky Mountains given the appellation of “The Cabin on the Hill” by it’s frequent guests. He has grown to love the area — the hiking trails, waterfalls, and the serenity he feels there that is absent from his fast-paced lifestyle in Atlanta. He plans to spend the weekend in solitude, but on his second day as he is sitting on the deck and watching the sunrise creep over the fog above the forest, a man comes onto the deck and introduces himself. His name is Eli, an architect who is also from Atlanta and is staying in the other half of the cabin. It seems like kismet as the two get to know one another — taking a hike, watching a game, and cooking dinner. They find that neither had expected anything more than a quiet weekend away from their hectic lives, but somehow that makes their meeting all the sweeter. They spend the day, the night, and half the next day with each other, and Jesse hopes (the story is solely in his POV) more time than that when they both return to Atlanta.
I found this story rather refreshing, though I don’t think everyone will agree with me. It is a very sweet, endearing story. Jesse and Eli are both very caring and average men. We never learn their age, though I presumed them to be in their mid-thirties. They’re nice looking, but not runway models. They are intelligent, but not pretentious. They both occasionally say something corny, though it come across to the other as endearing. They seem to fit together like puzzle pieces, thrown together by the cosmos. It is for this fact that I think some people won’t like this story. There isn’t any conflict presented. It is what it is: a short, sweet story about two men who find that they like each other very much, in and out of bed. I suppose that this is what I liked about it. Had the story traveled further, into their return to their lives and out of the idyllic setting they had constructed for themselves, the story might have fallen apart. I appreciated that the story stood for what it was, though it might not be to some readers’ taste.
I wondered about this lack of conflict, however. Though this might not have been the author’s intent, I occasionally felt like certain discussions were glossed over specifically in order not to bring up things that would lead to conflict (their past, their lives in Atlanta). It could be that this was a natural reluctance on the characters’ parts, to not deal with the conflict until they absolutely have to. It still left me with lingering questions, however. Though the characters have a great natural chemistry, we don’t know very much about them. In one short conversation we learn a bit about their families, one past relationship of Eli’s, a bit about their education and careers, some of their likes and dislikes, and they briefly touch on the fact that they are both currently single. That is the basis of their conversation about their lives. It might be a natural tendency for the characters in this situation to not go into those things, to enjoy the fleeting moment they’ve created, but it left me with no idea what their lives might be like together once the weekend has ended.
That said, I still enjoyed the story quite a bit. The sex scenes were very steamy and had a lot of connection and passion. The writing was clean, concise, and very sensory detailed. I think that this story is one that reader’s might like as a small treat on a rainy day. The lack of conflict will be a deal-breaker for some, but if it isn’t, and you find yourself having a bad day, or just want to curl up in bed while it is raining, this is a good story to read. It is sweet, sexy in parts, and doesn’t require you to put your emotions on the line. Sometimes, that’s exactly what I need, to simply experience two characters who are smitten, and I am lucky that I read it when I wanted something just like that.