Title: Jesse’s Smile
Author: Angelique Jurd
Publisher: Small Black Cat Media
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Genre(s): Gay Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 349 pages
Reviewed by: Tosha
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Jesse Peterson is 26 and loves his job in a pet store. He loves the cats, the dogs, and Sniffles the rabbit. What he doesn’t love is the way people assume he’s retarded. That he can’t look after himself, that he’s isn’t a man.
So, when the store’s newest customer, buying supplies for his kitten, asks him out, Jesse has trouble understanding why. Jesse knows he’s not stupid, but nobody else seems to know that. They just see a good looking young man whose smile seems to be the brightest thing about him.
Drew Oliver isn’t other people. A high school teacher with a history of bad relationship choices, Drew is patient, loving, and doesn’t care that Jesse is different. He just cares about being able to make him smile as often as he can.
Everyone seems to have an opinion about the differences between Drew and Jesse, few notice the things they share. Can their relationship survive the scrutiny and judgement passed by everyone around them? And when one of Drew’s bad choices shows up, will love be enough to help them survive the aftermath?
This is definitely one of those books that is an emotional read for so many different reasons. For starters there is the treatment of one of the main characters by those that love him and those that do not know him in the least. But more than that there is also the emotions that went through me as I read this book that revolves around so much love between two men that from the outside and on paper would probably not make sense to most but realistically they are a perfect match for one another.
Jesse has autism. He’s not as bad as some but there is definite signs of it. He also has ID and is dyslexic. There are other things like the fact that he has mild to moderate OCD but the one thing that really matters about Jesse is he has an amazing heart. Though he tends to understand differently than most, he is a normal gay man. But most do not take the time to see that about Jesse. Most look at the fact that he is different and decide that he is less than they are and that it’s ok to call him names and treat him as a child. Jesse has found that for the most part he can ignore what people say to and about him but there are times he does feel affected by the negativity towards him. Even with all the things that most see as a disability Jesse is still highly functional. He has a job, a home, and takes care of himself. The only thing that Jesse does not have, which he wishes he did have, is a relationship with someone.
One day while at his job Jesse meets an intriguing customer named Drew. Drew is a school teacher and is immediately taken first with how beautiful Jesse is but almost immediately after that, he is drawn to Jesse himself. Once Drew leaves the pet store he cannot get Jesse out of his mind so he finds a reason to visit the store again as much as possible in hopes of getting to know him better.
The more Drew comes into the store the more curious about him Jesse becomes so when Drew asks Jesse to go out for a drink as a thank you for his help, Jesse agrees to go after some thought on it.
This is the beginning of something beautiful between two men. But it is not going to be easy because most people do not understand the two of them together and the attraction they see in the other. There are many obstacles they will have to face, including but not limited to, their own families and their doubts about their relationship. Like I said it is not going to be easy.
Then there is the fact that Drew has an ex that is about to come around and cause even more trouble. It is going to take these two men working together and learning to be honest with one another to stand a chance of making a relationship work between them.
This was such an incredible read. I am truly glad that I read this book because even though there is some sad parts to this book, it is a very inspiring read. This is the first book that I have read by Angelique Jurd but I plan to read more in the future. Definitely a recommended read!!
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