Title: Jesse’s Smile
Author: Angelique Jurd
Publisher: Small Black Cat Media
Release Date: 1/15/2018
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 542
Heat Level: 4 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?
‘Jesse knows he’s not stupid. Not retarded, no matter what some people say about him. People who think they are normal. He doesn’t understand things the way other people do and sometimes things sometimes get muddled, especially if he’s under pressure, but that’s not the same thing as stupid.’
This story is so beautiful! This is not just a romance but a lovely depiction of a real relationship and all the wonders and challenges that entails, but also of a beautiful young man with autism, mild OCD, Mears-Irlen Syndrome, dyslexia and mild I.D navigating through his first serious relationship.
Jesse is 26 and works in a pet store. He absolutely adores animals and loves the independence of having his own job and apartment. He is behind the counter one day serving – his least favourite place to be. When a mouthy obnoxious customer starts calling him a retard. A handsome kind man who is out buying supplies for his new kitten steps in and defends Jesse and the two are introduced.
Drew is a high school English teacher. He stops off at the pet store on his way home from work and there he meets beautiful, charming Jesse. Drew asks Jesse to help him get things set up for his cat and then asks him out on a date and the two of them begin a tentative relationship which deepens and strengthens over time.
“I’m not normal, Drew. I know I’m not. And it’s not like having a cold, I’m not going to wake up tomorrow and be normal,” he says. Then in a voice that breaks Drew’s heart he continues, “I wish I was going to. I wish I could wake up in the morning and just be like everyone else. Like you. But I can’t. Ever. And I know that. And even though I know that, I kind of don’t mind so much anymore. Not like before. Because you make me feel happy.”
I just loved these two so much. Drew is infinitely patient, compassionate and loving and Jesse is so god damn strong, sweet and at times heartbreakingly vulnerable, the things he said had me wanting to reach in to the book and give him a big supportive hug but Drew was always on hand to do just that.
“I never had anyone to love before. Not someone of my own. I have mom and dad but it’s different.” Drew nods to show he understands what Jesse is trying to say. “You’re mine, aren’t you Drew?” “Yeah Jess,” he whispers, “I’m yours. And you’re mine.”
There’s lots of ups and downs as with every new relationship but with Jesse’s complexities and someone from Drew’s past making an unwanted appearance there’s a lot for these two to navigate through. But they’re not alone. Secondary characters in this book are excellent! Well written with plenty of depth and they all really add a lot to this story.
This book is also really funny at times and I just adored Jesse’s lack of filter and Drew’s reaction to it every time, absolutely hilarious. I really enjoyed this book and did not want it to end! I think I could sit and read about Jesse and Drew living their every day lives forever. I really believed in them and just couldn’t get enough. This is the first book I’ve read by this author but I’m so exited now to read more!