Last night I finished in one sitting the short story “Like and Subscribe” by Jay Bell. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though it lacked any actual sex, there was still some sexual tension and the light, humorous tone of the story held my interest throughout.
It’s hard not to include spoilers in a review of a short story, so consider this a spoiler alert.
The story opens with Evan, a computer tech completely obsessed with the YouTube personality Tony, with whom he went to high school but never actually met. Despite the fact that Tony seems to have everything (including a loving boyfriend), Evan is determined to maintain the fantasy that Tony will fall in love with and marry him. Just by chance, Evan meets Tony at a party and is surprised to find that Tony is interested in getting together with him, much to the disapproval of Tony’s boyfriend, Orlando. I won’t give away more of the plot, but I will say that interesting twists and turns set up Evan for an unexpected happy ending.
I enjoyed Jay Bell’s writing style and his characterizations are rich and compelling. The story is straightforward, with several interesting twists and turns—and even a small side story which adds some comedic relief. Again, even though there was no sex, there was sexual tension, including an instance of non-gratuitous nudity. I liked the way the two kisses in the story were handled. In a lot of romance, kisses are all alike, but these two kisses are not perfunctory preludes to what happens next, but significant turning points which tell us about the characters and their relationships as well as advancing the plot.
In short, I recommend “Like and Subscribe.” You can’t go wrong: it’s free (for now at least) and its a delightful, quick read. I also recommend the writing of Jay Bell in general. I am seriously debating setting aside a big chunk of time to read Bell’s 8-book signature series “Something Like…” which deals with characters who are taking some time—even a decade to find themselves and their place in the world. I expect well-drawn characters, compelling story lines and a touch of humor, based on my brief but meaningful experience with “Like and Subscribe.”