Absence is as crucial as presence.
The decision to stop dating has made Vaughn Hargrave’s life infinitely simpler: he has friends, an excellent wardrobe, and a job in the industry he loves. That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection. But when a piece is stolen from his art gallery and insurance investigator Jonah Sondern shows up, Vaughn finds himself struggling with that decision.
Jonah wants his men like his coffee: hot, intense, and daily. But Vaughn seems to be the one gay guy in Toronto who doesn’t do hookups, which is all Jonah can offer. No way can Jonah give Vaughn what he really wants, not when Jonah barely understands what love is.
When another painting goes missing, tension ramps up both on and off the clock. Vaughn and Jonah find themselves grappling not just with stolen art, but with their own differences. Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right? Not unless they find a way to fill in the spaces between them.
Blank Spaces by Cass Lennox (Toronto Connections series #1) takes on a classic romance plot line – the playboy and the loner – and gives it something an unusual twist. Vaughn Hargrave is the loner. He comes from family wealth but works in an art gallery because he loves the art. He has his home, his job, and a few friends. For him, that’s enough. He’s given up dating, and that’s just fine by him. It never really did all that much for him to begin with. Everyone says relationships, and specifically sex, are a basic need, but Vaughn is not sure he agrees. Relationships, sure, but sex he can do without.
Jonah Sondern is the playboy. For him, sex is as essential to life as food. He can’t imagine going without. Relationships, he can do without. He’s never seen much point in them anyway. Give him a hook up any day or better yet, multiple ones every day. His life revolves around his job as an investigator for an insurance company and nights in clubs, on the prowl for hot men.
Jonah and Vaughn meet through a series of thefts that keep happening at the art gallery where Vaughn works. Jonah is assigned to help investigate the various insurance claims on these art pieces. Jonah is immediately drawn to Vaughn, but Vaughn just doesn’t seem interested no matter what Jonah tries to do. Vaughn says he likes Jonah, and sometimes – even seems to be trying to flirt with him – but it never goes any further. For his part, Vaughn does like Jonah, very much, but knows that Jonah has expectations about the sex that goes along with the relationship that Vaughn will never be able to meet. Vaughn’s never been real sure why sex doesn’t seem to be as compelling for him as it does for everybody else, but he’s trying enough to know it doesn’t work for him. Still, both men find themselves enjoying the others company, and neither one wants to lose the other. Is there possible a way for to such very different men to find a happy medium, and can they solve the mystery of the art that keeps disappearing from the gallery where Vaughn works?
My favorite part of this book is the complexity of the relationships, particularly between Jonah and Vaughn. It’s one of very few stories I have ever seen with an asexual character, and the only time I’ve ever seen an asexual character as the lead character in a romance. The two men’s different needs and ideas about sex generate plenty of conflict, but if you’re looking for the everything can be solved by tons of hot, steamy sex type story, this isn’t it. However, if you like exploring relationships and the different forms intimacy can take, you might want to check this one out.
I’ll admit – I wasn’t really sure how I would feel about this book when I started it. Granted, I was really excited about the drama regarding the stolen paintings, but I wasn’t sure how I would like the romance aspect of the story. But once again, my interest was really peaked when I read this line in the blurb, “Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right?” I just had to get into the book to find out what was going to happen.
After reading the book – I will admit that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Vaughn and Jonah were both really good characters that I enjoyed spending time with, and watching as their relationship unfolded. Granted, they don’t have the “traditional” relationship, but it was one that worked for the both of them and it was perfect for them.
It did feel at times like the story was dragging on for me personally. It seemed like with every step forward, there were two steps backwards at times. When it came to the stealing of the paintings, I wasn’t surprised at who it was, but the way it was revealed was pretty good.
Overall, I did enjoy this book and do plan on reading more into the series.