Title: All He Ever Needed
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 178 Pages
At a Glance: All He Ever Needed is a very nice romance and a feel good story. I just wish the epilogue had been a bit more forthcoming on the other minor issues that arose in the story, which would have made the novel feel more complete overall.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Some secrets are too heavy to hold on to forever.
For Ethan, pretending has become second nature. After all, he’s spent the last decade pretending to be straight, pretending to be happy, and pretending he isn’t desperately in love with his best friend. But in a single moment of raw honesty, all those lies come crashing down around him and he’s left wondering what to do next.
When Jase learns his best friend is going through a breakup, his first instinct is to come to Ethan’s rescue, and he knows just the thing to help. The cabin where they spent summers as kids is sitting vacant, and a week there is the perfect remedy to start healing a broken heart.
In the seclusion of the mountains, long-buried fears and emotions take their friendship into unexplored territory that will either bring them closer together… or tear everything apart.
Review: Cate Ashwood delivers a nice friends-to-lovers story with her latest release, All He Ever Needed. Ethan has lived a lie for many years, but in the last few he has tried his best to fit in, even going as far as living with the girl he has loved as a friend since they were young. However, as it becomes clear that Allison wants their relationship to move on to the married with two kids stage, Ethan must finally come clean and break her heart, and his as well, and admit to her that he is gay.
Jase, Ethan’s best friend since childhood, discovers something bad has happened and decides to take his friend away to his family’s cabin for a few days. While there, Ethan finally admits to Jase what had broken he and Allison apart, and Jase is stunned to realize that the feelings he has always had for Ethan are more than just friendship. The two men live an idyllic week discovering just how much they mean to each other, and never really giving thought to the outside world. But all good things must come to an end, and reality comes crashing in when the two return to their lives. Ethan will slowly decide what course his life will now take, and begin to reveal to close friends he is gay. Jase, on the other hand, will find that he is mired in fear and doubt and unsure whether he can truly be out as bisexual and give Ethan the love he deserves. Something must break, and it may be the relationship both Ethan and Jase thought they wanted with each other.
From beginning to end I could tell that this novel was going to be a love story with a few rough bumps for both guys, but a pretty certain happy ever after all the same. Low angst, a sweet friendship that had turned to something more, and both men never wanting to hurt the other and trying to be understanding of their individual fears, set the stage for the novel to end up with a positive resolution. Along the way, the dual point of view that was presented in alternating chapters helped the reader to get a keen look into what both Ethan and Jase were going through emotionally. This was a fast, easy read, and for those who like their romances to run fairly smoothly, this book is a definite winner.
For me, there were a few problems that kept this from being a solid hit. First, the front end of the novel was pretty intense, sexually, and I often wondered at just how easily Jase switched into being physically intimate with Ethan when he had never before acted upon his occasional fantasies about being with another man. His capitulation and jumping into bed with his best friend right on the heels of finding out Ethan was gay seemed a bit fast. The other plot point that set off a few alarms was the epilogue that wrapped up everything and brought not only the guys’ futures into clarity but a happy ever after that included their exes as well. It seemed rather forced to me, and it left me with more than a few questions. For instance, I wondered how the men at the station really felt about Jase being bi. That was never fully resolved, and it was a fairly big concern of his earlier in the novel. Then there was Ethan’s decision about what he would do with his life. There was a lot of talk about these guys not being able to afford living on their own, and with the idea dangled that Ethan would be going back to grad school, I was left wondering where the money was going to come from. That was solidified when the story mentions them buying the cabin that belonged to one of Jase’s extended family members.
I realize these things may seem nitpicky, but they were the big concerns that took the forefront, after their relationship status, in any inner dialogue that was heard from Jase and Ethan. While I understood that the health of their relationship was their key concern, the author chose to make these other elements something we returned to more than once in the novel, so I expected we would get some kind of closure on those as well.
All He Ever Needed is a very nice romance and a feel good story, for sure. I just wish the epilogue had been a bit more forthcoming on the other minor issues that arose in the story, which would have made the novel feel more complete overall.
You can buy All He Ever Needed here:
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