A+ Ships is an irregular feature celebrating relationships in fiction between characters that fall along the asexual spectrum. For more information, see the A+ Ships FAQ.
Our post today comes from Tabitha. This book sounds awesome and I look forward to checking it out. Thank you, Tabitha!
Wes loves his life traveling the Pagan festival circuit, but he loved it more when he wasn’t harangued by women a little too fond of his picture in a popular charity calendar—a calendar that mucked up his bio by stating that he’s single, but leaving out that he’s not straight.
Wes’s appeals to the company to change the bio come to nothing until Nash, a lawyer from the company, shows up and promises to do all he can to fix the problem. But though Wes quickly grows fond of Nash, and the interest seems mutual, the calendar problem shows no signs of being fixed…
Poor Wes didn’t know what he was in for when he posed for Silver Grove Publishing’s annual charity calendar. Whoever wrote his bio incorrectly implied that he’s straight, and ever since the calendar came out, he’s been approached by interested women at every Pagan festival he’s attended. After hearing about Wes’s plight, Nash, an attorney with Silver Grove, promises to fix the mistake. Because Wes doesn’t have regular phone or internet access, Nash agrees to write letters to Wes to keep him updated, which leads to the two writing back and forth regularly.
I’m not a big romance reader, but I enjoyed following the development of Wes and Nash’s relationship. Here’s why…
Wes doesn’t tell most people that he’s ace; it’s easier to just say he’s gay. But when Nash mentions being asexual, Wes realizes he’s found a kindred spirit. They have a fun “oh, you’re an ace Pagan too?” moment and eagerly discuss sex-normativity and intersectional identities (Nash also being black, panromantic, and a trans man). Later, Wes is hanging out shirtless, which Nash doesn’t notice until Wes points it out. Wes appreciates this: “After several weeks of aggressive ogling, being around someone who didn’t notice how much skin he was showing was a balm to his frayed nerves.” And when Nash notes, “most gay cis men aren’t interested in dating me once they realize I have… nonstandard plumbing”, Wes responds, “First off, we’re ace, so the state of your plumbing won’t be a high priority, right?”
Wes and Nash’s relationship could have easily flickered out after their initial meeting, especially without an easy way to stay in touch, but they’re both willing to put in the effort to get to know each other. After a few months of corresponding, Wes realizes that Nash is the first friend (besides his sibling) that he’s had in a long time. While many fictional romantic relationships are based on physical or romantic attraction, with friendship not factoring in much, I always prefer romances where a friendship comes first—so I appreciated that Wes and Nash build up a bond before Wes realizes there’s a romantic component to his feelings.
I’m also not a fan of fictional romances beginning with a big romantic gesture or a kiss, instead of the two people involved actually talking about their feelings and what they want. In this story, though, once Wes recognizes his romantic interest, he tells Nash he’d like to date him. Nash expresses some concerns related to past dating issues, but Wes quickly puts them to rest, and they agree to start dating. Another moment of good communication between them is when, earlier that day, Wes asks Nash’s permission before hugging him. And when they run into issues, it’s sitting down and talking things out that gets them back on level ground.
Check out MR. MARCH NAMES THE STARS on Amazon.