Desert Isle Keeper
The Boy Next Door
I didn’t realise until I took a close look that Annabelle Costa’s The Boy Next Door was first published in 2012. But then again, I have not read much contemporary romance until the last year or so, and started picking it up because so much historical romance (my first love) has not made me very excited recently.
I’ve now read a number of Annabelle Costa’s books and there are certain parameters that are part of the deal. There is always a disabled hero; the stories are usually set in ‘The Big City’; the heroine is often a bit of a ditz; there is hot sex; and there is comedy. And the comedy is always pretty good – laugh out loud stuff at times.
It’s difficult to find out much about the author other than she has worked as a physiotherapist so she clearly knows of what she speaks in terms of how her characters deal with disability and their sex lives. So, either this is for you or it’s not. If it is on your radar, then I think you will enjoy this book – and the books on her backlist.
Told in the first person by Tasha, the story here is that two eight-year-olds meet when Jason’s family moves in next door to Tasha and hers. At first, Tasha is unsure what to make of him because a child in a wheelchair is clearly a novelty and even a little scary. But she and Jason hit if off due to mutual interests in toys, films, crazy talk, getting high together when they are teens, etc. Twenty-four years later, they are both thirty-two and unmarried – though Tasha goes through men like I go through Twix bars in lockdown. Jason is now a successful investment banker and has a life that is pretty damned good. But although he’s no longer worried about being stared at or what people think about him, he does have one problem. He is, and has always been, in love with Tasha, who is too busy being a girl with questionable morals, tastes, a tendency towards self-centred behaviour and has a pretty dead-end career. Well, teaching was better than being the lead singer for a grunge band named Cynthia’s Armpit!
The course of true love is never smooth, naturally, and both of our principals have the wrong partners (great secondary characters) – and although both know it, Jason can’t get Tasha to see the forest for the trees and Tasha thinks of Jason as a brother although she’s now thinking about how fab the oral sex with him would be.
All comes out in the wash when Tasha’s beloved eighty-seven-year-old Nana pops her clogs. A straight-thinking, plain spoken woman who knows what a blow job is and tells it like it is, she knows what Tasha needs and has been telling her for years. Finally, it takes a funeral for things to work out.
I really love Annabelle Costa’s books. Rarely do I read something that makes me laugh out loud but she succeeds every time. The dialogue is fun and the leads come across as real people, people that you would like to have a drink with. Some reviewers elsewhere didn’t like Tasha – who is admittedly self-centred and self-admiring – but I liked her; ditzy and immature but a girl with a whole lot of love to give. Ditto Jason – he may be slow in getting what he wants but you just know these two will have a great HEA full of laughs, great sex and old Transformer movies.
~ Elaine S.