Title & Author: The Accidental Cupid by Xavier Mayne
Series: A Valentine Rainbow
Release Date: February 6, 2014
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 51 pages
Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
While performing as Cupid on Valentine’s Day, Josh has the unpleasant task of delivering a break-up message to Dallas from his girlfriend, Jess. Jess is convinced Dallas is gay, and when Josh tries to comfort him, he finds she may very well be right. When Dallas’s best friend Austin arrives, it’s up to Josh to show both young men the love and acceptance they’ve always had in each other
Every year for the last 10 years, my girlfriends and I have skipped Valentine’s Day celebrations. I mean… Hearts? Flowers? Declarations of undying love?! BLECH! Count me out. Instead, we’ve gotten drunk, eaten discounted chocolate, and made cards for each other on February 15th. (For those of you not in “the know,” February 15th is Flag Day here in Canada. Or, as we like to call it: The Unofficial Holiday of Single People!)
However, as awesome as getting tipsy and putting maple leaf stickers on hand-made cards is, I thought I’d do a little something different this year. Since I’m a romance book blogger now, I thought it’d probably be a good idea to read and review a traditional Valentine’s Day short story. Well… maybe not totally traditional – I still wanted to read about two dudes falling in love, after all.
Which brings me to Xavier Mayne’s adorably quirky short story, The Accidental Cupid.
Just over 50 pages in length, The Accidental Cupid proved to be the perfect way for me to dip my toe in Valentine’s Day’s undoubtedly rose-scented waters. I loved almost everything about this story, from the off-beat opening concept of a poor college kid doing a humiliating job to make a little extra cash for school, to the totally cringe-worthy recitation of the breakup poem (can you imagine receiving a Dear John letter written in iambic pentameter?!), and the fact that penis-shaped gummy candies were the final nail in the coffin of Dallas and Jess’s relationship. I loved that even though Josh seemed like a genuinely nice guy, he was also realistically painted as the horny toad that most eighteen year-old men are. I even loved that Mayne acknowledged my need to *face palm* when he introduced Dallas’ roommate… Austin.
While I’m gushing, I might as well say that I also really enjoyed the story’s narrative style. Overall, I thought that it was bold, quick, and refreshing. Josh’s snarky, innuendo-laden internal monologue was hilarious and at times eerily similar to my own thoughts of what was happening on the page. Unfortunately, I think this success actually hurt the story a little in the end. By the time Austin strolled into the apartment, I was already completely invested in Cupid finally getting a little action of his own and so I resented Austin’s presence in the story and ultimately found his character to be rather two-dimensional.
People are likely to criticize the story for all of its oh-so-convenient elements. Admittedly, it was awfully convenient that the Cupid delivering Jess’s break up message also happened to be gay and not in a committed relationship that could have prevented him from getting handsy with Dallas. It was even more convenient that Dallas’ roommate happened to be both gay and utterly in love with Dallas. And it was beyond convenient that a man who’d been so firmly in self-denial for the first 25 years of his life would not only realize he was gay, but have sex with TWO different men within an hour of this life-altering realization, and then feel so strongly about Austin in return that he is says his “I love yous” before the spooge on his chin even dries.
But honestly, who cares about all of that?!
I say, suspend disbelief and cut the author some slack. This isn’t The Odyssey; Mayne has 50 pages to give readers sweet, sexy, funny, Valentine’s Day romance, and he delivered all of that and more.
Still, I can’t help but feel bad for Josh; poor guy was just trying to help a brotha’ out with his sexuality and he ends up back in the closet with what has to be the cruelest case of blue balls known to man. I guess it just goes to show that no good deed goes unpunished (not even if you’re Cupid)!
“Somewhere there’s a kitten trading his ball of yarn for a fifth of vodka because he knows he’ll never be this cute.”