Instead of giving your friend that bottle of raspberry vodka that you got him for his birthday you find yourself using it to hold your own party.
Life's taken a distinct sideways turn since Alfie's day started and somewhere between buying his best mate Jam a bottle of birthday cheer and almost getting to his house Alfie's decided that losing what for him was his dream job and arriving at his friends place he needed to hold his own party...only it's not a birthday party...it's a pity party.
Jam's younger brother, Benji is on his way to the party when he finds Alfie sitting on a park bench in the middle of consuming Jam's birthday gift and contrary to what Alfie says he wants Benji's determined to stay with or take Alfie with him to the party but what he's not going to do is leave Alfie sitting alone and half drunk on a park bench.
It's been a long time since I've read a book by this author so when this story came across my radar I didn't even really check out the blurb I saw the author's name and said 'yes please' something that I very rarely do but in this case it turned out to be a good idea.
"Everybody in the Palace" is a short story that first appeared in the charity anthology "Hot Summer Nights" and is now being released on it's own as a standalone story.
At well under 100 pages this is definitely a quick read but it's also an absolutely sweet and delightful way to fill a bit of time. I liked Alfie and as the story progresses we find out a bit about him...we learn that he's got a bit of an issue when it comes to commitment mainly because of his parent's relationship, we learn that while Jam's his best friend it's really Benji who holds his heart but there's that sticky issue of commitment that makes him keep his feelings hidden, we also learn that his professional life's not going to well at the moment...hence the pity party.
Then there's Jam's younger brother, Benji...we can't say little brother because it seems that Benji's all grown up and in all the right ways. Benji's and Alfie have a definite history and it's filled with a lot of sweet memories that the reader gets a glimpse of through both Benji and Alfie's eyes. For me Benji really was the star of this story. I just adored him. He's sweet and kind and for the most part he wears his heart on his sleeve where Alfie's concerned.
It's been about a year since Alfie's had any real contact with his friends, including Benji and while his friends miss him, it's been Benji who's felt his absence the most. Throughout the evening as Jam and his friends celebrate his birthday we follow Alfie as he reconnects with is friends but most of all with Benji. Sweet, sexy, adorable Benji who just seems to know what Alfie needs and who more than anything wants to fill those needs. From the before he arrives to the moment he leaves Benji is there for him.
The only thing that kept this from being a 5 star read for me was ...you guessed it...more! I would have really loved more about Alfie and Benji as their relationship continues and after they've become a solidly established couple...so here's hoping that the author will someday give me more.
Unlike my previous reading experiences with this author my tissue supply was safe and while there were no tears to be had here, that doesn't mean the story was short on feelz. "Everyone in the Place" was a short, sweet, feel good story about two men reconnecting and finding not just friendship but love.
A copy of "Everybody in the Place" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.