No Rulebook for FlirtingNo Rulebook for Flirting by Laura Bailo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 out of 5 stars

Super adorable and sweet and funny, this novella hit the spot! Aitor and Gabriel have a less than pleasant initial run-in in the parking lot of a board gaming convention. They end up at the same table, and Gabriel works his magical charm to smooth Aitor’s frazzled nerves. They end up connecting over a shared love of board games, and their quirky senses of humor find them going toe to toe in one-upmanship. Nothing like some good old competition to get the all the gooey feels going.

I love that the MCs don’t fit the norm of traditional romance characters. Gabriel isn’t perfect in the sense that he doesn’t have the fit, hard body and spectacular fashion sense. And while Aitor internally voices his concern about Gabriel’s potential response to his own body, he is confident enough to know what he wants and likes, and can give voice to that during an intimate moment with Gabriel. The characters are wholly accepting of the other’s quirks that aren’t necessarily found in this genre.

While I am not trans, I feel the author did an excellent job of addressing the unique circumstances that go along with being trans and hooking up with a potential partner. Gabriel handles his growing connection with and desire for Aitor with respect and sensitivity, checking in the Aitor along the way to ensure no boundaries are crossed. And Aitor takes it all in stride. The sex isn’t awkward and comes across as real and natural.

My only “complaint” (and I use that word hesitantly) is that this story wasn’t longer. I want to know more about Aitor and Gabriel individually, and Judith has her own story worth telling.

Overall, this was a great story for my introduction to this new-to-me author, and I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

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