Games are the most elevated form of investigation. – Albert Einstein
Jacob is in a bind. His roommate Stephanie has moved out on him unexpectedly, leaving Jacob scrambling to find someone to replace her half of the rent. His best option for success on the university campus is to hang adverts on the community bulletin boards, soliciting for interest.
Being sure to include the caveat that any interested parties must be gay-friendly was a matter of practicality on Jacob’s part—full disclosure, you know—but when he returns to the message board in the cafeteria only to discover his ad has been taken down, and, in fact, discovers that all twenty of his flyers have disappeared, the one conclusion he jumps to is that someone is being a homophobic prick. That’s when Jacob decides to leave a reply of a personal nature on the board, addressed to the certain someone who’s trying to sabotage his efforts.
And that is when the fun begins.
Jacob starts a very public correspondence with Mr. X on that message board, at first in angry tones but then becoming exceedingly curious as to whom the man is that loves to play at these back-and-forth mind games. There are three parties interested in renting the room Jacob has to offer: Daniel, the philosopher; Zane, the hunk; and Jem, the shy guy. One of them is Mr. X, but he’s not leaving Jacob many clues to work with to discover his true identity.
Note after note, exchange after exchange with Mr. X not only increases Jacob’s curiosity about his mystery man but also sets off a desire in Jacob that feels a lot like he could fall in love with the person who is enjoying this cat-and-mouse affair. Three potential suspects, not to mention one ex who is holding on to a shred of hope that he might become a part of Jacob’s life again, develops all sorts of unexpected complications for the man who only wanted to find the right someone to share expenses with. Now it looks like he might be on the right track to finding someone to share so much more.
Now, I’m not one to assume but if I had to guess, I’d say Anyta Sunday might’ve had a little bit of fun herself, writing this story. It sure feels like it, at least. The Curiosity X-Games kept me guessing almost to the very end, although maybe the best part of it all was knowing who I wanted to win and then racing to the finish line to see if my man would come in first place. He did, by the way, so bonus for me. But, I’d also have to say that tied for the best part is the fact I got to play along. I imagine if I’d been a student at the university, I’d have been far more interested in those exchanges than would have been considered polite, but being the voyeuristic reader is half the fun of the reading, now, isn’t it?
There’s a tinge of the bitter blended into the sweetness of this story, just enough to give it a layered flavor, but not so much as to overpower the romance that slowly blossoms between Jacob and his secret admirer.
If you’re looking for something just a little bit different than your average boy-meets-boy/boy-loses-boy/boy-finds-boy happily ever after story, this is one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. It’s not particularly long, but it is particularly delightful.
Reviewed by: Lisa