by Bonnie Dee, contemporary (2008)
Loose Id, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-650-7
Undeniable Magnetism is Bonnie Dee's first gay romance and I must say, she seems to have pull all stops when it comes to this one. There are mentions of those magazines Men and Out, wrestling fun, armpit licking, bar backroom quickies, finger works, and, oh yes, he swallows, if you must know. Still, this one isn't half bad at all.
The story is pretty straightforward. Jay Moran, a happy-go-lucky bar owner, believes in love at first sight. At the very least, he has a good feeling about Simon Chase, who walks into his bar one evening. They have a quickie in the back room and both would like to find out whether there can be anything more that can come out of their initial quick shag. However, Simon is from an upper-class African-American family whom he believes will not appreciate discovering that he is gay. Then there are the differences in their lifestyles, what with Simon being born with a silver spoon in his mouth while Jay is definitely and solidly right in the middle of, er, the middle class of society.
I'm initially worried that this book will turn out as sweet as treacle and I will end up getting cavities from reading it, especially when I read the dedication of this book, heh, but to my relief, this one turns out to be far from nauseatingly sentimental. What I really like about this story is how Ms Dee manages to show me how the two men manage to develop something deeper beyond their initial burst of lust. I also like how the two men are shown to be good for each other. For example, meeting Jay's pretty big family and seeing how they deal with his sexual orientation help him get a bigger and clearer idea on how to deal with his own family. I also appreciate how Ms Dee doesn't force an unrealistic sentimental happy ending that panders to feel-good political correctness at the expense of realism. Simon's father reacts to his coming out in a pretty real manner, for example, instead of instant hugs, Full House style.
What makes Undeniable Magnetism work very well for me is the nice balance between the erotic elements and the more gentle romantic elements that take place between the two men outside the bedroom. Sometimes the two mean speak in ways that I feel come off more like how women imagine men would talk rather than how men really talk in real life, if I am making sense here, but I find the romance between them depicted tenderly and convincingly enough.
I like this one, I really do.
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