Taboo Desires
by Amanda Young, contemporary (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-59998-594-2

Cole Winchester - not related in any way to a pair of spook-busting brothers on TV, I'm sure - is not the happiest man around the place. His girlfriend Karen is down on his behind for not marrying her despite being in a relationship with her for two years. He doesn't dare to tell her that he is attracted to men.

Karen marched across the dining room, a glass pan full of steaming broccoli casserole between her oven-mitt-covered hands. "Thatís the dumbest thing Iíve ever heard. People get married every day without all the fancy trimmings." She punctuated her statement by slamming the dish down in the middle of the table and trudged over to her seat.

Cole watched as she bit into the rosy flesh of her lower lip, noting the way her skin turned pale around the edges of small, pearly white teeth. The action reminded him more of something a petulant teenager would do than a mature woman nearing thirty.

Where had the sweet woman heíd started dating gone in the last month? Marriage had become some kind of worry stone that shoved them further and further apart instead of bringing them closer together like it was meant to. The woman was obsessed. He didn't see what the big deal was. After all, it was only a piece of paper.

Taboo Desires sees Cole literally bumping into his old friend's younger brother Eric Radcliff at the beach. Eric, who must have read too many contemporary romances, is naturally ga-ga over Cole. They have sex, they get caught by Karen, and Cole decides that he really should toss Karen over for Eric. The end.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am hoping that Karen will kick Cole in the balls so hard that he will need a catheter to complete the deed with Eric for the next few weeks. Cole strings Karen for two years, whine and moan that she's being irrational for wanting him to commit, and then decide, after a romp with Eric, that he's going to be openly gay? And then he has the nerve to be annoyed when Karen assumes that he is seeing Eric all this while. I suppose she should be pleased by the fact that Cole was faithful to her all the while until that moment when he decided to sleep with Eric because "a little bit" unfaithful allows him to go on his high horse, as if being a conflicted closeted homosexual excuses everything he does in his life.

Taboo Desires is more of a boo-boo kind of desire in my opinion as it is an otherwise forgettable short story plagued with an unfortunate tendency by the author to use the "I'm gay!" thing as a short hand to excuse the hero's behavior in this story.

Rating: 51

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