Loose Id, $6.99, ISBN 978-159632-772-6
Contemporary Erotica, 2008
This review originally appeared on The Naughty Bits, which is sadly no longer around. It’s now here with Teddypig’s permission.
Yeah, I think it was right… about… here… Page 29
Helplessly, Matt sat on the edge of the bed, tentatively reached for Evan’s shoulder again.
Stroked his arm. It was like his dream.
“Don’t leave me okay? I can’t… I can’t do this anymore,” Evan babbled. “I can’t sleep. When I sleep I remember how much blood there was. She’s there and I see the blood.”
“Easy. I’ll stay right here. Don’t worry.”
His hand moved rhythmically up and down. Up and down.
“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…” Now he was crying.
Matt moved up Evan’s arm to his shoulder. To the back of his head. Thank God it was dark because he didn’t want to see what he was doing. He just wanted to pretend this was a dream.
Matt touched his hair, soft under his fingers. The sobs slowed down to deep, wet breaths. He squeezed the back of Evan’s neck softly, sweeping his thumb against the skin. Heard the sigh that Evan made, which sent a hot thrill through Matt’s body.
This wasn’t a dream. Matt’s hand stilled. Oh God. This was going too far. Matt pulled away and the silence swallowed him up. He waited one beat, two. Ten.
“Thanks, Matt.” Evan’s voice came through the darkness. It sounded like a death rattle. “I’m just so fucking tired. I want to go to sleep.”
OK, I have had it making proclamations about stopping the persistent use of “gay for you” and “angst for angst’s sake” clichés in contemporary gay romance stories so for today. Teddypig is ignoring that low hanging fruit that provides such easy fodder and taking you on a special journey inside his mind. I want you to, in some small way, share what twisted things I am thinking when I read books like this.
So let’s leave Matt playing the part of Matt and you gentle reader take Evan’s place in this story.
Evan, you are having a nightmare right so Matt comes running into your bedroom at night in the dark and climbs on the bed…
Oops, stop right there. Matt is supposed to be straight and male and so are you, so why would Matt not just simply turn the light on to see what is going on and yell at Evan to wake up and go back to sleep? I mean that is how straight guys usually act you know: stand offish and respecting another guys “space” and all that “straight dude” type behavior.
Anyway, so Evan, you are having a nightmare and Matt, who has been secretly dreaming about doing you, runs into your dark bedroom and climbs on the bed and starts absentmindedly giving you a comforting back rub…
Oops, stop right there. When did straight guys start just absentmindedly giving each other comforting back rubs… Never mind!
Anyway, so Evan, you start enjoying the comforting back rub and tell Matt not only “not to leave” but how much “you are enjoying the comforting back rub”.
Then Matt stops what he’s doing and rolls over and goes to sleep…
Feel sorta rejected there, Evan? Feel a little… oh I don’t know frustrated maybe in some way? I mean you just verbally came right out and told the guy to go ahead and jump your bones and he rolls the hell over.
So Evan, here is my question to you. Would you then run to work the next day leaving your kids with Matt, the straight guy back rub specialist, and have a huge teenage girl type heart to heart with your straight partner of the opposite gender about this “person” who wants to jump your bones and how you are not sure if you are ready for commitment etc etc etc?
When that dude last night obviously sexually rejected you?
Sound sorta desperate and maybe delusional? Not to mention READY FOR COMMITMENT? WTF?
Next Evan, you run home and make a rather obvious pass at Matt while in the kitchen making sure he knows you want him to stick around and HAVE SEX later, and after the kids fall asleep you two “straight guys” start kissing but then you get all overly dramatic with denial and you end up kicking Matt to the curb because it’s just too much.
Like some cock teasing fucking diva. That’s how straight you are!
Sound sorta selfish and mentally unstable so far? I hope so!
I am not even bringing up the uber rare double “gay for you” cliché-o-rama Tere insists on writing here or the persistent “angst for angst’s sake” or the constant “hurt and comfort” issues Evan seems to be facing, starting with the dead wife and then the childhood abuse and the “momma never loved me” and then the shooting and the child custody concerns and on and on and on.
I am staying away from all that “easy stuff” and simply focusing on the super simple emotional logic and character motivations that are supposed to make the romance work in the story that make NO FRIGGING SENSE.
I know this book got a ton of good reviews and well sorry, I have not even finished it yet. I might never get around to it after Evan kicked Matt out of the house for the second time.
At some point if the writer cannot even sell me the simple traditional romance at the heart of it all, is it really worth ignoring the rest of the sad clichés stinking up the place in a bad CSI New York/Law & Order fanfiction-type way?