Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-389-0
Contemporary Romance, 2009
Garrett Johnson is gay and he’s also one of Hollywood’s hottest upcoming actors of the moment. What, don’t look at me like that. This is fiction, so just play along, okay? So, Garrett is also a bit of a method actor, so in order to conduct some research for his upcoming role, he hangs around the race track, where prejudiced and nasty people give him the middle finger. Because, you know, there are people who would treat a big Hollywood actor like this just because he’s gay instead of running around trying to curry his favor. Just play along and stop trying to compare this story to what you read in the tabloids, will you?
CJ Lamont is the hottest race car driver that Garrett has ever laid eyes on, and conveniently enough, CJ isn’t only a fan but is also gay. The thing is, CJ is currently separating from his wife and Garrett thinks that CJ is straight. CJ is also worried, understandably, that the usual race circuit fans will not cozy up to a gay speed racer. Because there are some bigots in this story, we get to see two hot hunks getting intimate while receiving a dose of Peace, Love, and Tolerance message in the process. Isn’t this great, people?
High Line is a pleasant read and the plus here is that the dialogues aren’t artificial and stilted, which is one problem I have with many of this author’s previous efforts. Both men are likable enough, although they are hardly anything I have never read before in gay romances. The romance is pretty uninteresting because it is presented as yet another love at first sight thing, perfect as it is without the characters needing to grow in the process. Still, it is a readable story.
I’m just not sure why we need such a heavy affirmative action message here, because the presence of the preachy soapbox elements have me wondering whether the readers of this story need to be lectured that heavily about such matters. Yes, the plot revolves around CJ and the consequences of him coming out of the closet, but yikes, talk about hammering the message here. I’d rather have the author channel her enthusiasm into her characters and their romance rather than preaching to the choir – Garrett and CJ are very shallow and superficial poster boys for affirmative action, and it really shows here.
Apart from the fact that it’s simultaneously preachy and superficial, High Line is a decent enough read if you like your pretty boys to be snogging while not wandering too far from the formula.