Loose Id, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-642-2
Contemporary Romance, 2008 (Reissue)
Like the authors’ previous Loose Id releases, Nick of Time is part of the Romentics line and has been previously self-published but I am not sure whether the authors have done any revision to this current edition.
The guy was a massive stud. A walking pornographic fantasy – shirtless, lean, his chest carved from stone. He wore a pair of baggy carpenter jeans belted by a loose knot of rope slung low on his waist. He straddled one end of a stone wall at the edge of an open meadow, one boot on either side.
His shoulders bulged as he hefted a massive boulder, each muscle defined like an amateur anatomy lesson. The pants hung low enough that Brent could see that even his butt muscles bulged with the effort.
His face was streaming sweat and deliciously filthy. He had full lips, a square face and defined jaw, and a butt-chin. His hair was neatly cropped close to his head, but full and dark.
Oh my goodness, poor Nick sounds like a Tom of Finland parody. A hot-sounding parody though, I must concede.
Meet Brent Sawyer. Yeah, since Nick has already used up every slot of the “straight-acting muscular blue-collar jock” space in this story, Brent is predictably the whiny and emotionally needy pretty big city boy who once dreamed of being a professional dancer. A knee injury put a hold to his dreams of getting into the current season of So You Think You Can Dance and forced him to return to his mother’s place in Sanbornton at the opening of this story. He never expects to see a walking Tom of Finland gallery of one in his sleepy hometown.
Nick, on the other hand, has been burned by an unfaithful boyfriend so he’s now going to marry a woman for the, er, companionship and intellectual stimulation. In other words, Nick is now a bitter romance heroine on steroids, ugh. Will he and Brent ever get together?
I was worried, initially, that Nick would turn out to be insufferably judgmental, Brent whiny, and Una whom Nick wants to marry will turn out to be a psycho so that she can be conveniently removed in a hail of blood and gore so that Nick and Brent can happily play hide-the-sausage (with Nick being the top – how predictable, sigh) without any more obstacle standing between them. Fortunately for me, this one turns out to be so much more than a story that relies on tired clichés. I’m surprised by how much I actually like Brent as he turns out to be a pretty real good-natured fellow instead of a pretty boy stereotype. Nick is still quite boring for a straight-acting top stereotype but he is smart enough to stop fighting and just take off his pants.
There are plenty of emotional bonding here as well as physical bonding, with the added bonus of such emotional scenes still allowing these guys to come off like guys, instead of crying little girls pretending to be boys. Another plus is how the female secondary characters in this story are allowed to be happy people instead of unnaturally eager matchmaking faghags or insanely jealous bitches the way most female characters turn out to be in way too many gay romances.
Nick of Time is therefore a pleasant and most readable story. It’s not the most exciting story around, but it will more than suffice when it comes to entertaining me.