The Story ~
Note: I read this as a stand-alone title although it is part of the Sex in Seattle Series. Published by Dreamspinner Press 6/30/14
Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it’s cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his spare time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.
James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of eighteen, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by twenty-eight, he’s lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.
Michael and James are made for each other. But they must let go of stubbornness to see that life finds a way and love has no limitations.
My sincere appreciation to Dreamspinner Press for holding an anniversary sale as this author was previously unknown to me! This entirely wonderful story is unique and unlike anything I can remember reading before. I don’t necessarily think that the title is apropos but a title to capture everything that this story is, simply escapes me.
Sweet and tender, sometimes sad and other times emotionally filling with sexual tension throughout but it is NOT a story based on sex. This author introduces us to complete characters with complex personality. Secondary characters are distinctly important to the story and some likable, others not so much.
Michael is a young male nurse, brought up by his mother who worked in a care facility. Because he was such a small person and not good at sports he was bullied and spent most of his time after school, at his mother’s work, reading. Through the course of teen years, especially, he came to define himself and his worth by what he could do for others. He especially enjoyed science fiction by an author called J.C. Guise and since this author included characters with disability in his science fiction stories, Michael’s focus on a career in nursing and work with people who needed him became even stronger. Michael knew at an early age that he was gay and was hopeful to find the one person for him but he was also a sexual being and recognized the importance of human touch and desire. Michael is the empathetic young man that we wish our son to be. He cares so much about people and wants that one person who cares that way about him. His deeply caring nature led to his certification and employment as a sexual surrogate to help others enjoy everything that life has to offer.
Michael’s favorite author and teen crush was, in fact, James Gallway, a reclusive young man only 2-3 years older than Michael who, unknown to Michael, lived in the same city. James became disabled at the age of 6 and determined to be independent and more than that, not depend on anyone. His determination was based on abandonment at a young age and other early experiences that shaped his self-concept. James might have had thin and disabled legs but he had learned to be strong. His experiences with gawkers added to his body shame about his thin useless legs and he limited his human contact to his publicist, the people at the pool and a small group of author friends. His life was very structured and he his writing was suffering as a result of his isolation and loneliness. James has a limited capacity to trust and has learned that there are few people in his world deserving of his trust.
When Michael met his favorite author J.C at a book signing he was surprised when he saw the wheelchair but it answered so many questions about the reasons for his seclusion. James didn’t see the infirmity. He saw the attractive man with broad shoulders, tall and rangy and he desperately wanted to know him. James who is an introvert just wanted to go home although there was a part of him that couldn’t forget the handsome young man from the signing. When Michael appeared at the exercise pool, James was in a panic because he was not prepared to be seen. His want was overcome by his body shame. What the young author didn’t appreciate was the depth of James desire to know him.
Without regurgitating the story, know that the getting-to-know-you period was limited by secrets on the part of both men until James’ “need for human contact finally burned brighter than his self-consciousness”.
This is a crazy-good story with exceptional writing by a truly talented storyteller.