So much more flavor than expected, and I expected an experience of the highest quality, e.g. Michelin 3-star. This talented author used all the key ingredients for a savory gay romance and then folded in a cup and a half of sometimes harsh, reality. The reality is folded in, so as to not hide the taste of romance yet allow the reader to see, and taste the reality as well, like in the best kind of fruit cake, pardon the pun. I laughed, cried, sighed, held my breath at times. We are reminded that before you can love another, you must first trust and come to know yourself.
Having read this author before, I know that there are always easter eggs, hidden messages/inside jokes/past experiences, within the characters and stories. Recognizing these is so much fun.
The two main characters are both authors. Alexander is a famous and successful author; an out and proud gay man who makes it his mission to live his life and be happy. He’s had his share of loss and traumatic experiences but he refuses to let someone else define him. From the time Alexander met straight contemporary romance author Talon, he has been ‘stuck’ on him even though his attraction isn’t entirely reciprocated. Alexander sees Talon, beyond the obvious, and believes that he is bisexual even though he may not admit or know it yet. ‘Talon was definitely ‘sticky and from the time they met, years back, Talon stuck on Alexander and he was unable to shake him out of his system.’
Talon, on the other hand, is uncomfortable around Alexander and often ignores his calls and messages. His feelings about Alexander are awkward and undefinable. Talon’s success with contemporary romance is dwindling and he decides to try to write gay romance as this is a growing genre. Problem. He isn’t gay and not at all in tune with gay culture. After a feeble attempt, unsuccessful, he calls his long-time colleague, Alexander for advice and the FUN begins. If Talon only knew “all of the nights he danced in ..Alexander’s…dreams”.
I must mention how HILARIOUS this story is at times; break out laughing loudly hysterical. I usually avoid spoilers at all cost but I’ll break my own rule with this one. Remember that Talon is straight and he will tell you so. On his first gay bar experience with Alexander to become immersed in the culture, he went to the restroom at the evening’s end before leaving. Alexander was staying to ‘party’ with friends. When he saw Alexander in a bathroom stall with a go-go dancer, Talon felt something, an undefined emotion. He impulsively and dramatically made certain that the encounter would end by interrupting the apparent hook-up a way guaranteed to stop all erotic activity using words like “CHEAT on me, syphilis, orgy, hooker, bitch, and diarrhea.” Oh, my Lawd!
I probably highlighted more in this book than I every have before because this author’s ingredients are so enticing as he describes the stereotypical gay man, muscular bear or twink, that doesn’t represent “the dreamers, the bookworms, and the wallflowers”. I don’t know if the author actually paints with oil or pastel but he certainly paints with his words.. “the sun is just starting to bruise and explode…..as the sunset dances in his eyes”. There is no need for a canvas to visualize the portrait painted with these words. There is the interesting use of the word friction, both in erotic and perhaps political descriptions. Remaining silent with no ‘friction’ changes nothing, we are reminded.
I rarely reread but this important book deserves another look and perhaps yet another. Highly recommend that you place this on your “TBR – READ NEXT’ list!