MLR Press presents: http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=CMNVRWRN
Jeff was raised to believe love between two men is wrong. Or is it? Can love ever be wrong?
When Jeff meets the much younger Dean, he only knows he wants him, consequences be damned. But things are not as easy, especially after Jeff’s ex calls and announces big news.
And Dean? He thinks the new neighbor is hot, but he’s not interested in something more than a rebound fuck. That’s what he tells himself, at least.
But lust isn’t a good basis for a relationship, more so since Jeff isn’t sure whether he can deal with being gay.
Love is never wrong, but can Jeff accept that?
This book is mostly about Dean, not Jeff, despite the blurb. Dean is a young guy who just got dumped by his older boyfriend and moved into an apartment of his own for the first time. In the process of moving in he meets Jeff, a guy 20 years his senior, who lives in the same building. Dean likes older guys and is at first bummed because he thinks Jeff is straight but then psyched when Jeff kisses him.
Jeff is a cop who was in a relationship with Cheryl for 11 years and just recently decided to break up with her because he thinks he’s gay (though he hasn’t had any male relationships yet). He meets Dean and is immediately attracted to him, but thinks he’s too young and Jeff has a hard time committing to the “gay” part of himself.
Dean and Jeff start a “relationship” but warily because Dean is on the re-bound and Jeff is exploring gay sex for the first time and neither are good at communicating with the other. Jeff is also hit with a shocker from his ex-girlfriend (she’s pregnant and it’s probably Jeff’s) that makes him question what he’s doing with his life.
Luckily, the attraction between the two of them is strong enough to try to make a go of it, because Cheryl isn’t done with her shocking news and the couple end with a HEA and a new family.
First, let me say that the writing style of this new (to me) author was good. There were a lot of meaty ideas in this story and it had some great potential. However, there were so many plot difficulties that I couldn’t give this a great rating.
For one, I didn’t feel a lot of “love” between Jeff and Dean, even at the end. They didn’t do much together besides have sex so I didn’t feel great about their relationship. Jeff was worried about their ages but I never saw that issue really resolved. Dean felt Jeff wasn’t really committing to him (Jeff wanted to share in parenthood but was reluctant to even move in with Dean) and that issue was never really resolved either.
Another difficulty I found was that I felt that Jeff’s transition to being gay wasn’t explored very well. I really thought there wasn’t enough introspection or discussion of his previously “straight” categorization and that his wishy washy relationship with Dean wasn’t enough to convince me that Jeff was fully invested in the new lifestyle.
I also thought Jeff’s parents acted very strange, as did Cheryl. I can’t imagine her behaving as she did (both with just wanting to abandon her child and not telling them the ultimate truth about the pregnancy).
I thought the whole child thing was not realistic at all. Both Jeff and Dean were very cavalier about having a baby and seemed to do little to prepare for it and there was no discussion at all about how any child would be taken care of. I also couldn’t understand why Jeff wouldn’t want Dean to move in with him if they were committing to parent Cheryl’s child together.
One last small gripe… the gay “virgin” sex with a younger more experienced guy… it should have been great – lots of stuff to work with in terms of fantasy material – and it ended up being pretty lackluster.
So…though I liked a lot about this story in terms of potential, I don’t think it fulfilled it’s promise.
2.5 of 5 hearts