Piano Man by Elizabeth Coldwell

From the Never Too Late Collection (also available individually after June 1st)
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piano manBlurb
Approaching fifty, Graham is tired of the gay club scene. He dreams of a venue where he won’t be judged on his age and looks. He and his friend Mike decide to fill the gap in the market by opening the Midnight Lounge, a gay-friendly piano bar in the heart of London’s Soho. After several unsuccessful auditions, Graham finds the perfect pianist for the bar. Adam Turner is young, handsome, and talented, and there’s a spark of attraction between him and Graham, but Graham’s split with his ex has left him feeling old and unattractive. He believes Adam is just stringing him along—a belief that seems validated when Adam kisses him, then claims he’s made a big mistake. Adam wants Graham, but first he’ll have to prove to Graham that age is no barrier to finding love.
It’s always hard to review short stories because they have to do so much in so few words. I know that, in the past, Dreamspinner has had very strict word limits, which can make this even more difficult.  In this case, I think the author spent too much time developing the life that Graham was living post-rejection (he and his buddy design and open a Piano Bar) and way too little time with the interactions between Graham and Adam.

There is some nice sexual tension, a brief moment of connection then angst, then immediate reconciliation which felt really rushed and insincere.

If the story could have been a touch longer or edited more finely to allow for more interaction between the MCs I would have given this a higher rating as the writing and character development were top notch.

2.75 of 5 hearts