Sunday, July 29, 2012

More romance, who'd have thought?

And, my newly discovered interest in romance and erotic fiction continues in this post – this time looking at two upcoming gay romance/erotica titles.  Neither of which, it turns out, were at all what I expected (to be fair, I don’t know what I was expecting exactly), but both of which I enjoyed very much.

Vaughn, Piper & O'Shea, M. J.  "One Small Thing."  Dreamspinner Press, 2012.

First, “One Small Thing” by Piper Vaughn and M. J. O’Shea.  In this delightful romance, club boy and aspiring hair stylist Rue meets sci-fi writer and socially awkward hermit Erik under desperate circumstances – Rue urgently needs to find a sitter for Alice, the newborn daughter he has acquired through an ill-conceived one-night-stand with a female acquaintance.  Erik, in need of money to bolster his diminishing book royalties, agrees to be Alice’s daytime caregiver, and this unlikely arrangement soon leads to the formation of an unorthodox but wonderfully perfect family for this odd couple.  Vaughn and O’Shea craft delightful characters, who despite their perhaps stereotypical outlines, are nevertheless fleshed out into individuals who are more and deeper than they appear and about whom the reader cannot help caring and cheering for as they find their way toward happily ever after.  Even the supporting characters, like Rue’s flamboyant friend Dusty, are interesting and developed, giving the story some unexpected richness and depth though an surprising yet affecting subplot.  The novel does not shy away from the intimacies in Rue and Erik’s relationship, indeed the novel’s sex scenes are both sweet and titillating, but they are never gratuitous but instead seem to flow naturally as part of the relationship’s (and the story’s) evolution.  Sweet, hot, and almost ridiculously romantic in sports, “One Small Thing” is a deliciously fun read for anyone (male or female, gay or straight) looking for romance outside the normal paperback box.

Lane, Amy & Voinov, Aleksandr.  "Country Mouse."  RipTide Publishing, 2012.

The second story for this post is a novella, “Country Mouse” by Amy Lane and Aleksandr Voinov.  Lane and Voinov use the novella form extremely well, giving the reader a perfect combination of story and sex to make this a fun and interesting escapist read.  The plot summary seems designed to draw the reader seeking erotic fantasy – young American in London for the first time meets a dangerous and masterful Brit seeking a night of masterful exploration, but Lane and Voinov take the story far beyond stereotype with characters who are more than they first appear.  Owen and Malcolm, and the reader, get far more than they expected in this brief yet compelling exploration of identity, relationships, and expectations.  Deliciously-detailed sexual encounters share page time with a brief tour of tourist London, and the city herself becomes a metaphor for this burgeoning relationship.  Can one weekend encounter really change your life?  Maybe, maybe not.  But one short novella can, if crafted by gifted storytellers, change your reading expectations for erotic fiction.

ARCs received through NetGalley.

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