Rating: 2 stars out of 5
This story is one that was originally written in 2009 and I doubt it’s ever been updated. Tinnean is an author I’ve enjoyed in the past so I jumped at the chance to read this, but I was very disappointed in the writing and in the storyline—almost from the first chapter. The writing is choppy and it felt campy and disrespectful of gay men. In fact, at times I wondered if this was written to be a parody of what a good story should be. And that’s when I investigated and found out when this story was originally written. I strongly suspect that there was no major revision to the original writing and that really shows here.
My first surprise came from Tom Weber, described as a short, but muscular, leather daddy. Out of the blue, he decides he’s going to try bottoming and can’t think of anyone better to ask than his bestie, Jack, a straight man who was married three times, though he’s currently single. Here’s the kicker—Jack immediately agrees. And then—wait for it—once he does it, he starts planning their lives together—how he’s going to fix little things around the place, home improvements he can make, and more. Umm, after one night? And after being straight your whole life? And that’s how the story goes from there on out. Lots of strange reactions, lots of let’s try this, and let’s try that. And never a negative reaction to any of it.
And then the author works back to fill in the story of their friendship over the years, especially during the times of his first marriage when Jack chose his new, Bible-banging wife over his best friend when she put her foot down and wouldn’t allow Tom in their lives. And then we learn about what his life was like and the next two women he married—each time choosing the women over Tom. So, I wondered, why on earth would Tom choose him to be his top? This man abandoned him several times over the course of their supposed friendship. Hmm, not much made sense here, at all.
At this point, I discovered that I wasn’t even at the 50% mark. Tom and Jack are now a couple and are on a vacation and making plans for their future. I really think that should have been the end point of the story. Honestly, it was more than enough for one book. Adding more was overkill. And in those latter pages, we got to see the two domestic partners as they navigated fatherhood and took on even more responsibility by allowing interns and then other “strays” to stay with them as they kept adding on to their new home, and on and on. I finally came to suspect that the author wrote a number of short stories, or even a serial and then strung the stories together into a book. There were some very obvious errors in latter chapters that should have been corrected and weren’t. I’m not happy that a reprint of an older story was presented to readers and that no one read it carefully for errors and inconsistencies.
Suffice it to say I did not like this book. I will be very surprised if my gay friends don’t find it campy and demeaning. Giving it two stars is a stretch and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Cover art features a man in construction gear as the primary focus with a handsome, suited man in the background—thereby including both MCs in the cover art. Though I didn’t find it attractive or impressive, it was certainly better than the previous cover that featured two naked men with their hands covering their crotches.
Published November 25th 2017 by JMS Books LLC (first published May 26th 2009)
Original TitleFriends and Lovers