Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The story starts with Marcus going back to where he’s from to film a movie. He has the chance to visit the taekwondo academy where he spent five formative years, from age 10 to 15. Back then, his crush was the son of the owner, Taemin, who became an instructor, training to take over the family business. Meeting Taemin again and getting to know him as an adult and equal, shows Marcus everything he wants in a partner. Taemin takes a bit longer to realize what he is feeling, that it’s ok to feel this way, and that Marcus is someone he wants in his life as more than a friend.
There is smart writing on the author’s part in the use of all the side characters. Preeti, a former student and now instructor, gives them a buffer and shows that they are adults now–that Preeti and Taemin are friends and colleagues, especially with Preeti being younger than Marcus. Mr. Avi is the father figure, even though he is Taemin’s employee. Marcus’s assistant, Billy, is not just an employee, but also a supportive friend. When you spend as much time at work as these two do, their whole world is really their colleagues and people they meet through work. A huge amount of this book is the day to day details about Marcus and Taemin while they are at work, doing what they love.
With Taemin’s work ethic, his schedule is grueling. He teaches almost every day and is training for the Olympic qualification tournament on top of his charitable work. This is a habit, but may also be a way to stave off the loneliness of down time. Marcus’s life as an actor, doing most of his own stunts, is also full of training, publicity, and requires travel. There are no surprises about the travails this couple will face. There is no manufactured angst–just the real work of making it through their first disagreement. This is a realistic view of two men falling in love who must work out a way to integrate their lives together. It is a solid, well crafted romance about strong, masculine men who are confident about who they are. The love scenes are beautiful without being salacious. That the author captures that feeling of butterflies in your stomach, of wonder that the person you want, wants you back, is satisfying. It is the length, that the reader really gets to know who these men are, that elevates this above most romances.
The cover art is by Kanaxa and shows both characters as I pictured them.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
ebook, 193 pages
Expected publication: May 28th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language English