William Harris is a reserved man, private and guarded. He has no one to go home to. He’s never found a man worth sticking around for. He’s never been in love. And he’s convinced he’s happy with his lone-wolf life.
Nate Kelly is William’s opposite, social and easy going. He comes into William’s life as the elegant geisha Momo. When William realizes Momo is a man in drag, he’s captivated.
From their first date, William’s world changes. Nate is nothing like his usual type. And William soon finds out being with this carefree man means always being on display and attracting attention, which makes him want to retreat. He tries to keep Nate at arm’s length, but it’s no use. Nate’s transformed his life in a matter of months and keeps drawing him back in.
If they stand a chance, William has to be comfortable standing next to someone so at home in the limelight. Their future together and William’s happiness depend on it. Is Nate the man finally worth giving up William’s solitary existence? Is he worth sticking around for?
*Extensively reworked from the short story, The Measure of a Man.
Labyrinth Bound Press
95 e-book pages
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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The synopsis, y’all — lots of nuggets in there made me hopeful. The reserved guy (with locks!) brought out of his shell. A man in Geisha drag plus Japanese tea ceremonies. Falling in love with someone totally opposite from a pattern of attraction. That this started as a short-story (I didn’t read) but the author felt a need to expand and re-work because the characters deserved more.
Plenty there to get me excited.
Alas, it didn’t work for me.
I think it’s due, in part, to a linear narration from a single, first-person point of view. Single, first-person wasn’t necessarily the problem, though the linear, relatively uninspired prose was when I could see so much potential for more. I kept hoping for the magic to happen, and it just…didn’t.
Instead, there’s lots of telling that barely scratched the surface in character development. I wanted to love these characters, angst for them, hope for them, desperately need for them to be together. Turns out I just sort of liked them in a general sense that was probably inflated in my imagination.
William, our star narrator, is reserved. He tells us some key things about himself — that he’s two very different people between his professional work self (closeted) and who he is in his downtime (mostly not closeted). He tells us what kind of men he’s typically attracted to (macho jocks)— and who he’s not (femme guys, guys in drag). He angsts a good bit over his attraction to Momo/Nate, the part-time drag Geisha who is somewhat flamboyant, very much unapologetic, and not about to hide.
All his angst over what other people would think of Nate drove me up the wall. He made Nate work for it, testing him, at every single turn with generic acquaintances, friends, family, co-workers. He continually expected Nate to fail by letting him down or embarrassing him. If Nate didn’t let him down, then he expected disapproval from everyone else.
This made me feel for Nate, made me want to reach into my Kindle and give him a hug and a talking to and try to steer him in another direction. And I could never figure out why Nate kept jumping through all the hoops — mainly because there just wasn’t enough of Nate to clue me in.
One thing I liked was the simmering slow-burn. These guys took their time, and I dug that. But, so many moments of intimacy that had immense potential were glossed over. Then, when they finally got down to the bizness — well, I’m gonna use the word uninspired again along with the word technical.
In theory, this story was a treasure trove of story-time gems. Unfortunately, the execution fell flat.
Advance Review Copy generously provided by the author via Signal Boost PR.
About the Author:
Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is a Jill of all trades and master of the drill and paintbrush. She’s married to a partner who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep during her writing frenzies. Her daughter, a budding author and cinematographer, helps her come up with character names. For fun, Posy enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make regular life more interesting.