David has spent two years grieving for the loss of his partner to cancer. When he decides to move on, he visits a gay bar for the sole purpose of hooking up with someone—in spite of his concerns that as he’s in his mid-forties, he might be too old. There he meets Jeff, a young barman, and after dancing and making out with other men, he realizes that Jeff is in fact the one he wants to take home most of all.
During his explosive evening with Jeff, David discovers a side of himself that he never knew existed. But, when the morning comes, can he persuade Jeff that their relationship may develop into more than a simple one-night stand?
It must be awful to be an older single gay man just trying to make a comeback to the scene after being with a partner for 13 years. All David wants is to hook up with someone for human companionship and a bit of sex. No promises of an ongoing relationship, just one night, so that he wouldn’t feel so alone. His partner had died and two years of grieving had made him desperate to be in the arms of someone, anyone, so he went to a gay bar where it took him almost 30 minutes to walk through the doors. He thought that perhaps the doorman might not let him in because he was ” too old, not good looking enough, not the sort of clientele they wanted. It could be anything”.
After he entered the bar he had a few drinks and danced a bit, but at 45 years old there were not that many opportunities to make his pitch. He kept coming back to the bartender as his choice for someone to go home with, but he was obviously in his twenties and surely would not be interested in someone old enough to be his father. His biggest fear was that at the end of the evening he would be the only man without a partner.
When he found the courage to ask the bartender, Jeff, to hook up he was surprised and pleased that he agreed. Jeff took David to his apartment and David placed himself in his hands by telling him that he was tired of always being in control. During his partner’s final illness he had had to make all of the important decisions and he wanted to be relieved of any responsibility during sex. Jeff took him at his word and tied his arms to the bedframe. David could not remember the last time he was this excited, and what followed was his best sexual experience in a long time.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and a one night stand is just that, one night. But David wanted more. He wanted to see Jeff in the future however, he realized that connecting again was probably not in the cards because of the twenty year age difference.
When I finished this book my first reaction was a feeling of pity for the character. He was so vulnerable and needy. He recognized that most of the sex he would be having in the future would probably be of the one handed variety because, although 45 was not old, he was much older than the men who frequented the gay bars by at least 10 years and the competition would place him at a disadvantage. His character was fully three dimensional and his pain at the changes that had taken place in his life was quite evident. Clearly he wanted to move on with his life because he was not prepared to curl up and die, so he chose the courageous route and put himself out there even though he could end up being embarrassed and hurt. Anne Brooke did a good job of both David’s and Jeff’s characterizations and did not end the story in fantasyland.
I recommend Give and Take if you want to read a short story that will give you a different picture of the life of an older gay man than the romanticised swinging bachelor portrayed in most of the M/M books currently available . I would categorize this book as gay fiction rather than an M/M romance