Title: The Swap
Author: Devon Rhodes
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella 19k words (80 PDF pages)
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Tj
Summary Review: A fun and sexy story about friendship turing into love.
When layoffs hit Jim LaRue’s company, his first concern isn’t for his own job, it’s for his friend and co-worker, Tommy Graves. Tommy’s coming off a bad year, finally made better by the purchase of a new house. Losing his job would mean losing the house, however, and his newfound lease on life. Jim can’t let that happen to the man he’s secretly come to love, so he proposes a swap to his boss—forfeit his own job to save Tommy’s.
Now suddenly out of work, Jim reluctantly accepts a job helping Tommy remodel his house. Having the work is great, but it also chafes Jim’s pride to be employed by his friend, and creates one of several obstacles in their budding romance.
Can Jim and Tommy get past their differences and finally make this swap work in their favor?
Jim and Tommy are friends and coworkers at at a financially troubled company with pending layoffs. When his childhood friend and boss, Keith tells Jim that the staff cuts will include Tommy, Jim is very troubled. Tommy is coming off a killer year, with a nasty divorce that wiped him out both financially and emotionally, his recent recovery marked by the purchase of a house. Jim can’t stomach the thought of Tommy going back in to his funk again, so he forces Keith to lay him off instead. Upon finding out about Jim’s layoff and unaware of the swap, Tommy offers Jim the General Contractor job on the remodeling project at his new home.
This is a well written short story with a clever plot populated by fun and realistic characters. Jim has had a crush on his friend and coworker Tommy for some time. He believes Tommy to be straight since he was, until recently, married, and purportedly quite the stud. Meanwhile Tommy had thought that he was straight until he met Jim at work. Then those darn uncomfortable feelings started that foretold the end to his marriage.
Although a fairly short story, The Swap has a nice pace to it and doesn’t feel rushed. This is partly because when we pick up the story, Jim and Tommy are already good friends and both have been feeling an attraction for the other, that was never acted upon. Secondly, Tommy has been divorced for some time and acknowledges that attraction to Jim since the day that they met. There are also a couple of secondary characters that are more than just window dressing, such as Jim’s friend/boss Keith. I really felt his pain during the layoffs, especially with Jim forcing his own layoff.
Overall if you’re looking for a sweet and sexy romance you should definitely give The Swap a try.