A guest review by Jenre
A fitting finale for Dante and Keith which manages to combine sweet romance with a story which looks at some of the problems faced by gay teens.
This Sip is part of Torquere Books’ Charity Sip Blitz and all proceeds from the sale of this Sip goes to the charity Doctors Without Borders.
Dr. Keith Hoyer has lost patients before but never like this, not at sixteen and not by intent. Certain that he could have prevented the tragedy with some word or deed that he left unsaid or undone, Keith is desperate for a way to redeem his failure.
If he’s going to practice medicine in a Third World country, Keith’s lover, veterinarian Dante James says, he needs time to sell the practice and brush up on diseases of goats. “Whither thou goest, I go,” Dante tells Keith, but where will those words take
I’ve followed Keith and Dante from their first meeting in On Call: Afternoon to cementing their relationship in On Call: Dancing. The third, and probably final, story featuring these two wonderful men, begins with a funeral of a 16 year old boy, one of Keith’s patients who had come out to him a short time ago. Keith feels that the death wasn’t wholly an accident and as such wishes that he’d had more of an opportunity to speak to the boy and show him that his feelings for men were not sinful. The incident leads to both men facing up to themselves and their commitment to each other, as well as deciding what the future holds.
One of the things I liked about this story is the way it managed to weave the two strands of plot together. Keith’s guilt over the death of the boy, and his frustrations with some of the members of the small town, spills over into his relationship with Dante. Once again, it’s Dante who supports Keith through this time and forces him to face up to some truths about their relationship. As such, this is mostly Keith’s story, but Dante is still a strong presence. There were several touching scenes, both romantic and dramatic between the couple, but running throughout the whole story was the powerful love that both men feel for each other. For me, this was one of the best parts of the book. It may have got a little too sweet towards the end, but I forgave that when I liked both men so much and desperately wanted to see them happy.
The theme of the problems for gay teens was always in the background of the story as Keith and Dante dwell on their own teenage years and the difficulties they faced. However, it never overpowered the romance but rather added a bittersweet note which complemented the main romantic plot. I also liked how the title fitted in well with the themes of the book, of choosing a path, or choosing to get off the path; of making a decision and forging ahead into the future. At several points in the story the characters reach a crossroads and then make a choice, and I found this link to the title quite pleasing.
In the end I was sad to leave Dante and Keith, but the story ends on a note of hopefulness and a lot of love, so I gained a certain amount of satisfaction in waving them both off into their HEA. On Call: Crossroads is full of the great writing and characterisation I’ve come to love in P.D. Singer’s books and is an absolute must for fans of Keith and Dante. Although it can be read as a stand-a-lone, readers will get most emotional benefit from the story if you’ve read the previous two sips.