A guest review by Buda
Summary Review: Matt and Jared from Promises are back in this highly entertaining, emotional (in a very guy sort of way) short story that is absolutely not to be missed.
A Coda Valentine’s Day Story
Matt Richards has never given much thought to Valentine’s Day, but when his lover of almost three years, Jared Thomas, hints that he feels unappreciated, Matt realizes he needs to do something. He’s determined to make this Valentine’s Day special, but nothing is going to turn out the way Matt plans.
It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and our lovable cop Matt has no idea–until he spies a pink envelope laying on the coffee table. It’s a “Be Mine” card to Jared from one of his students. Matt is instantly jealous–and he knows how ridiculous it is, but he can’t help it. Instead of his usual amusement at Matt’s possessive streak, Jared snaps, “It’s nice to feel appreciated once in a while.” …And we’re off to the races.
Poor Matt. It’s almost three years since he and Jared got together, a year since Matt gave him the ring (a free must-read at author’s website here). But he has no idea what to do for Valentine’s Day, only that he has to do something to prove to Jared that he does appreciate him, does still love him as much as he ever did. A trip to the grocery store convinces him that the traditional flower-and-candy gifts are absolutely out of the question. Completely at a loss, he stops at A to Z Video, the business run by our pals Zach and Angelo. When Angelo catches Matt desperately (and uncomfortably) perusing a display of the usual mushy Valentine’s movie fodder, he tells Matt no.
I sighed and put the box back down. I liked Angelo. He was like a brother to me. Which meant that sometimes I wanted to punch him simply to prove that I could.
Angelo being Angelo, he sets out to prove that Valentine’s Day with two guys is wholly different than it is in the hetero world.
“Look, man, I’ll prove it.” He turned around to call across the store. “Zach?”
Zach looked up from his computer. “What?”
“You know today’s Valentine’s Day?”
Zach stared at us blankly for a second, looking completely shell-shocked. “No.”
“Did you buy me anything?”
Zach’s cheeks actually started to turn red. He didn’t blush often, but Angelo’s question obviously made him uncomfortable. “Um…no.”
“Good. I didn’t get you anything either.”
The relief on Zach’s face was almost laughable. “Thank God,” he said as he turned back to his computer. “Jesus, Ang, don’t scare me like that.”
What follows is a brilliantly funny scene with Ang in full embarrass-the-hell-out-of-Matt mode. Moments later Zach takes pity on the poor guy and suggests a plan for the night. That’s when hilarity commences. I won’t tell you anything about it because that would ruin the joy of the story. Because this is a book about Matt and Jared, don’t be surprised when the story wraps up in a beautifully sentimental (in a guy sort of way) moment.
Matt and Jared are absolutely among my Top 5 favorite couples and this short story cements their place there. As always in Marie Sexton’s books, the characters are strongly drawn and perfectly voiced. It took no time at all to hear Matt’s’ voice in my head, with the memories of the previous books flooding back along with it. This book brought me tears of laughter and good old heart-warming tears of happiness for our boys. Highly recommended. (And, yes, you’ll understand the guy thing by the end.)