Title: Only In His Dreams
Author: Shawn Lane
Publisher: JMS Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M, interracial
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (16K words)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Shy, conservative Darrell Lincoln has worked hard to get his job as billing manager for the law firm of Anderson, Llewellyn, and Stevens. For a conscientious worker like Darrell, the job is perfect except for one thing. He has a big-time crush on one of the partners, Travis Anderson. Darrell thinks a gorgeous, wealthy, hotshot lawyer like Travis would be interested in a guy like him only in his dreams.
Lonely after the death of his longtime partner, Travis isn’t the dashing, smooth playboy Darrell imagines him to be. In reality he’s just as interested in Darrell.
Both men are after the same thing—each other. Their relationship is the stuff of dreams…until Travis meets Darrell’s not-so-welcoming family.
Can Darrell convince Travis he’s still his dream man?
When Darrell Lincoln started working as the financial manager for the law firm of Anderson, Llewellyn, and Stevens he was very proud of what he had achieved in his life so far. He was the first member of his family to finish college and he felt so good about his life he was even considering purchasing a house and moving from his condo, but he had no one with whom to share a home. He hardly went out, hadn’t been on a date in months, and spent most of his time at work. The main reason he loved his job was because when he was there he could catch glimpses of his crush,Travis Anderson, one of the partners . However Travis had never indicated that he was attracted to him and didn’t seem to even know he was alive.
Travis Anderson was a lonely man despite his great looks and all the trappings of his position. Five years ago he had lost his partner and since then he had not had anyone meaningful in his life. He liked prim and proper Darrell and wanted to ask him out on a date but didn’t know if he was gay, and even if he was, whether Darrell was attracted to him.
One evening after work Darrell’s car wouldn’t start and while he was trying to figure out what to do Travis showed up and offered him a ride home. Since it was pouring rain he gladly accepted the ride; one thing led to another and they ended up stopping at a restaurant for a meal. They talked mostly shop over dinner and still didn’t know whether the attraction was mutual. After dropping Darrell at his home Travis felt lonelier and sorry for himself because it was his 35th birthday and none of his friends had even remembered to send him a card.
The next night Darrell worked late and on his way out of the office he realized that Travis was still there. He stopped in to say goodnight and both men remembered that it was Friday night and they didn’t have anything special to do so Darrell invited Travis home for dinner. They shared their personal life stories during the meal and discovered that they were both gay and neither had a significant other. One thing led to another and they ended up in bed, taking a chance since they had nothing to lose. Travis stayed over that night and they had some fun under the sheets. They spent the next day together when Darrell found out about Travis’s birthday and wanted to make it special for him; that evening Travis stayed over again. Two weeks later they were still dating and getting serious about each other when Darrell’s mother invited them to dinner because she wanted to inspect Travis, and that’s when their very tenuous relationship went south as racism reared its ugly head.
I really liked this couple because they were so different in background and personality but had a lot in common. One was white and the other black and their social and financial status was unequal, but in sex they were equal partners. Although Darrell was shy at work, in the bedroom he was aggressive but made every effort to please Travis and they complemented each other. Shawn Lane did a good job painting a picture of their backgrounds and how they got to where they were currently. Darrell’s mother was very traditional and it was clear that although on the surface she pretended to accept her son’s sexual orientation, she would not be happy unless he brought a woman home, someone of his own race. Travis obviously didn’t want to give up Darrell but couldn’t figure out how to handle his mother without rocking the family boat.
Shawn Lane managed to pack a lot into 16K and I think you will like both Travis and Darrell as they try to navigate the waters of a boss/subordinate relationship, becoming lovers, as well as racial prejudice. Other than a minor name switch, I thought Only in His Dreams was well written with three dimensional protagonists and supporting characters. I got the sense that there is another story on the way, that of Barnaby, Travis’s assistant and his law partner, Nathan.