Title: Emergency, A City Hospital Novel
Author: Drew Zachary
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novel (121 pages, 50K words)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
In this City Hospital novel, EMT Brian is surprised when his good friend, ER doctor Stephen, confesses that not only is his marriage on the rocks, but that he’s bi as well. In fact, Stephen prefers men to women. Brian, who always thought Stephen was cute and hot, but straight, suddenly sees a chance for them to be more than just friends. He doesn’t want to ruin that friendship, though, and he wants to be there for his best friend as Stephen goes through the final collapse of his marriage, so he doesn’t see them getting together any time soon.
When Stephen’s split from his wife becomes official and he needs to find a new place to live, Brian offers his guest room and his desire to keep things on the friendship plane is tested. Not only is Stephen sexy and hot, the man is beginning to explore his desire for men. Brian leaves out gay sex manuals and porn on the coffee table, and offers to answer any questions Stephen might have.
When things come to a head and Stephen and Brian finally jump each other’s bones, will they be able to maintain their friendship? And will their relationship get deeper, or is Brian just a step on Stephen’s sexual journey?
Brian Wilson had been friends with Stephen Guy, an ER doctor, for a couple of years and they shared confidences about their lives whenever they had a break together. One day Stephen confessed that things at home weren’t great and he hadn’t been going home, opting instead to sleep at the hospital. Brian half jokingly offered him his spare bedroom if he ever needed it. Soon after that conversation Stephen and his wife separated and he took Brian up on his offer and moved in. Brian was overjoyed to have his friend living with him but he didn’t want their new living arrangements to affect their friendship, which he valued.
Brian was in a quandary. On the one hand he loved living with Stephen but he had always had the hots for the man and Stephen had once confessed that he didn’t know if he was straight or gay which opened the door. Brian was very much afraid that he would screw up their relationship by coming on to his friend because Stephen made it clear that now that he was separated he wanted to explore his options. On the advice of his EMT partner Dana, Brian bought a collection of gay porn and gay sex manuals so that Stephen could be prepared for when he wanted to check out the action in the bars and clubs, even though he wanted to be his only ‘action’.
This book was another good effort from Drew Zachary. Much of the story was really funny as Stephen learned the ropes about how to navigate being gay and what went where. Brian, being magnanimous, offered to be his wing man but poor Stephen said he wasn’t ready for a wing man since he had so much to learn, so Brian decided to help him with Gay 101 and they watched ‘instructional porn’ 🙂 together. At first it was fun but then things got serious and they tried kissing to see if there were any sparks between them. The sparks were enough to light a bonfire! For Stephen, Brian’s dick was like a new toy and the next step was obvious as Stephen got some hands-on practice. Moving into bed showed him what he had been missing and he was eager to expand his knowledge and expertise in the art of gay loving; every day they tried something new, blowing Stephen’s mind (and everything else) at what he missed by not trying gay sex years ago. What I liked about Stephen’s character was that he was choosing to change his life rather than just reacting to his present circumstances and becoming paralyzed by fear.
The guys were building trust because of the new intimacy in their relationship, but they were both concerned that their friendship remain intact as other feelings took over. Dealing with other issues, such as bringing the tension from the job into their home could become a deal breaker.
Drew Zachary is the writing partnership of Chris Owen and Vic Winter and they have written many wonderful books together. Emergency, A City Hospital Novel, while not as wonderful a read as On Fire, was still good enough for me to be absorbed in the characters and their lives. I thought that this story worked very well because Brian and Stephen were not only compatible in bed but they understood the emotional and physical stresses of being part of a hospital, and the importance of not allowing their jobs to take over their lives. Because this is a Drew Zachary book be prepared for lots of sex in between sorting out the relationship problems of transitioning from friends to lovers. Above all, in addition to the smexxing this is a story about a man moving on from the life he had known all his life to something new and scary and wonderful. All of the characters were well drawn including Dana, Brian’s EMT partner, who was really funny as well as supportive. Recommended.