On Call: Afternoon

Title: On Call: Afternoon
Author: P.D. Singer
Publisher: Rocky Ridge Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M contemporary I/R romance
Length: 15 pages
Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

THE BLURB

A doctor doesn’t have much trouble finding partners, but Keith Hoyer, M.D. questions whether people like him, his credentials, or what they think is in his wallet. Since most of the men he’s meeting are patients and therefore off limits, he goes home to his big gray tabby cat, Harpo, and dreams.

Keith’s ready to relinquish care of Dr. Dante James, just as soon as he’s treated the nasty case of cat scratch fever. He’d love to ask Dante out, but first he needs the vet’s professional expertise for the injured Harpo. There might be trouble ahead for them in the form of mismatched expectations and racial differences, but at least Keith doesn’t have to wonder if Dante likes cats.

THE REVIEW

I’ve really enjoyed the longer books I’ve read by P.D. Singer, so when I saw that she’d written a sip I jumped at the opportunity to read it. I wasn’t disappointed.

Dr Keith is a new doctor in a local practice. His first patient of the day is vet Dante, who turns out to be suffering from cat scratch fever. Keith finds Dante very attractive and considers asking him out on a date but isn’t sure that Dante is gay so chickens out at the last minute. Fortunately fate in the form of Keith’s fearsome cat, Harpo, throws them together once more.

In many ways this is the story of the beginning of a relationship and all the awkwardness of that first attraction and the getting to know each other. Then there’s one potential complication in that Dante is black and Keith is white. Neither men mention it during the story, except for one challenging comment by Dante that contains hints of defensiveness, but Keith is aware that interracial relationships can be problematic and it’s a niggling worry at the back of his mind. I really liked this aspect of the story because all too often interracial romance stories either make too much of the differences or pretend that it’s not a problem. In the case of this book the balance was just right. It acknowledged that there is a difference in colour, and therefore experience, between the men, but didn’t allow that to overwhelm the story.

As this is written in the 1st person, we only get Keith’s thoughts, but he is a likeable and sympathetic narrator. Keith strikes me as a very thoughtful and careful man who has been burned by lovers in the past. This makes him cautious, but he’s honest with himself about his physical attraction to Dante which is based on all aspects of Dante from his colour through to the warm and caring way that he deals with the animals in his care. In fact it was the development of Keith’s feelings for Dante which was the highlight of this short for me.

Dante is a bit of an enigma.  He’s a hard working vet and has a compassionate way with the animals that he treats, but there are also hints of past hurts and problems.  There wasn’t time to explore these in such a short book, but these hints allowed some depth to Dante’s character.

The plotting is gentle with the focus very much on the relationship with no action or thrills, unless you count the sexual ones. Instead, the story is focused on the emotional journey and on the build up of the characterisation. I liked this very much and found myself drawn into the life of Keith and Dante as they take those first steps into a relationship.

If you like strong character based short stories, then you can’t go wrong with On Call: Afternoon. I highly recommend it.

14 comments

  • While the interracial aspects are not the same big deal that they were in my younger days, I’m not at all sure that it’s a slam dunk non-issue either. It may not be so important for those looking on, but it will matter to the participants who aren’t coming from similar backgrounds. Kind of a personal experience thing coming out there.

    Thank you for the kind words, and I hope all who read enjoy.

    Reply
    • So PD
      These two short Sips are all you’re going to give us? Shame on you. 🙂

      I just finished the first book – couldn’t wait for the weekend and I’m waiting on Jen’s review to read the next one. 🙂 Not really, I’ll be done both tonight.

      Reply
  • Great review!

    I’m from a rural area in the southern US, where race can still be a big deal. However, at my last family get together I was one of two “pigmentally challenged” attendees (my great-niece’s description), so that tells you my thoughts on the issue. As such I loved seeing these two attracted, not to race, but to a person. The cuddly critters were an added bonus.

    Reply
    • I agree Winn, the race issue wasn’t ignored but the main focus was on the men’s attraction to each other’s mind and personality as well as their bodies.

      Reply
  • Jen
    This is a great review. I love the way that the characters interacted and that race wasn’t a big deal. In Canada there are so many interracial romances I wonder why they are such a big deal elsewhere like the US and Britain. I think this will be another weekend read for me.

    Reply
    • Just to mention Wave there is a second installment to this story called Dancing which Jen may be reviewing as well. Just so you know that it’s out and you can read both at once if you like. The author said on my site that she doesn’t plan anymore in the series with these guys at least for now so people who have been sucked into Sip series and are regretting it *ahem – no comment* don’t have to worry about that. It’s staying as a duet.

      Reply
    • Wave,

      You know, mixed race couples aren’t really a big deal in the UK either in my experience. Although that may vary in different areas, just like anywhere (I say this as someone from a mixed race family).

      No offense to any Americans reading this!

      It’s just that I think Britain in general is a quite liberal country – like Canada – and we have similar attitudes to things like gay rights and race.

      (Hops off soapbox)

      Reply
      • Alexi
        Thanks for letting me know that things in the U.K. have changed. My one and only visit there wasn’t a good experience because of a racist taxi driver and a couple of other unfortunate occurrences. Even in the US South I was treated better. (Hops off my soapbox.) 😀

        However, this little book was a fun read. As Winn said, it was great to see these two attracted not to race but to the person.

        Reply
        • There seems to be some kind of law about taxi drivers – either they’re from an ethnic minority themselves, or they’re a horrible racist. There’s no middle ground. I’ve had a couple of similar experiences in my life, but please don’t let that put you off the UK. We’re normally quite nice, honestly!

          Reply
          • Alexi
            I know tht people from the UK are very nice.:) Many of my close relatives live there and love it.

            Some day I’ll be back and I’ll try to find that bloody taxi driver. 🙂

            Reply

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