Summary Review: A realistic gay for you romance that made even a skeptic like me who does not like this theme, believe.
The boys of Woodland Village are back. This time it’s Drew’s brother, Ryan Adams, that’s going through a crisis of doubt. He’s always been the guy who breezed through relationships, never getting serious with the women he dates. He doesn’t know why, but one-night stands and pretty women don’t seem to give him that buzz that it once did.
Then one night, at his brother’s barbecue, he encounters Drew’s assistant, Martin Pierson. Martin is hired to design Ryan’s new building for his gaming company – Fantasy Arts. As they spend time together in and out of the office, their working relationship grows into friendship. But can they cross the barrier into love?
Woodland Village Series
I first met Ryan and Martin in Blue Skye reviewed here.
Ryan was a player. He had never had a serious relationship and his motto was love ’em and leave ’em. He was straight but very supportive of his brother Drew who had recently come out of the closet with great difficulty because he had spent his entire life seeking his homophobic father’s approval, even going so far as marrying a woman although he knew he was gay. When Ryan told Drew that he wanted him to design the new complex for his company headquarters Drew suggested that he hire Martin, his assistant, for the job. Ryan wasn’t sure if Martin was capable of conceptualizing and managing such a large project, however he went along with the idea and was very happy he did as Martin’s skill as an architect far exceeded his expectations.
As the project proceeded and they spent more and more time together Ryan realized that their ideas were so in sync they were almost reading each other’s minds. In fact he began to have serious concerns about his sexuality because Martin became so incredibly attractive to him. He even went out with a woman to prove that he still found the opposite sex attractive, but he continued to crave Martin. Ryan really had problems even considering himself as bisexual, and to be in a gay relationship would have been extremely difficult for him. Eventually things came to a head when he suggested that they go away for the weekend to the family retreat in order to complete the plans for the building. Of course the attraction between them exploded and there was a scene in a thunderstorm which was quite erotic. Now both men had a problem because although Martin was also attracted to Ryan he was not interested in having a straight man as a lover, and in addition he didn’t trust Ryan as he was well aware of his reputation and he didn’t want to be hurt by a man who flitted from woman to woman. The tentative romance came to a grinding halt after the weekend because Martin realized he was falling for someone who represented everything he was against. His major issue was that Ryan was straight and he didn’t want to go there.
This is one of the more realistic gay for you romances that I have read in a while because the author didn’t just wave a wand and make an instant gay man, as she showed the issues facing both men in the romance. Also the characters had had personal tragedies from which they had not recovered, and consequently neither one wanted to put himself in a situation where he could be hurt again, and they both had to come to terms with the past before they could move on with their lives.
I liked this story a lot. Ryan was a computer game developer with a thriving business which had expanded to the point that his current premises were too small for the staff. His concern that his employees should have the best working environment was a real plus for the character and Martin was equally three dimensional, although he did annoy me a bit with his constant waffling about whether he wanted to be with Ryan because of his reputation. This aside, I thought that the author managed to infuse the right degree of conflict by incorporating their pasts and then showing the impact on their romance. The other reason I liked this book is that the sex was delayed until their personal issues were resolved although there was a lot of frottage and a bit of oral sex. When they did the deed Ryan’s reactions were just right, in my opinion, as he showed his inexperience in gay sex, so there was some more realism to his character. Ryan’s and Martin’s past trauma accounted for some of the angst in the book but it was not overwhelming and I thought that the author had come a long way from the first book.
There were a couple of sequences which would appeal to gamers and I can think of at least a couple of them to whom I would recommend this book to get their reactions to these elements of the story, since I’m a novice in this area. I would suspect that the author is either an experienced gamer or she consulted with experts in the field. All in all I thought it was a fascinating side trip to the romance as it actually heightened the feelings between the protagonists.
Ryan’s Harbour is a much better book than Blue Skye with well drawn characters, although the book still suffered from errors and a couple of name switches but it was not at the same level as the previous book. Drew and Skye made guest appearances in Ryan’s Harbour and they did their best to help the romance along. It was a nice touch to see how their romance was progressing.
Ryan’s Harbour can be read as a standalone however you might also enjoy meeting Drew and Skye in Blue Skye. Definitely recommended.