Summary Review: An unusual turn of events when temptation is thrown in the path of one man.
When a new couple moves in next door, the two gay men capture Grant’s fascination immediately. Mark and Tony are guys, just guys, and clearly in love. Grant finds it appealing enough that he begins to question not only his marriage of twenty years, but the direction of his entire life.
Mark and Tony moved to Sherman Oaks, next door to Grant and his wife Helen when they bought the old Craftsman bungalow that had been empty for about a year. When Grant found out that two gay men were going to be living in the house he, along with the rest of the neighbourhood, was anxious to see what they looked like. Grant was astonished to find out that they were big burly, hairy, manly guys in their forties — not a single feather boa in sight. He made friends with his new neighbours on move-in day and soon was having a beer and getting to know them much better.
Tony and Mark were not shy about sharing the details of their relationship. They had been together for 10 years and had sex with other men because this turned them on and they felt it made their love fresh. Grant was astonished! In the 20 years he had been married he had never looked at another woman. Another man? Now that was a different matter, but this was a deep, dark, shameful secret that he was not going to confide and he was also not going to let Mark and Tony into his boring life where the only sexual favour he could look forward to from Helen was a blow job on his birthday every year. The fact that he was having ‘urges’ towards Tony and Mark was an aberration and could only be due to proximity. He began spending a lot of time with them while Helen was away on her frequent ‘missionary’ trips and she seemed to like the fact that he had some new friends and would not be lonely during her absence. Grant and his new friends were getting on like a house on fire and he had even gone to a ball game with Mark where they had been allowed into the locker room after the game. He became very aroused at seeing his favourite players naked, guys he had watched on TV for years. So much for hiding his urges!
Matters came to a head one night when he went to a local bar, got drunk and came home to loud sounds from next door. He peeked through a hole in the fence and saw his new best friends having sex in their pool. To say that he was turned on was an understatement, and when his loud moans accompanied theirs in stereo they had the predictable result. But it was his wife’s reaction that was amazing.
This little gem was amusing on one hand but also very sad, as we experience Grant’s frustration and disappointment at being trapped in a marriage with a woman who was his opposite in outlook and temperament. She had insisted on being a virgin when they married, had sex with him rarely on special occasions, and even then he had to be fluffed and smelling like fabric softener before she would deign to have a bit of the old in and out. Twenty years after college he could see his barren life continuing with no respite and he was scared that this would be his lot forever.
The characters of Mark and Tony were remarkable in that not only were they not twenty somethings, but the author didn’t give them impossibly hard bodies or great looking faces. Physically they were realistically drawn for someone their age and B.G. Thomas didn’t try to make them into gym bunnies. One of the most remarkable characters in the book was Helen, Grant’s wife, a very smart woman who manipulated him and circumstances to get what she wanted, all the while being cordial even in the worst situations. Very cleverly done.
Just Guys had a very brief, tame sex scene between Grant and Helen – if you blinked you would miss it. However, the sex between Mark and Tony was hot enough to steam up the pages. This fun book had three dimensional characters and Grant’s first person account was sometimes hilarious, but often I felt sorry for him although he was no victim. I think you will like Just Guys because it’s amusing with wonderfully crafted characters. In case you were wondering, there’s an HFN ending.