Title: Custom Ride
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Short Story
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Summary Review: Two men on the opposite side of the closet have to decide if what they have together is enough to make a go of a relationship.
Life’s not always about the journey, but who takes you on the ride.
A Midsummer Night’s Steam story.
A stint in the Air Force left Ryan MacRae with a bitter memory of life in the closet. Jeff Allstein is a mechanic who has too much to lose if his
private life becomes public. The heat of their attraction boils over on a stormy summer night, but satisfying that need only makes them both crave more.
Their searing connection makes it hard for Ryan to understand the road blocks Jeff continually puts down. Ryan will have to buckle up if he’s going to find love at the end of his custom ride.
Ryan and Jeff had a random hook-up at a club during the Gay Pride parade weekend in Minneapolis. Ryan didn’t do random hookups but the stranger took control of his equipment on the dance floor and didn’t let go until he was sated. Ryan never saw his face – all he saw was the distinctive dragon tattoo on his arm. When he returned to his home in St. Cloud he never expected to see the man again, and even if he did, how would he know him? However, one night the following week when he was out with his brother and niece he saw the arm with the same dragon tattoo, hanging out the window of a pick-up truck. Curiosity got the better of him and he looked at the man, who had a little girl with him in the truck, obviously his daughter. Since the man seemed to be attached Ryan didn’t introduce himself.
The next day Ryan’s brother needed to pick up his car from the custom design shop and asked him for a ride. When they showed up, there he was, the man with the tattoo, and owner of the shop. His name was Jeff and he hit on Ryan right away. Against his better judgment, Ryan made a date for later that day with Jeff but the date didn’t reach it’s logical conclusion because in the middle of getting it on, Jeff had a call that his daughter was injured. It turned out that Jeff wasn’t married, as Ryan had feared, but he definitely had parental responsibilities and he lived in fear of being outed and losing shared custody of his daughter because his alcoholic ex girlfriend was always threatening to contest it. So even though they were both hot for each other, and Ryan really liked Jeff, he felt that being with him would not work out because he had no intention of going back into the closet after 4 years in the US military and “don’t ask, don’t tell”.
Custom Ride is the first book I read by K.A. Mitchell three years ago and it’s probably her first published book. It’s a very sexy, steamy ‘short,’ guaranteed to get your adrenaline going because the sex was hotter than being in hell. 🙂 I quite enjoyed the story and have since read it several times because I love both characters, especially Jeff who was trying to be a father under very difficult circumstances, while trying to live his life as a gay man with the constant fear of losing his daughter. K.A. Mitchell did a really good job of working through the conflicts between the couple, and the story was resolved realistically. There was an HFN ending which I felt was quite appropriate.
If you like the author, this is vintage K.A. – the characters are fully three dimensional, good prose and dialogue and, of course, lots and lots of angst. Definitely recommended.