Author: Raev Gray and Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Novella (98 pdf pages)
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: A quiet, heartwarmingly true story about two people who find love with each other and work together to make it last.
The Blurb: When a snow storm strands Javier Castillo in Italy at Christmas, it almost ruins his chance to win back a client his advertising agency desperately needs. The situation isn’t improved by the presence of his colleague, Andrew Young, a silver-tongued account director infamous for having slept with a client. Javier has a hard time respecting a man who would do anything for an account, but proximity may prove that Andrew is not quite the man Javier thought. They might have the opportunity to forge a successful business opportunity—or even a life together—if they don’t get cold feet.
The Review: Several times over, here and on other sites, readers have been asked what they wish for in books. Often, the answers were along the lines of more realistic tales, real people, people who deal with their problems like adult persons and not like kindergarteners who run pouting into the Big Misunderstanding. As it turns out, these two authors actually listened and subsequently created this beautiful little gem of genuineness together.
Andrew Young is an account director with the same advertising company where Javier Castillo has been working as an art director for fifteen years now. When a flighty dissatisfied customer threatens to take her business elsewhere, the two men are sent to Singapore together in order to smoothen the waves.
About the only thing Andrew and Javier have in common is that both are gay, but previous to this shared business trip they only knew each other through the company rumor mill. Thus both are not overly comfortable when a freak snowstorm strands them in Malpensa, Northern Italy, and a scarcity of accomodations throws them together in one hotel room. Over Christmas, of all times. Wagging tongues have branded Andrew as a slut since he’s said to have slept with a customer for an account, while Javier is considered a solitary workaholic who –
“only pretends that he’s gay so he doesn’t have to go home to his wife and children”
However, the forced closeness and growing mutual attraction soon lead to the inevitable, and they have sex. It’s almost by accident that Javier, the more reserved of the pair, initiates it. Andrew, who’s had a silent crush on Javier for a while, responds with an enthusiasm that soon works its way beneath and behind Javier’s inhibitions.
Javier is a romantic who has almost exclusively had long – term relationships. He’s also someone who dislikes unpredictability and prefers to be in control of everything, starting with his career right through to his physical reactions when he has an orgasm. When he realizes how fast and how far his feelings for Andrew exceed sexual attraction, he’s scared almost to the point of bolting. Andrew, on the other hand, is just recovering from breaking up with an unfaithful, selfish boyfriend. He has been burned over and over like this in the past since he seems to have a talent for always picking the wrong men, and he’s fed up . In Javier, he sees the solidity and reliability he secretly craves, if Javier would just come around and make up his mind.
And here comes the best part, people: those guys TALK to each other. They talk things through, they work things out, and they talk in order to make things work. They even talk during sex, not your usual dirty remarks and demands (although those occur, too), but about ordinary things, and important things, and their wishes and dreams in bed and beyond
“…as if the sex were only an incidental part of the conversation. Oddly enough, maybe it was. They were connecting, and not just physically.”
Considering they both work in the advertising business, where words are everything, and considering how much they both enjoy what they do and live through their work, I could totally buy this as their way of building a relationship. It fits both their personalities and rounds them. It’s simply wonderful to watch how Javier opens up to Andrew, how his artist’s habit of drawing, scribbling and sketching all the time actually helps him sort things out for himself. Later, when Javier’s fears and Andrew’s misplaced secrecy threaten to drive them apart, they don’t retire sulkily into their mutual shells, either. Javier seeks a friend’s advice to get his head on straight, and Andrew opens his door for Javier and listens to him. They each give a little, take a little, and in the end, both agree that life doesn’t give guarantees, but some things are just worth taking a risk.
There was no exaggerated drama and only very little angst in this story, no breathtaking action or dreadful fate, no power play and no unsurmountable obstacles. Andrew and Javier are just two ordinary people with ordinary problems and normal fears and precautions who have something wonderful happen to them, and when they realize how precious it is what they have, they work together to make it last.
This sweet treasure of a story Raev Gray and Aleksandr Voinov came up with together is absolutely worth exploring. Don’t miss it.