Title: Detour (Something in Common #1)
Author: Talia Carmichael
Cover artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner press
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Buy Link: Buy Link Detour
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: This sweet story about a college professor and a policeman had great potential, but for me was somewhat ruined by tacked-on “conflicts” between the guys.
Robert Berkus’s steady academic life seemed to be an open road until the day he took a detour… right into Officer Miguel Rodriguez’s path. When Miguel helps the sexy professor change a flat tire, Robert is absolutely oblivious to Miguel’s interest. That suits Miguel just fine, though. He’s used to being the aggressor although it sure would be nice to get this sweet and staid college professor to make the first move.When Robert gets his act in gear, the results prove explosive. Miguel wants Robert in his bed and in his life permanently, and Robert enthusiastically agrees—but they’ve already learned that life makes detours. Sometimes it takes love a little courage to arrive at its chosen destination.
College professor Robert and police officer Miguel meet by accident when Robert is running a red light because he is late to meet his friend Alex for dinner and he also ends up with the flat tire. Miguel helps him with the flat tire and instead of giving him a ticket, gives him a warning about running the red light. Robert is instantly attracted but decides that Miguel is straight (not sure for what reason) and nothing can happen between them. The same evening Robert sees Miguel again in the restaurant after he finishes the dinner with Alex. Robert offers to buy Miguel a drink as a thank you and Miguel agrees. Our guys part ways after the drink, but in a week or so they run into each other again when Robert has to call the police about a suspicious smell on the college campus. Miguel invites Robert to his weekly poker game with his colleagues, friends and three brothers, and Robert accepts. Soon he becomes a regular at the poker games. Miguel is madly attracted to Robert but for some reason decides that he cannot tell Robert about it and Robert has to figure it out on its own.
This is where my problems with the story started, and I had several.
First, there are certainly scenarios where I can accept one guy wanting to do what Miguel did, but I really need to have a reason for that and I did not notice any here. Was Miguel doing it for fun because he wanted to tease Robert, to flirt with him? I have no idea because besides Miguel wanting to do it “to convince Robert that he is gay and interested”, I did not find any explanation, and instead of making it look fun and playful to me, it made both Miguel and Robert look stupid.
Second was frustration for the characters and for me. Since their first poker game, Robert was spending more and more time with Miguel, and while Robert was enjoying being friends with him, the poor guy was getting more and more sexually frustrated because he tried to convince himself over and over again that Miguel was straight. I was getting more and more frustrated myself and wanted to suggest to Robert that maybe asking Miguel whether he is straight or not would be a good idea. It takes another five weeks and four days, and approximately one third of this story, to move things along, because while one would think that Miguel is actually enjoying it, I thought he was getting more and more frustrated himself, finally asking Robert when he would make his move. When this mini-version of the Big Misunderstanding is solved, both men engage in an enthusiastic love making session.
Third, I was not impressed by this first conflict that these guys had to overcome because it did not feel that the conflict grew organically out of who these guys were, it just felt added on. Miguel is out at work and to his family, and Robert is supposed to be a genius science professor (yet he cannot ask the man he is attracted to whether his advances will be returned?) so I had a hard time believing this part of the story. Two other small conflicts for our main couple felt even more added on for the sake of some conflict alone to me, even though I was glad that those events were not based on misunderstanding of any sort. However, something serious happens at the end of the story, a situation that in my opinion had great potential to be a source of real conflict, but I did not feel that the writer even scratched the surface of it.
I do not want to give an impression that I did not like anything in the story; I thought Miguel and his brothers were really sweet without necessarily being Macho Latinos walking stereotypes (Miguel, for example, does not show volatile temper, thank goodness, though I will admit I could do without his skin colouring being called exotic when he and Robert first meet). The way they decided to help Robert’s assistant Bernie was to me just genuinely adorable, the way I would have expected real people to act if they decided to help fellow human being without injuring his pride. I also liked Robert and Miguel together—when they finally get together—but I just did not feel that the story successfully showed realistic conflicts between them.
Lastly, if you are looking for the story with a lot of sex, this one may be for you; there is plenty of sex in the last two thirds of the story, and for me it was more than enough.