Title: Needing Seth
Author: Shawn Lane
Cover artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: JMS Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: Approximately 86 pages
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Guest review by Orion
Review summary: A sweet, simple romance.
Blurb: Shy and a bit of a science fiction geek, Seth Landers is afraid he’s going to die a virgin. Then one day, Casey Logan, the sexier-than-sin doctor where Seth works, notices him. Not only that, but Casey actually asks him out! Seth’s life could finally change for the better, but only if Casey can convince the shy geek that he needs Seth in his life just as badly…
Review: A gay, greasy geek, with glasses and long stringy hair. That is how Seth Landers describes himself at the beginning of this novella. He bemoans the fact that he is single, his frustration compounded by the fact that his straight friends, Ruby and Victor, are a happy couple and his cute, perky gay friend, Jesse, has a boyfriend. Ruby decides Seth is in desperate need of a makeover. This leads to a very amusing scene where she critiques various aspects of Seth’s anatomy.
After Ruby guides him successfully through the makeover, Seth debuts his new look at work and immediately catches the eye of the tall, gorgeous Dr. Casey Logan. Casey, at 32, is about ten years Seth’s senior and the object of female fantasies around the office. Seth gets an unwelcome reminder of just how invisible his former incarnation was when he discovers that Casey not only doesn’t recognize him with the makeover, he doesn’t even remember interviewing and hiring him. Later, Casey joins Seth for lunch and, in the course of their conversation, awkwardly reveals that he is gay. Moreover, when Seth points out how devastating it was to know that Casey barely noticed the geek version of him, the doctor points out that he was a nerdy teen himself and underwent his own transformation.
From this initial physical attraction and the commonality of their teen geekdom, the relationship between Seth and Casey slowly builds. In addition to his friends, Seth’s parents play a vital part in the proceedings. His mother disapproves of his friends and his sexuality, convinced that he could develop an attraction for females if he would just try. His father outright hates him. Seth is blunt in pointing out that he is who he is, and as he becomes more involved with Casey, he makes it a point to introduce the doctor to his parents.
The story is told from Seth’s point of view. Through the quirky, humorous writing and his determination to be true to his sexuality in spite of his parents, I found him to be a likeable character. I liked Casey, too, but I didn’t quite know how to take some of his behavior. In addition to his job, Seth is a student. Having worked part-time while I was in college, I know how hard it can be to juggle classes, studying, work, and a social life. Casey, having gone through medical school, should know that as well, so I couldn’t understand why, on occasion, he became so demanding of Seth’s time. I connected more with Seth and felt that Casey wasn’t quite as fleshed out as he could have been. The sex is hot, and the initial encounter between these two guys is sweet because Seth is naïve and a virgin.
This is a charming, romantic story, and the connection between the two main characters is convincingly depicted. The cover artist made a good effort to provide images that match the description of Seth and Casey, but the “Seth” on the cover seems older to me than the “Casey.” That aside, if you are looking for a light, funny, sexy read, look no further.