Title: You Are the Reason (The Tav #2)
Author: Renae Kaye
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC
Release Date: August 7th 2015
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 226 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
A Novel in The Tav series
Davo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays who are girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme—including relationships that last beyond fifteen minutes.
Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub. That’s where he meets Lee, cute from her cherry-red hair to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed—but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy—he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.
When I first heard Renae Kaye was writing a story based on a character in The Blinding Light I was excited. When I learned it was Dave “Davo” Pederson, who only had a really short amount of page time, I was skeptical…mostly because Davo was kind of a dick.
I shouldn’t have worried if Renae would be able to bring this self-admitted “top only” to life and make me love him.
What happens when an bright, innocent eleven year old boy who loves playing with his My Little Pony collection, which he had lovingly looked after for years, and who loves playing Barbie dolls with his sister is bashed repeatedly at school and ridiculed by the sports teacher, who also happens to be the disciplinarian for the boys and eggs the boys on to use force to show their opinions of boys weaker than them?
Well, what happened was Davo “You can call me Davo. ‘Dave’ is just for the ladies and work situations. My friends call me Davo, or Idiot, or Arsehole. So I answer to all three.” Pederson learned to eschew anything feminine.
Davo “kept playing football. I wore all black and swore like a sailor. I refused to have any friend at school who was even a touch feminine (because it might rub off on me). I also refused to have anything to do with anyone who was a homophobe. So my friendship group was reduced to two people—Thor and Harry.”
Because Davo isolates himself from anything not manly enough he really doesn’t know better. As my mum would say, “He’s thick, but not stupid.” When something is explained about why his thinking is wrong he learns it quickly and adapts.
When Davo first meets Lee Brennan, Lee is dressed as a woman and Davo and Lee end up blind drunk and Davo winds up taking her home.
Davo doesn’t remember any details, but when their hook-up is repeated the following weekend Davo is absolutely confused. Because Davo knows he’s gay. G-A-Y. Girls Are Yucky! But….something about Lee just keeps Davo enthralled like a moth to a flame.
His friends Jake and Patrick offer him advice to call Lee up and give it a shot.
“Lee. Ring her. Make a date. Jake will agree with me. If the attraction is this strong, then go for it. Always trust nature. And really, what do you have to lose?”
“But I’m gay.”
“Trust nature, Davo. Biology never gets it wrong.”
So, like always, when he’s in need of answers he turns to his oracle…Mr. Magic 8 Ball. *snickers* Yes. That Magic 8 Ball.
Thankfully, Mr. Magic 8 Ball encourages Davo to pursue Lee. Then Davo learns Lee is actually a guy. A gay guy who also occasionally likes to dress in women’s clothing. And just like that, Davo’s world is turned upside down.
The humor in this is perfectly pitched. You’re usually left laughing at Davo and his cluelessness. But Kaye keeps it from going over the top.
Lee constantly (yet subtly) pushes Davo’s boundaries and slowly begins to teach him just how badly a mental job Mr. Henley, the sports teacher in primary school, did on him.
“He’s not a misogynist…I’ll tell you it this way—it’s not that he doesn’t like girls, it’s just that someone once made him feel like less than a man. And he’s taken that, and skewed it, and reworked it more than a ball of Play-doh. So now he’s confused as to what he wants.”
Lee teaches Davo that there’s no one to hold him back from loving pink, and femme, and all the things he’s pushed away for years.
“It’s scary, isn’t it?” Lee said. “The possibilities are endless when you accept that there are no set limits, no set rules. That you can do anything you want and stuff the rest of the world.”
I have only complaint or nit to pick. There is a scene late in the story with Davo’s friend Thor and Thor’s girlfriend, Charlotte. It didn’t really make a lot of sense other than a possible setup for Thor in another story (which doesn’t make sense as Thor is completely straight)… so it was just odd and awkward.
I loved Lee and Davo and getting to spend time with Jake and Patrick, and their beautiful daughter Maxine. There is no angst in this. There’s no miscommunication. This story is beautifully and lovingly told.
And folks? The strip tease scene? All I can say is DAMN.