Title: M4M (2nd Edition)
Author: Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 10, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Finding and keeping love can be a challenge in the modern world of blogging, social media, and online dating, as one man will learn in this trilogy.
VGL Male Seeks Same – Poor Ethan Schwartz. At forty-two, he’s alone, his bed is empty, and his HDTV is overworked. He’s tried bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find each other, but it never works out. Maybe he should get a cat?
But his life is about to change…
NEG UB2 – Poor Ethan. He’s received the most shocking news a gay man can get—he’s HIV positive. Until today his life was perfect, with a job he loves and Brian, who could be “the one.” The one to complete him and fill his lonely life with laughter, hot sex, and romance.
But Ethan’s in for another shock. Could Brian have infected him?
STATUS UPDATES – Alone again, Ethan wonders if life is worth living, even with a cat. When an old nemesis sends a Facebook friend request, Ethan is suspicious but intrigued. It seems this old acquaintance has turned his life around, and the changes might hold the key to Ethan getting a new lease on life… and love.
First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2009.
The three novellas that comprise M4M introduce us to Ethan as he wonders if life has passed him by at the ripe old age of 42.
Somewhere there had to be a companion for him, just waiting. His dream man wasn’t in all the places he had fruitlessly checked, like the bars, backstage, and in his office. But he was out there, and like Ethan, he too was pulling the covers up by himself and thinking the answer to the riddle of how to escape a solitary existence was just within reach.
In VGL Male Seeks Same, Ethan signs up for a dating site and adds a recent picture to his profile … and waits and waits for responses. But when Ethan replaces his profile picture with that of a gorgeous silver fox, those emails start rolling in. The story has a lot to say about perceptions and expectations and “what it feels like to be loved for oneself, warts and all.” I really enjoyed this story, giving it 4 stars.
NEG UB2 picks up Ethan and Brian’s story about 6 months later, as Ethan gets the news he is HIV positive. Ethan very quickly leaps into betrayal mode believing that Brian has knowingly infected him, and rather than communicating in any meaningful way with Brian, Ethan pushes him away and starts a blog “Off to see The Wizard of Poz.” While the story is well-written and I liked the blog entries and the introduction of Jan Most, I was extremely frustrated by the lack of communication and trust. 2.5 stars for NEG UB2.
STATUS UPDATE is set 8 years after NEG UB2 and tragically Ethan once again finds himself alone. Ethan reconnects with a former coworker (who he hated when they worked together) and finds himself on a path toward acceptance of his grief, forgiveness, and wholeness.
All of us are wounded creatures. Each and every one of us is, in some way, broken. Yet how many of us see that wound or that brokenness as a gift instead of a liability?
While at first Status Update seems an unlikely fit with the other two stories, it brings completeness to Ethan’s story, and is not an end but a new beginning to his search for love. It is beautifully written and I give it 5 stars.
Overall, my rating for M4M is 4 stars. I would have loved Brian’s POV as he remains somewhat vague throughout the novellas, but Ethan’s discovery – and rediscovery – of love is wonderful to read and the lessons from Status Update will stay with me for quite sometime.
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… love, real love, was never about what was on the surface, but the heart and kindness lying beneath the façade.