Title: Always Forward! Never Straight
Author: Charley Descoteaux
Publisher: CeeTwo Publications/Self Published
Release Date: January 1, 2018
Page Count: 80
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 2.0 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Love isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.
Baxter Bryan is the nerdy half of BaxCo, a start-up in Portland’s Silicon Forest creating cutting-edge high-tech toys. He’s also a hermit. When BaxCo sponsors the Portland Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Bryan decides to break out of his comfort zone and do more than listen to the music with a beer in hand. The race has barely started when he bumps into a fit, handsome man, causing sparks to fly. But the long hours needed to make BaxCo a success aren’t the only reason Bryan spends most of his time alone in his apartment.
Cay Nissen runs every day to stay in shape. He would love to run away from his job in a Silicon Forest cube farm, but keeps returning to support his teenaged daughter. His true love is music. Cay writes songs for the band he helped form in high school but doesn’t see any way to turn music into a career. The half marathon seemed like a decent way to pass a Saturday, make his boss happy, and catch a performance of his old band all at the same time. When he meets a man who sparks his interest, the safety of his cubicle isn’t the only part of his life that’s in jeopardy of changing.
Blurb summarizes the story quite well so I won’t rehash. This is a short and sweet read, with one moment of angst that the astute reader will see coming from a 13.5 miles away.
I’m waffling a bit – wondering if this wouldn’t have benefited from being a tich longer. The romance is more of a sprint than a marathon, despite what the little lead-in says. Bryan and Cay hit it off immediately – almost too fast for my tastes so I was left with vague feelings of discomfort.
The insta-romance is what leads to the Big Misunderstanding, except it’s not really a Misunderstanding per-se so much as major lack of communication. Even Cay’s daughter recognizes the situation as such and acknowledges it in a much more mature fashion.
There are some references to physical abuse, which might be a trigger for some. I thought this aspect of Bryan’s background was underwritten, especially when it came to Bryan’s reaction during the Big Misunderstanding. I don’t want to say more, because this is a short story and I don’t want to drop spoilers.
I liked Cay’s family dynamics – non-traditional and interesting. Bryan’s cousin was almost too much Tell All Bestie!, which, for those of you who follow my reviews, know I can’t stand. But that trait didn’t quite cross my invisible line so that character worked.
Overall, a sweet, if fast, romance around family, running, music, and technology.