Title: Puzzle Me This (Second Edition)
Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 6, 2019
Genre(s): Gay Romance, Physically Disability
Page Count: 223
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Rating: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Luke Schumaker designs computer games, working from his home. Every day he walks his dog in the woods nearby, never suspecting that someone who is completely smitten is watching.
The watcher is Alex Shaw, and he too works from home, designing logic and crossword puzzles. Alex’s options are limited: he’s too shy to approach Luke and his wheelchair won’t let him follow into the woods. His solution? Secret messages for Luke in the crosswords he writes for the local paper.
When Luke decodes them, romance begins, but then they face greater puzzles, like Alex’s interfering sister and what commitment to a man in a wheelchair really takes. And, most puzzling of all, how do you know if love is real?
Second Edition: The new edition coming out Sept 6, 2019 has an additional 12,000 words plus an overall rewrite. It will be available in paperback for the first time as well as in ebook.
Even when confecting a brief story in the form of a modern, romantic fairy tale, today’s
best writers bring us to places with which we otherwise might not be familiar. Hooray
for Mr. Easton, who has wonderfully done so with Puzzle Me This. He really knows how
to add the right ideas and phrases, so all the expected literary ingredients are present in
the recipe. But, the rightfully expected HEA end product is made so much more savory
by the focus on Alec’s physical disability.
Luke is an archetypical hero of our time – educated, independent, happily out and
sexually active. (He is also computer savvy and has a serious flannel kink!) He’s a
transplant from San Francisco and its bar scene, “where wearing the wrong shoes could
get you treated like a pork rind at a vegan potluck.” Generally content with his life,
through a “cute meet,” Luke gets to know his neighbor, Alex, whose birth defect has left
him wheelchair-bound. Still, Luke experiences an immediate physical attraction for
Alex, while wondering whether the man in the wheelchair was a virgin, or the limits on
Alec’s physical capacities. Luke’s feelings are far from platonic.
Alex wants to be desired! Luke desires him! Welcome to the world of sex with men
who have physical limits: “Luke broke the kiss. ‘Mother of God! Is that the Empire State
Building in your pants, or are you just glad to see me? What the hell are you packing?’ ”
The plot is well paced. The steps in the development of the sexual relationship are
sensible. And their story rationally moves forward – reverses and bumps included. Our
heroes are well defined, as are their respective families’ influences. The reader’s
knowledge of a not so usual situation is sufficiently expanded as to make us fascinated
witnesses to a lovely relationship.
As with all fairy tales, this one’s HEA also has a moral. It won’t spoil the pleasure you
will get from reading Puzzle Me This – which I highly recommend.
“All you can do is follow your heart, go into things in good faith. Be open to love. Be
kind to one another. And continue to be honest . . . ”