by Suzanne Brockmann, contemporary (2011)
Ballantine, $1.99, ISBN 978-0-345-52987-9
Tony Vlachic is a "ruggedly handsome Navy SEAL", and he's infatuated with Adam Wyndham, a "charismatic yet troubled film star" who isn't keen on doing that love thing after having his heart broken. Of course, they can't fight their feelings, but with both their careers at stake should word get out about their sexual preferences, can they truly have a happily ever after?
Realistically speaking, there is a high chance that a relationship with a movie star is going to crash and burn within a year, and that's not even throwing a Navy SEAL into the mix. Then again, since they will probably see each other for ten hours a year, absence may keep the heart fonder for a little longer. But since this is a romantic short story, of course they will work everything out.
When Tony Met Adam was written by Suzanne Brockmann to commemorate the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of USA, so right from the go, this is what some folks would call a short story with an agenda. Still, this one isn't as preachy as I'd initially expected, with the predictable "let's get back at the homophobes!" thing showing up only very late in the story. The problem with this story is this: this is a Troubleshooters story, so much so that the story is as much about the Troubleshooters' reactions to Tony's sexuality as it is about Tony and Adam working out the issues between them.
The love story is actually pretty nice. Sure, it's not going to be as well developed as it could have been in a longer story, and Adam's angst reminds me too much of that of hero in Heartthrob, but the chemistry between the two men are pretty well done. The issue I have with this story is that I have long stopped following the Troubleshooters in action and therefore I have a hard time keeping track of the many secondary characters in this one. I can barely remember the guys from the older books and I have not read the newer books, so it's actually distracting to have to pause and try to figure out these secondary characters, The author probably wants her readers to know that the Troubleshooters are all great guys who don't do that gay bashing thing, but these guys really take up precious space and airtime from Tony and Adam. I'd have preferred a less cluttered story with a bigger focus on the romance.
When Tony Met Adam is far better than I expected, especially considering how I couldn't warm up to the author's recent full length books but it would have been a stronger read, I feel, if it has been a standalone story instead of one with so many meta-references to the Troubleshooters series.
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