by Jade Buchanan, paranormal (2007)
Samhain Publishing, $2.50, ISBN 1-59998-582-9
Nut Cream in the title refers to a bottle of said cream. What are you thinking, huh? Actually, the label on the bottle reads Nut Hand Cream, but I suppose having that as the title of this short story will really be pushing at the boundary between good taste and bad taste.
Apart from the gay twist and the fact that every guy here is a werewolf, the story is pretty familiar. Toby Madison has been in love with his brother's good buddy Cliff Bullen for ages but of course he can't believe that Cliff will be his mate because otherwise Cliff would have shagged Toby by now if Toby is his destined mate. Because of this, he will never let Cliff know that he cares and he will coldly turn down Cliff's friendly overtures. While moaning inside, of course, that he will never ever have Cliff.
In short, Toby is waiting for Cliff to read his mind and is just playing some sullen drama queen because Cliff hasn't heard his telepathic "Take me now!" messages. Toby is a teacher at fifth grade, by the way. I suppose that's how he hones his passive-aggressive nature. Fortunately, nature has a way to help a fellow to compensate for his clearly limited intelligence, so Toby starts emanating pheromones that cause Cliff to, er, stand up and take notice.
Nut Cream is like every other gay romance I've read - take one whiny self-absorbed "me, me, me" emo crybaby (who often embodies the nerdy persona) and pair him with this straight-acting muscle-bound fellow. Even if Toby at the end admits that he's been a silly twit, Cliff insists that Toby isn't like that, so just like many of those gay romances I've read, this straight-acting paragon exists only to validate the whiny emo brat's existence. In short, Nut Cream follows the gay romance formula right down to its stereotypical characters. It's nothing to go nut over.
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