No Fear In Love
by Jamie Craig, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 1-60504-202-1


Boy, No Fear In Love really rubs me off the wrong way. I'm not exactly religious, but I do have respect for people who have faith in whatever deity or deities they choose to worship. Provided that these are good people, of course, and not hypocrites that some of them tend to be. Therefore, you can imagine my reaction to Mark Goudy when his idea of buddy talk to his supposed best friend, Father Weston Scott, is to constantly pester him to confess whether he has ever been tempted about having sex. Of course, when Wes decides to get married (he's an Anglican priest), Mark is like, oh that can't be. You know why? Mark is a stereotypical bitchy queen who wants Wes for himself.

"What? No. But, Mark..." Weston floundered for words, wishing he hadn't had so much to drink. Maybe he could think of something to say if his brain wasn't clouded. "We're friends. We're just friends. That's all. Just good friends." If the insistence sounded a bit too desperate, it was only because it had been Weston's mantra since they were both fifteen.

Slowly, Mark drained the rest of his Guinness and set aside his empty glass. Reaching forward, he closed his cool, damp fingers over Weston’s where they curled into his pint, holding him for what felt like seconds soaked in molasses before prying his hand away from the glass.

That doesn't mean I can't appreciate how gorgeous you are," Mark said, placing Weston's Guinness out of the way with his own. His hands were mercifully gone then, leaving Wes to stare at him, dumbfounded. "Is it such a bad thing? I mean, everybody fantasizes. Wondered. Even you do, remember?"

As much as I like a person who isn't afraid to go after what he wants, in this case the person Mark wants is a priest. And given that he comes off like a creepy stalker rather than a best buddy, he really makes it easy for me to utterly dislike him.

The above excerpt was taken from page 11. By page 13, these two are already having sex. Oh boy, it looks like Wes turns out to be an epic failure of a priest after all! What happens next is that Mark begins throwing a tantrum come morning because his big fat homosexual dipstick failed to erase Wes' guilt. By this point I feel as if I'm reading a story featuring aliens pretending to be human beings.

Eventually, Mark admits to being a complete asshole but his flippant apology actually makes me more infuriated with him. And the story then wraps things up with a sex scene after an equally flippant speech about... uh, something.

I don't know. When it comes to stories about gay priests falling in love with another man, I'd like to read more about... oh, realistic guilt, perhaps? A heartfelt attempt to reconcile one's sexual desire with one's belief in God? This story is maddeningly unbelievable. About half of it is sex and the other half is flippant and even banal psychobabble designed to facilitate another sex scene. I don't think Jesus will approve of all this flippant using of Christianity just to titillate readers with clichéd and banal gay sex scenes. If we are to use a priest as a main character in a romance centered around the conflict about his attraction to another man, we do it right and make it real, instead of just presenting another sappy and formulaic gay romance dressed up in a priest's uniform, no?

Rating: 40


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