by Cameron Dane, contemporary (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $5.95, ISBN 978-1-59578-560-2
The remote cabin in the woods is clearly a favorite plot device of authors wishing for a quick way to get their main characters to meet, preferably one of them in a state of undress. The thing is, most of the stories of this sort follow the same story line, and Cameron Dane's Grey's Awakening is different only in that two people shacking up in ye old cabin are gay men.
Greyson Cole feels that he has been surrounded by too many icky lovestruck people and their gooey displays of emotions are getting to our cynical hero. A stay at his cabin in the woods outside of Raleigh seems like what he needs for some peace of mind. However, his twin sister has already let Sirus Wilder - don't look at me, I didn't come up with that name - from across the lake stay at the cabin for awhile as Sirus' own cabin currently has some problems that can't be fixed at that moment.
The characters are familiar. Grey doesn't want love. Sirus has been hurt in his recent relationship. La-di-da, you know the song, I'm sure. The thing is, I am always aware that this story is artificial because Ms Dane has both her characters speak in a stilted manner. Her characters don't speak as much as they seem to be launching into speeches that they have composed and rehearsed several times. Here is an example:
"No. I'm good," Sirus said, washing relief over Grey in a flooding torrent. Christ, he couldn't believe how much he already cared that nothing bad ever befell this man. "I take my personal safety and health very seriously," Sirus continued, clearly unaware of the turmoil going on inside Grey. "As seriously as I'm sure you do. Even though I always used protection with the last man I was with — all of the men I've been with, of which there have been four — I have in the last two years been tested numerous times for every goddamned thing in the book, since my last relationship ended in part because the man was married."
Who speaks like that?
And then we have a bareback scene in the story, portrayed a scene indicative of the trust these two men have for each other. I don't know about anyone else, but these guys have just met, so I have no idea where this sudden need to demonstrate one trust by being stupid comes from. Next, we have the love scenes, littered with phrases that make me scratch my head. "Early seed", for example, which is different from "late seed", I suppose. Then we have Grey's calling Sirius' rear end his "home". I suppose some readers find that romantic, but I crack up every time I think about someone's backside being another person's home. Then there are those scenes where the characters keep shoving their fingers hard into the other person's rear end. This kind of scenes may be sexy, if written well, but here the whole thing seems like a DIY proctology exam conducted by two men who should know better.
It doesn't help that the author stretches the story considerably by adding sex scene of this sex one after another. The characters keep singing the same song every time they are not having sex, as a result making this story come off like silly sex scenes one after another, connected by a barely-there plot and very threadbare character development. Grey's Awakening should have been a short story rather than a full-length book.
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