by Jules Jones, contemporary (2008)
Loose Id, $5.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-742-9
As the title would suggest, Lord And Master 2: Taking Work Home is a sequel to the 2007 gay romance Lord And Master. The same characters are back. Mark - whose last name is Poulson, I finally learn - is back along with his boyfriend Dr Steven Frost. I am quite amused to discover that this book has plenty of conflicts when I commented in my review of the previous book that the previous book didn't have interesting conflicts to sustain the length of that story. It is as if fate, destiny, or whatever is finally making up for lost time with our happy boys, heh.
This story takes place before the epilogue of the previous book, though, so here Steven and Mark haven't settled down yet. They are in love, of course, but they have to do one more thing that have made grown folks sweat before they can settle down for good - meeting the family. More specifically, Steven's family, with some of them suspecting that Mark is some kind of hustler sleeping with the boss for personal gains and taking advantage of Steven's bipolar disorder in order to do so.
Since Steven and Mark are already in love, this story serves to reaffirm that their love is really something special. I can understand why Steven's family is suspicious of Mark.At the same time, Mark all but wears a halo around his neck. Thus, there is not much suspense in this story about whether Mark will win them over. The one-dimensional niceness of the main characters is my main issue with this story - Ms Jones has made her characters likable types who are at the same time too bland for their own good. Mark is the perfect lover for Steven. Likewise, Steven is the best employer ever - his personality is best summed up in two words, bland and bipolar. The love scenes here serve to demonstrate what a wonderful nurse Mark can be when Steven needs him in that manner. I can only go, "Eh? Isn't that obvious? The characters are blooming bloody perfect, after all."
It also doesn't help that the author has given her characters, both main and secondary ones, the same kind of "voice". These characters speak in a similar pattern and the good guys seem to share the same thought bubble.
Perhaps Lord And Master 2: Taking Work Home will thrill readers who enjoy the previous book. I just find the story a little on the dull side due to the technical aspects of the story. Steven and Mark are unobjectionable characters, but unfortunately they can also be tediously bland and perfect. The whole story serves to accentuate the one-dimensional perfection of these characters, so I'm afraid I find it too bland for my liking.
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