I Do
by Barbara Sheridan and Anne Cain, contemporary (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $2.99, ISBN 978-1-4199-1141-5


I Do is not a yaoi story, so authors Barbara Sheridan and Anne Cain serve up an Asian hero that for once doesn't make me want to grab hold of ponytails and pull hard. This is still a gay romance though, with Randy Ohara being the hero crazy about Japanese boybands and trying to move on after his first and only lover's death. He falls head over heels for the father of his sister's husband-to-be on the wedding day. The father of the groom, Jason Chen, is a cop with some residual issues regarding his belief that he had neglected his late wife when she was alive.

At the time of writing, I am still recovering from the authors' J-pop boyband stories and I actually don't plan on reading this one until a while later, when the image of little girls pretending to be boys running around kissing each other fades from my mind. But with some comparisons coming up between this book and Feels So Right (which came out two weeks after this book), I may as well take one for the team and see what the fuss is all about.

Of course this story is much better written that the other book, but that's because nobody can write like Carol Lynne (and I mean that in a good way, of course). The premise of the story is similar and the storyline takes a similar developmental arc, but then again, one can rightfully point out that the path to happily ever after in these two books are similar to that in nearly all romance novels out there. On the other hand, it is a bad move by the publisher to put out these two books one so soon after the other, but that is something the authors involved have no say in so I'll just leave it at that.

At any rate, good heavens, the romance in this story is actually quite convincing, especially when the authors wisely have the characters talk first and bond before doing the nasty. The authors sneakily circumvent the rumored publisher's rule about a sex scene having to take place at some designated early point in the story by giving Randy a solo scene instead. By the way, this scene has made me curious enough to call up a friend who happens to be gay to ask him whether it is possible for a man to keep his chubby while having something stuffed up his rear end. Don't ask me what he is thinking during that ten seconds of silence at the other end of the line after I asked the question - I don't want to know. At any rate, he informs me that some men can while other men can't, so it looks like the authors' research is pretty sound after all.

Randy and Jason are adorable characters, with Jason especially so as he is supposed to be modeled after Jet Li (the authors are not shy at all about admitting this in the story) and Jet Li is as far as one could get from being a model of naughty behavior. But this guy can be pretty naughty, which makes him even more adorable that way. These two men have some decent moment of bonding to make it seem as if they are falling in love with each other. My only quibble is that fact that these two men are making plans to move in together by the last page - that is what I'd call moving too quickly when they are just starting to know each other.

A nice bonus to this eminently readable story is the fact that the authors are capable of writing reasonable and adult characters and that those creepy thirteen-year old emo girls trapped in girly-men bodies in their longer books are due to influences of more stereotypical yaoi material these books are meant to take after instead of any inability on the authors' part to create adult characters. It's okay to say yes to I Do.

Rating: 83


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