by Scarlet Blackwell, contemporary (2009)
Dreamspinner Press, $3.99, ISBN 978-1-935192-90-9

He turned around in surprise just as a figure sidled through the windows, leveling a gun at him.

His mouth dropped open, icy fingers creeping down his back, and not from the cold air. The man was a little shorter than him and not as muscular. He wore a thin shirt and jeans, despite the weather outside being at least ten below, if not more. He was covered with a light dusting of snow. It was on his boots and in the jet-black hair that fell untidily over his face. The face, which was milk-white and startlingly attractive, dominated by huge, jade green eyes and pouting lips, had a few days' worth of dark stubble lining the jaw. The nose and lips were blue with cold. The man trembled violently, his teeth chattering together.

"Knock that off," he snapped at Gabriel, gesturing to the annoying smoke alarm, his accent Southern Californian, like Gabriel's.

Is it just me or did Gabriel Black, our hero, missed his calling as the token gay member of CSI?

Gabriel, like every author in fiction, has a cabin in the middle of nowhere for him to retreat and write. One winter, this guy, Ethan shows up waving a gun and demanding clothes and all. Gabriel, who claims that he is too soft for his own good, is soon imagining how good it will be to bestow conjugal rights on Ethan too. Gabriel's the bottom, by the way. You can tell from how he burned his toast in the opening sentence of this story because let's face it, only girly gays get to bottom. It's the law.

Okay, the premise has its ridiculous moments and some people may take offense at Ethan insisting that he doesn't want "fag hands" on him even as he and Gabriel do the monkey dance, but the author nonetheless has the dynamics between Gabriel and Ethan done quite right. I'm not sure how the author is going to convince me that these two are in love, however, until she... hmm, shall I reveal this? No, let me just say that nothing is what it seems to be at first in this story.

On one hand, this twist allows the author to cheat when it comes to giving this story a happy ending, but on the other hand, what's the point of writing the story with such a set-up if the author is going to introduce that kind of twist later in the story? It's not even a particularly clever twist, because it does nothing to add to the story. I'd go as far as to the say the twist actually ruins the story because I now feel that I have wasted my time reading what seems like self-indulgent doodling from the author.

Oh, and what the heck is this? I think the author has lost control of her sentences altogether.

"Oh, Ethan," he groaned, unable to help himself. He inched closer on his knees to his pleasurer and the hand on his shoulder slid around his back so he could rest his head on Ethan's shoulder, face turned into his neck, nostrils twitching at the scent of his own aftershave.

Rating: 56

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