I consider myself fairly open-minded, but there are certain topics that never interested me, ideas that I didn't really care to read about. However I surprised myself recently with one of the books I read. It was based on a review I read, and the review was so compelling, and so in favor of this story and how well-written it was that I decided to give it a chance. It was an ebook, which is not my preferred method of reading, but I will download stories from a select few. In this instance, I made an exception.
The book is called "The Assignment", and as you can see by the cover, there are two men on it. Yep, just two men. No women. At all. Anywhere. And so that's how the story progresses. It's a romance between two men. And that's the operative word: romance. That's exactly what it was. And it was one that drew me in right from the beginning of the story.
See, one of my favorite plotlines is best friends who fall in love. The idea of developing feelings for someone you know so well, someone you already care for, well, that's down-right irresistible. And in this particular scenario, it was no different. Nick Valenti is a rich boy who rejected becoming a doctor or a lawyer in favor of becoming a cop. Him and his partner Sean O'Brien have been best friends for years, and have been through everything together, including Nick's divorce and several dangerous situations in the line of duty, and spend their weekends relaxing by hooking up with the ladies. Now Nick realizes that he's fallen in love with Sean, and he doesn't know what he's going to do. How can Sean, the straightest guy he's ever known, even want to be friends with him if he found out?
This story was romantic, but not sappy. No hearts and flowers, but honest, intense emotion from two people who already care for each other. And the love scenes were hot. As in "turn up the a/c and have an ice-cold drink nearby" type of hot. As in "squirm in your seat" hot. As in "wow, these are two guys doing it and oh-my-god I'm digging it!" hot. Two men. Together. In bed. Wow. Who knew? Certainly not me.
Now get this: from what I've read in blogland (and even expressed an opinion on), this is a sexual fantasy many women have. I just never thought I was one of them, until I read this story. Of course it helped that I imagined these guys as looking really hot, and not to have any stereotypical homosexual tendencies. They were alpha males with strong, muscular bodies, a sexy swagger and probably an air of arrogance. I imagined them shooting hoops, lifting weights, drinking beer. The image worked for me, and I ended up really enjoying the story, and breathing a happy sigh at the HEA, just like I would for any well-written traditional romance.
Did my reaction surprise me? Totally. But I can deal. I mean, it's not like I had any religious objections to it because I believe in letting people live their lives and I don't believe for a second that love between consenting adults is wrong. God is just not that way, at least not the God I believe in - He/She is about love, not hate. No, my surprise was based on my own orientation and experiences. But as I've learned, not all fantasies are ones that you act on, or even really want to. Some things are better left to the imagination anyway.
So I don't know if I will actively seek this kind of story out the next time I am looking for something new to read, but at least now I know I wouldn't immediately turn away from it. I found it to be a very sexy story, and one that tugged at my heartstrings. Any story worth a reader's time would be able to do that. Those are the best kinds of stories, imo. I also think it worked so well because Ms. Anderson concentrated more on the emotion and made the reader care for the characters as their story progressed. Without that connection, it would have just been gratuitous sex, and I probably would have hated the story if that was all there was to offer. Fortunately, it wasn't. Ms. Anderson wrote a wonderfully romantic story that just happened to be between two men.
Has this ever happened to you: you've read something you never thought you'd ever read and you ended up really enjoying the subject. Or maybe you enjoyed the way it was written. Whatever. Bottom line - it was a revelation. Please feel free to share and offer up recommendations if you feel that strongly about it. I'm looking forward to your response(s).