Dreamspinner Press, 2010
Self-absorbed Aidan Montgomery knows what he wants: a life of luxury and material wealth. To get it he's stumping on the campaign trail for Senator Philip Brenton and carrying on a rather perfunctory affair with him to boot. The senator is his ticket to better living, and Aidan is content not to look too closely at Brenton's back room business dealings.
When discrepancies over property lines for a new casino development in the senator’s district surface, axe man Rafe McCafferty becomes an unwilling participant in the dispute. A suspicious accident on the logging company owner’s job site draws Aidan and Rafe into murky plans that threaten not only their jobs, but Aidan's shallow lifestyle and his vision for the future. There are no clear-cut answers for either of them, that is, until they have to unite for their own survival.
Genre & Keywords:
M/M romance, Contemporary, Politics
Rating: 3.25 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2 out of 3 flames
Why I read it:
I received a review copy from the publisher
This short novella is about two guys that are unlikely to hook up but when they do, their (perspective on) life alters. With a premise like that and given the short amount of time they have for the mutual life-changing influence, a great deal of suspending of disbelieve is involved. Luckily the backblurb prepared me a bit so I could anticipate the change, at least that of self-absorbed and shallow Aidan.
As much as I like the idea of this concept it fell a bit flat for me in this book. The author couldn’t convince me completely why Aidan and Rafe are made for each other, let alone have that kind of impact on one another. At the same time the physical part of their relationship is more convincing. Their love scenes bring a nice mix of hotness and tenderness.
Aidan’s and Rafe’s romance is set in a political background story. Aidan is working on the campaign team of a Senator with whom he also shares a bed, as attracted as he is to luxury and wealth. It turns out that this Senator has some secrets, and at this point in the story Rafe gets involved, unaware how much of a threat he is to the Senator’s secrets. This political storyline felt rather predictable and at times even cliché. But it brings the two heroes together and their first ‘meeting’ was pretty amusing: Aidan observes Rafe through a pair of binoculars while the man is jerking himself off in the back of his truck. When they finally meet for real the attraction ignites.
I’m not sure what to think of the author’s writing style. The pleasure with which he apparently has written this story was palpable but his enthusiasm also made me stumble over the adjectives and adverbs, especially in the beginning. After a while I got used to it but the prolixity kept occasionally pulling me out of the story. I guess I like a more to the point kind of writing style better, but I know this is a very subjective argument and it’s probably even depending on the mood I’m in. Additionally the writing tended to be descriptive, particularly when feelings were involved, it leaned towards telling rather than showing.
Although this novella has a few characteristics that were not to my taste, I think it has to offer some good things too. It has two interesting, sexy main characters who are not typical romance heroes. Their development from who they are to who they want to be, brings a nice touch to their relationship. The sexy scenes were hot and the action scenes were compelling enough. And the ending is satisfying for those readers who want their protags to have a (potentially) happily ever after.
Even while the reading process itself didn’t progress as smoothly as I would’ve liked, I spent an enjoyable hour with this book.
Braden Williams’s website | on Goodreads
Buy Gone Stumping here