Gays of Our Lives
Emerson Robinette only leaves his apartment to go to work. Occasionally, he will go to a club so he can hook up, but this seems like an itch to scratch rather than something he does for real enjoyment. Since his diagnosis of MS he has lost confidence in himself and his fantasies, especially his fantasies of coming on strong and holding a man down. He really doesn’t think anyone could see him as a strong, forceful sexual partner.
A chance meeting with Obie who dresses differently is happy, open-hearted, and warm changes Emerson’s life in ways he didn’t believe possible. In addition to being a cheerful, honest man, Obie gets his kicks being physically dominated, spanked, and teased until he’s begging. Emerson doesn’t believe in happiness, and he doesn’t see how a man like Obie would settle for a cynic like him.
As far as Obie’s concerned, the only thing keeping them apart is Emerson himself. But when Obie’s smiling at him, Emerson starts to believe anything is possible.
Despite the blurb, which I have incorporated in my opening, there isn’t a lot of on page sex and quite right too. The sex and its expression is intimated; the passion is revealed through words and moods not tab A into slot B encounters. This is a romance. A romance between Emerson and Obie, but it is also a down to earth tale of how someone learns to accept that a life with limitations is also one equally deserving of love, happiness and respect.
Obie is an artist and a hipster but most of all a caring, loving soul. He works hard to make ends meet for him and his friend Mildred (Dred) who is about to have a baby. Dred is an acerbic, lesbian character who loves Obie like a brother and together they are creating a loyal non-traditional family.
This tale shows how ordinary people are in fact unique and extraordinary where love, friendship and family are concerned. Love, romance and joy are not the sole preserve of the healthy, socially accepted, gorgeous, bronzed and six-packed. This refreshing approach worked for me and I enjoyed reading about the lives of these characters.
There are interesting secondary characters both in Emerson’s life as a teacher at a community college, and Obie’s life with Dred and their friends. An undeveloped subplot touches on the murder of a local Drag King. Plus, of course, there is more to be told about the troubled Paolo, the oft-mentioned, absent Aunt Florence and Dred herself. None of these distract from the main story although I did keep waiting for a murderer to be revealed. Gays of Our Lives is the first in the Queers of La Vista series and I suspect my questions will be resolved in future books.
I did read one review that wished the HEA had been longer and more elaborated upon. Personally, I thought the ending was wonderful, especially for the first in a series. Considering Emerson is almost brutal at the beginning of the book – telling the reader they should try to visualise him other than he is – this final paragraph is perfect.
And, really, you don’t have to picture me all that buff. You can picture me with stringy hair, barely strong enough … still probably too bony to be attractive. Just as long as you picture Obie smiling at me. He always, always smiles.