Reviewed by Chris
AUTHOR: Aidan Wayne
PUBLISHER: Riptide Publishing
LENGTH: 79 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 12, 2016
John loves his job as head rigger for Cirque Brilliance. The heavy scarring over half his face makes it a little hard to meet new people, but John’s got a good crew and a nice found family, and he’s content with his lot in life.
When Cirque hires talent for a new show, John meets Bao, a bright, ever-cheerful acrobat. Bao seems drawn to John and becomes a constant presence at his side—talking to him during downtime, spending time with him at lunch, and generally seeking out his company.
John doesn’t know what to make of this. Sure, he likes Bao—maybe a little too much, honestly—but he’s had enough experience to know that Bao couldn’t possibly like him back. Or so he thinks, anyway. Fortunately, Bao seems determined to prove him wrong.
Running off to join the circus may be a joke to many people, but for John it ended up being a lifesaver. After many years working under the big tent, he has come to find that the family he has made there is so much more loving than the one that left him with scars and more than a few self-image issues. With a new season starting, and with new tricks and new people coming in, John has his work as a rigger cut out for him. Especially with hints that more water stunts might be added to the production. Determined to keep all the performers under him safe, John works extra hard to make sure they have everything they need. He just never foresaw that what Bao, one of the new cast members, needs is John himself.
After reviewing Loud and Clear, Aidan Wayne’s first novella, I’ve been waiting to see what they come up with next. And after having read Counterbalance, I am still completely sure that this author has a great future in writing ahead of them. This novella was completely sweet and I loved every second of it.
Boa comes across as a bit of an overactive puppy to begin with, but I find his enthusiasm to be a great, well, counterbalance, to John’s more standoffish nature. The way Boa just wiggles his way into John’s life, without hesitation but also with care, just made me want to oooh and ahhh all over the place. I kinda get why John is so reticent to just throw himself back at Boa, but the way he can’t seem to not cling just a little bit whenever the guy is around just melted my heart.
Honestly this book was just all things sweetness and light, but with a very solid core. The characters were very well written, and that made it so that all the rather silly bits had real heart to them. I am thoroughly charmed by this story and this author. I can’t wait to see what they do next.