A warm welcome to author Reece Pine joining us today to talk about first release “In Your Court”.
Welcome Reece 🙂
In Your Court sees Californian college grad Ray helping out at a special needs school in Vietnam for a week, where he finds himself flirting with by Xin, a multilingual businessman who happens to be staying there too. Ray’s there specifically to enjoy coaching a bit of basketball and his back condition can barely cope with that much excitement, but he figures he can admire the scenery of both Ho Chi Minh City and Xin.
That becomes tougher to do as the week passes. If you’re not physically comfortable, you can’t focus on anything else, and Ray’s squarely stuck at the bottom rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This is partly his fault, since he’s deliberately over-exercising despite knowing it’ll hurt him worse tomorrow. But while he’s been willing to sell himself out for his first love, basketball, romance is a different matter. He’s sure he only likes sex a bit rough, and he’s not ready to risk a mediocre encounter, a high likelihood of pain, or heartbreak for anyone. Which is where Xin’s negotiating expertise comes in…
I love finding m/m romances with disabled characters, where I can identify with the fact that their trials on the way to a HEA incorporate the disability they can never disregard, no matter how much they’d like to. So I’d like to share here my top five m/m romances featuring physically disabled or chronically ill main characters who, like Ray, never “overcome” or “embrace” their disability – they just get on with life.
- Speechless by Kim Fielding, which has a love interest with Broca’s aphasia. His comprehension of what’s being said is a hundred percent, but he can’t speak fluently back. I’ve personally dealt with aphasia, so I was super excited to find both this and its novella sequel.
- NEG UB2 by Rick R Reed, with a lead who has just been diagnosed HIV positive and starts doubting his new relationship. This book’s a sequel that’s as romantic as the original, and the fact the protagonist is older gives him a lot of interesting baggage to unpack.
- Handle With Care by Jospehine Myles. The lead character is on dialysis after complications arising from diabetes. He never slips into major self-pity, having a pragmatic outlook instead, and his clumsy crush is adorable.
- Bound by Amelia Bishop, with paraplegic sub Adrian getting back on the dating horse and then into scenes with a physical therapist. Adrian so cutely bossy, and his self-consciousness when naked speaks real.
- Blind Faith by NR Walker. Blind love interest Isaac is stubborn as hell and takes so long to warm up to veterinarian Carter that it seems like a slow burn romance, despite the sex in the interim.
- Special mention: David’s Dilemma by Lynn Lorez. I saw this just came out and am going to get stuck into it, as the portrayal of the lead’s father’s progression with Alzheimer’s disease looks beautifully done.
If you know of any other great m/m romances that depict disability or chronic illness well, please recommend them to me!
I swivel my whole body on my chair to face him, unable to turn otherwise, but I’m only stiff, not hurting. It was a great idea to get drunk tonight. I should keep drinking until I’m back on a plane. Long since excluded from real conversation as everyone lapsed into Vietnamese, I feel I’m floating on surging waves just past a break, nice and calm and alone, and now Xin’s here too. I giggle and slur, “You relax, mate.”
“Say that again?”
I grin and shake my head in an ellipse.
“You’re hammered,” he remarks with surprise. “Sneaky bastard. Thanks for the excuse.” Announcing he’s taking me home, we slowly do the rounds of farewelling all the staff, and I only stumble over my feet once, blaming the imbalance of my left leg, which has started to swell up a bit around the insect bite. No one buys it, but at least they don’t attribute my limp to anything more sinister than being tipsy. Certainly not to the coring acid oozing its way down both sciatic nerves in my thighs.
“Shit’s gonna be shit in the morning,” I chirp happily to Xin.
“Drink some water, you’ll be fine.”
I cackle at how cute his concern is. The wide, linear streets of the central broadway are strung with unlit lights, garlands, and decorations that put LA’s Christmas light display to shame.
“Just like home.” Xin smiles at my gawking.
“Really?” Singapore must be bitching. Or Sydney. Whatever. I step on Xin’s heel to get his attention. “Now I’m looking forward to seeing your airport.”
We didn’t play enough basketball today, so as soon as we breach the school’s gate, I lure Xin out onto the cement court with a lopsided leer. We have to keep it down for everyone in the dorms and for Phuong, I know, but it doesn’t hurt to mime dribbling. Muscle memory happily spins me on a dime and I whirl past Xin to sink an imaginary basket. I roughhouse him, blocking his back when he moves to turn around, but the difference in our height, weight, stability, and sobriety gives him the upper hand to drag mine into our room.
“Xin.” I discover something about his name. It’s really fun to say, because it starts with a parted lip out and can stretch into the widest, cheesiest grin.
“Xin.” The sound of swords clashing, which is exactly what I’m envisioning.
In Mandarin, the symbol for Xin’s name means ‘believe.’ Believe me, I would love to. In geographically close Vietnam, it evolved to mean sincere. Xin chao, ‘Sincerely hello.’ Xin chuc mung, ‘Sincerely congrats.’
Xin is sincere… and sincerely hot, searing my skin, scorching my soul—Jesus, I really am deep in trouble, up to my magnetized eyeballs in it, since I sincerely want Xin deep in me. Light me on fire with sin, Xin, put me out of my misery and pull me into yours, douse me pure with a kiss, fucking baptize me and hold me under until I drown.
“Xin,” I repeat, a plea this time, head tilted, the room tilting further and faster as I lean toward him, tipping forward on leaden toes too numb to be nimble. The low ceiling is spinning in lazy pirouettes as if it were adorned with the fan it so desperately needs. It spills burbling shadows down the walls that ripple like the surface of a still pond or clean pool. Nothing could cool my roaring blood right now. I don’t remember the last time Xin blinked, which is a strange thing to notice, I think, as I get so dizzily lost in his black eyes, I have to close mine. And start to lose my balance.
He has me up against the wall I crashed backward into.
“Ah. I swooned. Is that relaxed enough?”