Reviewed by Chris
AUTHOR: Aidan Wayne
PUBLISHER: NineStar Press
LENGTH: 120 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2017
Between raising his daughter Camille, his work as a full-time pastry chef, and his hobby of capoeira, Baz’s life is pretty full. He may be a little lonely, but he’s too busy to think about it all that much.
When his cousin Alaina introduces him to Terry, another capoeira student, Baz is instantly drawn to him. Though quiet and withdrawn, Terry ends up being a fun, interesting person who Baz can’t help but fall for. And when Baz does things, he doesn’t do them halfway.
Terry is a successful voice actor and a talented martial artist. But the fact that he’s shy, on top of being a trans man, has kept him from really dating. He likes Baz, he does—he just doesn’t want to mess up their friendship by failing at romance. Still, Baz is nothing if not stubborn, and Terry is willing to give things a try.
Between his daughter, his job as a pastry chef, and his friends from his martial arts training, Baz’s life isn’t half bad. At least he doesn’t think so. Then Terry walks into his life and Baz can’t help but admit that while he is certainly content with the hand he has been dealt, he is also missing something. Whether that something is Terry, Baz doesn’t know, but he would sure like to find out. Terry is fun, if a bit shy, and Baz lights up when he is around the man. He kinda hopes he might do the same for Terry. But Terry is reluctant to start anything, and Baz has no clue how to show that giving him a chance could be the best thing to happen to either of them in a long time.
Aidan Wayne has easily entered the list of authors I check up with constantly to see if they have anything new out. This is the third novella of theirs I have reviewed for the blog, and I once again say that I found the story very enjoyable. A bit lighthearted, to be sure, but that is not actually a bad thing when you’ve had to review several books with rather heavy content lately.
I did really like how Terry was handled here, though. I love that Terry was not the typical trans male you see in these kinds of stories. Most of the time authors show trans people post-transition and pretty much “passing” in most regards. And while I think those are cool stories, it is kinda nice to see a character that is not on T. As someone who has pretty much put off medically transitioning till some point in the future, I like seeing that authors are willing to show that there is more than one way to be transgender. And the fact that Terry decided that in order to keep his job as a voice artist he would have to come off T was depressing, but it was also something that trans people have to go thru. Maybe not this exact situation, but sometimes life isn’t fairytale where someone waves a wand and suddenly everything is changed for the better. Sometimes hard choices are made and you have to live the best life you can with what you’ve got. The fact that Terry isn’t on hormones doesn’t make him any less trans or any less male, it just means that he has to fight a little bit harder for people to recognize that he is. That really speaks to me, and I’m glad the author decided to go that direction with this character.
And on nearly the same note, I really liked that Terry didn’t know how he would react to sex with Baz. I just…look, I am really thrilled to gets trans characters who are not just victims and who are instead strong and awesome. I like stories where they get to be the heroes and the ass-kickers. I do. But I also like stories where they get to be human and unsure. I don’t want them to be doormats, but sometimes it is nice to see that trans characters don’t always have to have their shit together. Mostly because I am by far the least “together” person out there. So the fact that Terry didn’t know what he wanted in regards to sex, or a lot of things that most people probably have figured out by his age, it hits home. And yeah, I just really enjoy seeing characters who a kinda like me get their own HEAs.
I will say though that the plot did tend to meander a bit. So while I really enjoyed the actual characters, there didn’t seem to be a lot at stake with the relationships. Baz is a bit too much of a perfectly decent, totally accepting guy. Which probably shouldn’t be a bad thing, but I found it a bit bland. I think I needed a bit more conflict in this story that wasn’t directly related to Terry’s issues. I also wish the martial arts aspect hadn’t petered out about halfway thru the story. All this pretty much means that while the story was enjoyable it also lacked momentum, and while not a long story by any means, didn’t have the draw that could push me to keep turning pages.
This is probably not my favorite of the authors stories, but I do still really like it. Terry was a really great character, and I was thrilled to read about a trans character that is a bit outside the “norm.” Not a gotta-buy-it-now, but for a light trans romance, it does its job fairly well.