Tere Michaels ~ Faith & Fidelity

Tere Michaels ~ Faith & Fidelity
From: Loose Id

Helplessly, Matt sat on the edge of the bed, tentatively reached for Evan’s shoulder again.
Stroked his arm. It was like his dream.
“Don’t leave me okay? I can’t…I can’t do this anymore,” Evan babbled. “I can’t sleep. When I sleep I remember how much blood there was. She’s there and I see the blood.”
“Easy. I’ll stay right here. Don’t worry.”
His hand moved rhythmically up and down. Up and down.
“I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…” Now he was crying.
Matt moved up Evan’s arm to his shoulder. To the back of his head. Thank God it was dark because he didn’t want to see what he was doing. He just wanted to pretend this was a dream.
“Shhh.”
Matt touched his hair, soft under his fingers. The sobs slowed down to deep, wet breaths. He squeezed the back of Evan’s neck softly, sweeping his thumb against the skin. Heard the sigh that Evan made, which sent a hot thrill through Matt’s body.
This wasn’t a dream. Matt’s hand stilled. Oh God. This was going too far. Matt pulled away and the silence swallowed him up. He waited one beat, two. Ten.
“Thanks, Matt.” Evan’s voice came through the darkness. It sounded like a death rattle. “I’m just so fucking tired. I want to go to sleep.”
“Lie down.” Matt reached out and helped Evan back under the covers. “I’m going to sit here okay? Close your eyes.”
More silence. Then a sigh. “Don’t leave.”
“I won’t.”
Matt settled onto the side of the bed where Evan wasn’t. His chest hurt like hell. His fingers burned.
“I…I…”
“What Evan?”
“I don’t mind that you touched me that way. I’m sorry.”
Matt sighed. “Why would you have to be sorry?”
“I shouldn’t feel that way.”
Welcome to the fucking club.
“Evan, go to sleep. Let’s not talk about this now.”
“Why did you touch me like that?”
God. Please. Not. Now.
“Go to sleep, Evan. Please. I can’t do this right now.”
“Are we still friends, Matt?”
“Of course we are. Now go to sleep.”
Evan took his advice and stopped talking, for which Matt was eternally grateful. He laid next to him, listening to him breathe. Listening to the snowplows. Wondering how the hell they were going to face one another in the morning.
And all Matt kept hearing in his head was Evan whispering, “I don’t mind that you touched me that way.” Over and over and over again.

Yeah, I think it was right… about… here… Page 29

*sigh*

OK, I have had it making proclamations about stopping the persistent use of “Gay for you” and “Angst for angst sake” cliches in Contemporary Gay Romance stories so for today Teddypig is ignoring that low hanging fruit that provides such easy fodder and taking you on a special journey inside his mind. I want you to, in some small way, share what twisted things I am thinking when I read books like this.

So let’s leave Matt playing the part of Matt and you gentle reader take Evan’s place in this story.

Evan you are having a nightmare right so Matt comes running into your bedroom at night in the dark and climbs on the bed…

Oops, stop right there. Matt is supposed to be straight and male and so are you so why would Matt not just simply turn the light on to see what is going on and yell at Evan to wake up and go back to sleep? I mean that is how straight guys usually act you know, stand offish, and respecting another guys “space” and all that “straight dude” type behavior.

Anyway, so Evan you are having a nightmare and Matt, who has been secretly dreaming about doing you, runs into your dark bedroom and climbs on the bed and starts absentmindedly giving you a comforting back rub…

Oops, stop right there. When did straight guys start just absentmindedly giving each other comforting back rubs… Never mind!

Anyway, so Evan you start enjoying the comforting back rub and tell Matt not only “not to leave” but how much “you are enjoying the comforting back rub”.

Then Matt stops what he’s doing and rolls over and goes to sleep…

Feel sorta rejected there Evan? Feel a little… oh I don’t know frustrated maybe in some way? I mean you just verbally came right out and told the guy to go ahead and jump your bones and he rolls the hell over.

So Evan, here is my question to you… Would you then run to work the next day leaving your kids with Matt, the straight guy back rub specialist, and have a huge teenage girl type heart to heart with your straight partner of the opposite gender about this “person” who wants to jump your bones and how you are not sure if you are ready for commitment etc etc etc?

When that dude last night obviously sexually rejected you?

Sound sorta desperate and maybe delusional? Not to mention READY FOR COMMITMENT? WTF?

Next Evan, you run home and make a rather obvious pass at Matt while in the kitchen making sure he knows you want him to stick around and HAVE SEX later and after the kids fall asleep you two “straight guys” start kissing but then you get all overly dramatic with denial and you end up kicking Matt to the curb because it’s just too much.

Like some cock teasing fucking Diva. That’s how straight you are!

Sound sorta selfish and mentally unstable so far? I hope so!

I am not even bringing up the uber rare double “Gay for you” cliche-o-rama Tere insists on writing here or the persistent “angst for angst sake” or the constant “hurt and comfort” issues Evan seems to be facing starting with the dead wife and then the childhood abuse and the “momma never loved me” and then the shooting and the child custody concerns and on and on and on.

I am staying away from all that “easy stuff” and simply focusing on the super simple emotional logic and character motivations that are supposed to make the Romance work in the story that make NO FRIGGING SENSE.

I know this book got a ton of good reviews and well sorry, I have not even finished it yet and I have concerns I might never get around to it after Evan kicked Matt out of the house for the second time.

At some point if the writer cannot even sell me the simple traditional Romance at the heart of it all is it really worth ignoring the rest of the sad cliches stinking up the place in a bad CSI New York/Law & Order fan fiction type way?

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"Tere Michaels: Faith & Fidelity" by TeddyPig was published on December 21st, 2010 and is listed in Contemporary, DNF, Gay Romance, Loose Id, Tere Michaels.

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Comments on "Tere Michaels: Faith & Fidelity": 13 Comments

  1. Sunita wrote,

    If you’re having trouble with this one, you probably don’t want to go anywhere near the sequel (Duty & Devotion). Although for selfish reasons, I really hope you do.

    I am laughing so hard at this, because I read this book and really enjoyed it, all the while knowing it was taking place in Bizarro world. I went with the Gay For You X 2 and hung in there through both Matt-evictions and the various crises. The writing is good … I really liked Matt’s character … Ah, screw it, I can’t explain why I liked it but I did, and I read all three in the series, although #3 is a major WTF all the way through. #2 is a bit more normal, but only a bit (they are gay before they meet each other).

    I do think Michaels is a good writer. I hope in her next book(s) she develops characters that bear a little more resemblance to the real-life people they’re supposed to evoke.

  2. TeddyPig wrote,

    Listen I fully understand liking something despite it’s flaws, There are tons of books I like out there that are not perfect in any way but I love them. BUT I admit to their flaws and I am more than willing to point them out and discuss them rationally like an adult.

    I was just amazed at the amount of fannish reviews I read that never mentioned a single one of these major sticking points in this story. Not a single one mentioned the double “gay for you” storyline and just how freaking bizarre the actions of these characters ended up being.

    Then to add more fuel to the fire you see this book show up again and again on top ten lists and well I had to at least state my case for why this is SO NOT the pinnacle of Gay Romance for me.

    When it comes to Contemporary Gay Romance being that I am a contemporary gay character myself I have to have at least a remote chance I can relate even a small bit to the characters in the story and nothing here was even remotely close to reality.

    Let’s face it Evan just was not worth all that drama.

    As I said this was so removed from reality that it felt like fan fiction for some Law & Order TV show. You know that twice removed feeling where you have to understand what character the writer is writing about and what happened last season to understand why they would act that way.

  3. Sunita wrote,

    Oh I totally get what you are saying. These books are crack for me the way JR Ward is crack for some romance readers. I nodded my head at every sentence you wrote and yet, I could probably go back and reread some parts because they were just that enjoyable.

    I read all three over the past couple of months, and I agree that Top 10 is a bit odd, given that Our Heroes do not resemble real humans much. It’s interesting, because they’re not chicks with dicks, exactly. But in a Gay4U storyline, they should at least act like straight guys. And some of the time they exhibit straight guy characteristics. But NOT when they are interacting with each other. Compare their first sexual encounter with the way Jake Riordan reacts to Adrien English when he tries to kiss him. He can’t get over Adrien’s masculinity when the intimacy is emotional as well as sexual. JL conveys that beautifully in about 2 sentences.

    But in F&F, Matt and Evan notice each other’s manliness but it doesn’t weird them out at all. The weirdness is in their heads, not in their tactile sensations. That seems really off to me.

    Also, Evan’s fetish with “what will people think” seemed odd to me. In F&F you can say that it’s so new to him that it’s not necessarily self-hating gay guy. But by #3, there’s no such excuse. Okay, now you HAVE to read #3. Just so I can read the post on it. d

    Speaking of which, I loved your rant on the last couple of Adrien English mysteries. I really liked the way JL got them back from the end of #3, but I totally sympathize with your take. I believe in their HEA, but that’s mostly because I refuse not to.

  4. TeddyPig wrote,

    HAH!

    Oh god, well you probably read all my feelings about Jake Riordan with my last review.

    He was not much of a catch either in my opinion.

    BUT then Josh Lanyon can write like a fiend from hell with talent to burn. Now I never once questioned that Jake was actually “straight” I just thought he was a highly closeted gay jerk who never kissed guys because that would make him sissyfied.

    Like we are just about to find out from certain gay sources that know so is Senator Lindsey Graham.

    “The weirdness is in their heads, not in their tactile sensations.”

    Yes, because it was like they were reading each others minds half the time. I mean even when they “talked” it was never really clearing the air or focusing on a problem but simply to underline their confused emotions.

    Highly masculine guys are problem fixers not emotional sharers

  5. Sunita wrote,

    BUT then Josh Lanyon can write like a fiend from hell with talent to burn.

    You got that right; he really is amazing. If I stop and think about it, I can pick apart both Jake and Adrien as characters. I think if Jake has really grown and learned, he deserves someone less static in his personality than Adrien, and if he hasn’t, then Adrien deserves way better and there will be no HFN let alone HEA. But viscerally, I love them both and refuse to consider anything but a full-fledged HEA. I fall in love with many of JL’s characters, and even more, I fall in love with their relationships. The writing is just so damn seductive. I was more than halfway through my second reading of Fair Game before I realized that Eliot was Not A Very Nice Man, emotionally speaking. But I cared not.

    Lindsey Graham, huh? Oh goody.

    P.S. Congrats on Saturday’s vote, about damn time. It doesn’t wipe away the bad taste of 1993 and DADT in the first place, but hey, I’ll take what we can get.

  6. TeddyPig wrote,

    *sigh*

    OK OK

    You win Sunita I will endeavor to swallow my bile and read the rest of this thing.

    But good god this is not J.L. Langley here.

    Nothing as distinctly warm or fuzzy as any of her characters.

    Why why am I forced to read for the pleasure of others?

    Ay me for aught that I could ever read
    Could ever hear by tale or history
    The course of true love never did run smooth

    And with that baby Evan is a freaking train wreck I am so telling you.

  7. AnneD wrote,

    So…. to be curious, because really I thought it was more of a guy thing vs a straight guy/gay guy thing, that guys tend to – with exceptions- barge through the door, probably trip over something, turn the brightest light on and yell at the guy having a nightmare to ‘shut-the-fuck-up you’re keeping me awake!’

    No?

  8. TeddyPig wrote,

    Well Anne not only that but these are supposedly super masculine straight cops so yeah he should be like whacking the guys ass when they are drunk and probably just yelling at him through the closed door to shut the hell up already da big pussy.

  9. AnneD wrote,

    Phew! Had me thinking I knew a whole different species of ‘men’ somehow. LOL

  10. Emilie wrote,

    Yes, TeddyPig, you certainly are quite the character yourself, no question.

    I read this one quite some time ago, having seen good recommendations for it. I had some issues with it, like that “Gay For You X 2″ (Sunita, I’m totally stealing that, ‘kay?) and the emotional femininity and angst of the relationship and how a former cop becomes a babysitter…I finished it, though. I guess the fans didn’t have a problem with heterosexual characters suddenly becoming gay and “manly” men reacting in a feminine way to each other. It does closely resemble fanfiction, doesn’t it? Matt liking the kids so much and so quickly is more like a common and traditional plot in heterosexual romance, just carried over.

    I thought it was just me with those issues about books like that. I started reading slash fiction a couple of years after I started reading original m/m romance, and it suddenly became clear to me where those tropes came from. I like the authors who have more realism in the relationships. I was a fangirl of Jordan Castillo Price’s before I started working for her. I like that even those of her protagonists who are more flamboyant are still very definitely guys. Many of her books are paranormals, but the characters still behave like real people might react in those weird situations.

  11. TeddyPig wrote,

    “I thought it was just me with those issues about books like that. I started reading slash fiction a couple of years after I started reading original m/m romance, and it suddenly became clear to me where those tropes came from. I like the authors who have more realism in the relationships.”

    Well it’s not that I am saying that writers can NEVER use those tropes or cliches. I am just saying that piling them one after the other onto a Romance because maybe one of them seems to fit in some place in the story does not make things better.

    The Gay Werewolf Romance is home of the acceptable “gay for you” or “straight to gay” storyline because if I can believe men turning into wolves I can believe straights turning into homos. You have to use some sort of magic to do it but it’s available.

    The Gay Historical Romance is home of the “angst for angst sake” storyline because of the whole political intrigue of nobles and the honor of the family tends to show up in these stories so angst is sure to make an appearance. James Lear seems to be steering clear of all that though with his Historical Gay Erotica for the most part so maybe things are going in a different direction.

    And finally where would we be with War Story Romances or Medical Romances without the “hurt & comfort”?

    So these tropes are all there for a purpose in my opinion but they need to be used prudently and with enough of a twist that the author makes them work for the story and the reader instead of sitting there reminding the reader they have read that same type of thing a hundred times before.

  12. Sunita wrote,

    Ah, Teddy, I knew you would take one for the team! I am looking forward to it. Until you listed them, I hadn’t registered that she was piling on the tropes, but of course that’s part of the problem here.

    Emilie, it’s all yours, but I believe the proper written form should be Gay4U x 2.

    Last night I had dinner with my husband and a good friend who’s gay and our age (not young, let us say) and described the book and your reaction. I asked my irredeemably straight but not macho husband how he would wake up a straight male friend who was having a nightmare. His answer, and I quote (imagine a slightly raised voice), “Dude, you’re dreaming, wake up! Have a beer.” When I asked him if he thought a backrub might be in order, he shook his head and looked slightly queasy.

    Our friend was laughing too hard to answer.

  13. Why stop at Gay4U? More tropes where Twu Wuv conquers all | VacuousMinx wrote,

    [...] but I read them if they’re by authors I trust, and I have a couple that have some seriously WTF aspects on my Guilty Pleasures virtual bookshelf. As a rule, though, the trope makes me uncomfortable and I [...]

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