Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Unrequited by Abigail Roux

TITLE: Unrequited
AUTHOR: Abigail Roux
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 34k)
GENRE: Gay contemporary erotic romance
COST: $4.99

Attorney Vic Bronsen has been in love with Owen for the last five years, but settled for their casual sexual relationship and friendship instead. When one last straw proves to be too much, he takes up his best friend Shane’s invitation to take a month off and stay with Shane at the beach. It just remains to be seen if he can be strong enough to move on…

Good stories aren’t always about breathtaking plots, or incredible prose, or high drama. Sometimes, all it takes to make a story good – and even great – are characters that leap from the page and practically act out the story in front of me, they seem that real. This is one of those stories.

It’s not a high action story. It’s a character study more than anything else, with these three men slowly unfolding before my eyes. Vic has been in love with Owen, a cop in town he has a casual sexual relationship with, but Owen is oblivious to his affection. Owen is presented as very in the moment. I never saw him as mean-spirited in his disregard for Vic. Rather, he just doesn’t notice. There’s no malicious intent, which says it all for me. So when Vic decides enough is enough, and accepts Shane’s invitation, I supported his decision as the smart, mature thing to do, even if it’s hard as hell.

Where Vic came to life, however, was in all his interactions with Shane. Their dialogue just crackles. It’s funny, it’s real, and it felt like any number of male friendships I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. It’s probably some of the best dialogue I’ve read all year, and won me over almost from the start. These two acted like friends, treated each other with the same kind of camaraderie I’d expect to see, and yet, as the time they spend together deepens, the growth they make feels perfectly natural. I was even forgiving of the rather manufactured drama that gets introduced towards the end, mostly because I recognized it as necessary to truly resolve the romance. I absolutely loved these two, and rooted for them nearly from their introductions.

Besides the wonderful dialogue, this has some of the most sensual kissing scenes I’ve read this year, too. I didn’t even miss the more explicit scenes, though those came later. I could very well have been satisfied with just the kissing. They were just that good. The whole thing…one of the most satisfying romances I’ve read all year, and it makes me enormously happy to end my 2009 reviews on such a high note.


9/10 – Sparkling dialogue, realistic characters, an easygoing atmosphere, it all sucked me in

Hero #1

9/10 – Funny, real, and smart

Hero #2

8/10 – Warm and real, though I knew what was coming, it didn’t ruin my reaction to him

Entertainment value

9/10 – I totally fell for the friendship they had, flowing so naturally into a romance

World building

8/10 – There’s an entire section of this that details their trip to the beach that brings it all to life



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