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Alex Palmer writes the “Dear Alex” Agony Uncle column for Meant for Men – a magazine aimed at gay men’s life and issues. What started as a genuine and ground-breaking feature has become a snark fest, due to Alex’s boredom and personal cynicism. His respect for the correspondents has dwindled away in direct relation to his own self-respect as a journalist. He no longer believes in his readers’ search for a soulmate, or in his own column’s headline: “Is He Really the One?”
In the early days, Robbie Cooke was Alex’s co-presenter on the magazine. They’d been lovers, too. But unlike Alex, Robbie still sees the anguish and need behind the letters they receive. He wants to help the writers, rather than turn their situations into journalistic entertainment. He and Alex may still have to work together, but their fundamental disagreement on how to run the column tore them apart as romantic partners.
Excess drinking and a succession of casual lovers is wearing Alex out, yet he’s in denial. He’s convinced he doesn’t need “Dear Alex” to set him straight about what’s wrong with his life. But when he’s alerted to the fact that Robbie may be in danger, he realises that what he’s really missing is his ex-lover’s care, compassion and love. The problem is, by the time Alex is desperate to make amends, Robbie may have already moved on.
This was originally published in the Dreamspinner Press anthology “Make Me a Match”.
I am always in awe of the author who can write a short story and nail it. Give me all the emotions, all the development and all the intimacy I need with only a few pages. This being my first read from the author, I am impressed and in love with the way she writes. I am hooked.
This story was an easy read. From the first page and first letter we get of a confused man writing to Dear Alex for advice, we get to see the boys interact. Alex has become cynical and arrogant in his replies to his readers. It’s expected of him now and it’s how he operates. But Robbie, he doesn’t go for the cynical or the cold hearted. Robbie is a romantic and believes that these aren’t just letters but real people behind the letters and should be treated with respect. Yet, when a minor argument brews between them on where the column should be headed and a random touch of hands happens, things start to happen.
Right away I was on board with Alex and Robbie. I felt the tension between them as partners in work and as past lovers. It was believable, real and came off the page with a burst of angst to smack me in the face. Not hard but enough that I wasn’t going to stop reading until I was done.
We get enough back story of each man to know where they were and how they get to be in this position. We know that they had a relationship but Alex was kinda power hungry and thought he needed to be the tough guy and not what Robbie needed. We know that all Robbie has ever wanted or needed, was Alex. Day in and day out the work together, closely together… see… the angst? Ugh.
It was fun to go on hookups and dates with Alex and have him ramble on without realizing he was giving himself away. The last bit with the guy built like a construction worker was cringe worthy but what it gives Alex was swoon worthy. I loved that he was almost accepting of his true feelings and a call to check on Robbie from their boss makes him take notice and take action.
The whole scene at Robbie’s place melted me into a puddle of goo. Goo I tell you, goo that got hot real quick. *nods* Mmm Hmm.
This was a wonderful read. From the first page to the last, I loved it. It gave me the setup, laid out the history of the boys and gave them a reason to give in and try again. What’s better than second chance love? Le Sigh. It was all so well done and really so damn hot that I am so prepared to read more from the author. If she can have me sighing, squirming and hugging my Nook in bed when I finished this, a short story, I can’t wait to see what else she can bring.