Love and Other Hot Beverages.
Laurie Loft; LOVE AND OTHER HOT BEVERAGES; Riptide Publishing (Fiction: Romance) 19.99 ISBN: 9781626495975
Byline: Claire Foster
This novel includes a frank and important discussion of emotional relationship abuse.
How do you fit a hunky construction worker back into the closet? Very carefully. Todd is recently brokenhearted, out of a tough relationship, and in Colorado. He misses queer culture: home meant "working construction, meant pretending to his parents that he had a girlfriend, meant shame and guilt and inward seething." Translation: not fun.
The one thing that lightens his days is SebastiA n, the office boy at his work site. Brought together by their love of good coffee -- not to mention some sexual attraction -- the two men begin a relationship. Are they in it for each other, or is it just an escape from their toxic exes? Love and Other Hot Beverages is an emotional M/M romance that takes on heavy themes of emotional abuse in LGBTQ relationships.
As Todd and SebastiA n sift through their respective emotional baggage and their attachment issues, their sexual attraction deepens as well. In one particularly moving scene, Todd leaves an Al-Anon meeting, only to find that his ex is ready to try dating again. Parents, coworkers, and friends add a nice, nontraditional angle to this romance.
Characters do not always ring true, though the author strives for authenticity, and characterizations are sometimes heavy-handed and stereotypical. This undermines the plot's emotional arc and can make sex scenes feel clinical and flat.
Importantly, Love and Other Hot Beverages includes a frank discussion of emotional abuse in LGBTQ relationships, and the fallout of either leaving them or staying in them. Todd and SebastiA n both grapple with the push-me-pull-you dynamic, all along reaching for something better within themselves and in each other.