Release Date: June 26, 2018
Received From: Review requested by the author
In a world of soulmates, what happens when you fall in love with someone you weren’t destined for?
Newly promoted Nicholas Carson has just moved to an upscale neighborhood in a seaside town. But despite his new life, everything seems drab and dull and colorless until he meets Brylant Harrigan at a local bar one night. He’s never fallen for a guy before, but something about Bry seems strangely attractive, and hauntingly familiar. Nicholas is sure he’s straight, yet he can’t seem to stay away from the other man, as if they’re bound together somehow. There’s something about Bry that makes his formerly dull days seem brighter and more colorful. For the first time in Nicholas’ prosaic, ordinary life, everything seems vivid.
The only problem is that Bry’s just found his soulmate… and it isn’t Nicholas.
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: biromantic
TROPES: gay for you / bi for you, soulmates / fated mates
TAGS: adult, contemporary, paranormal, romance, queer romance, queer characters
WARNINGS: nonbinary exclusionary language, aro exclusionary language, anti-polyamory, cheating, ableism
The concept of soulmates is interesting to me because there is so much room to play with creating different mythos, instead of just going with your standard “One True Mate” concept. I was hoping that this book was going to do that, based on the blurb, but in the part that I read, it just seemed to reinforce the old, tired version of soulmates.
I decided not to finish this book because of this reason–the way the author set up her soulmate/fated mates world. It is very clearly stated and reiterated that you have one soulmate and the person who shares your soulmate Mark is the right person for you. This idea leaves little to no room for polyamorous people to exist in the narrative, or for the concept that Fate could be wrong in who they chose as your soulmate. This is fine, in theory, but these kind of exclusions would be enough for me to stop reading, and the continued relationship between the two main characters just cinched it for me. Because of the way the narrative is set up, with Nicholas not being Bry’s mate, the continued flirting and sexualized interactions between the two of them feels too much like cheating, which is just generally not an overall pleasant thing to read.
And Frost could’ve very easily fixed this by either making Bry polyamorous or working out some other narrative plan, but the fact that there’s clearly no room for this in the world she’s created makes it for a difficult and unsavory reading experience.
Also, I was really uncomfortable with the way that Bry treated Nicholas’ sexuality in the 30% that I read. Knowing that this is an M/M book, it’s clear that the two are going to end up together, but the novel opens with Nicholas still thinking he’s allocishet. This story was clearly moving in a Gay For You/Bi For You direction, which is harmful enough in and of itself, but it was really gross the way Bry kept trying to force Nicholas to realize he’s no quite as allocishet as he thought. Bry continually flirts, propositions, and tries to kiss Nicholas and just generally doesn’t treat Nicholas’ sexuality and his own discovery of it with the care that it deserves.
Meg Harris is a busy mom who spends her spare moments dreaming up worlds a little sexier than the one in which she drives kids around, runs to the grocery store, does endless loads of laundry, and scrubs the kitchen floor. Her chosen profession involves a great deal of time dedicated to imagining sweaty, gorgeous men in the throes of passion, as well as long hours spent poring over pictures of beautiful male chests in the pursuit of the perfect cover. It’s a tough job, but she’s willing to bear the hardships… all for her readers, of course!
Meg also writes m/m erotic romance as Gem Frost.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org