Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A Trope Down Memory Lane: Bridge Over Troubled Water

Guys can be vulnerable. Usually, the younger they are, the more vulnerable they can be. But even the most alpha of men can find themselves waist-deep in doodoo, whether it's of their own making or the result of someone else's machinations. At times like this, caring, determined support proves invaluable. It often comes in unexpected ways, from unexpected sources -- like unconventional heroes whose inner strength shines in times of crisis.

Below are three contemporaries, two with a paranormal elements, in which the patience, persistence, and courage of unassuming men become the salvation of those they love.

Bastards and Pretty Boys

A lakeside summer idyll, a budding romance . . . and jealousy gone horribly awry.

Charles Larkin is finally happy with his life.  For the most part.  He’s happy with his new summer getaway—a rustic cottage he just bought on a small Wisconsin lake.  He’s happy that his ex-wife, whom he divorced because he couldn’t play straight anymore, has become one of his best friends. He’s happy he can breathe again.

It’s only Kenneth, Charlie’s boyfriend of five months, who makes this new life less than completely satisfying.  Charlie feels they’ve never been quite right for each other, and Kenneth cements that conviction when he makes a disturbing confession.  Charlie knows their time together is quickly coming to an end.  Problem is, Kenneth doesn’t know it. And he tends to be rather possessive.

Planning to spend a quiet, relaxing two or three weeks at his cottage, Charlie is less than thrilled to notice that his nextdoor neighbor is one hell of a looker.  He doesn’t need that kind of distraction.

Only, Booker isn’t going anywhere, and he isn’t that easily ignored. And neither is his unexpected, none-too-savory baggage. And neither, for that matter, is Charlie's. But when two people care enough about each other, they figure out how to help carry such baggage . . . or cast it aside.

* * *

What happens to a young man's self-image, and his sex life, when he wakes up one morning to see his good looks significantly altered for the worse?  Three twenty-something gay friends--an embalmer, a performance coach, and a literary agent--find out the answer when they hit on the wrong patron of a club one night.

Todd, Fallon, and Jake, aka the Hunt Club, think they're pretty damned hot. As a result, their standards for worthwhile hook-ups are appallingly superficial. The men aren't total jerks; they just need an adjustment in perspective. And they get it, in spades, from a mysterious stranger who's sick of seeing his beautiful partner pawed by dogs.

There’s no medical explanation for the hideous rash that erupts on the trio overnight. Doctors can’t even detect it, much less cure it. Still, the Hunt Club’s mirrors reflect ravaged faces, and the toned, handsome guys they normally pursue now shun them.

As the vulnerability that’s always lurked beneath their vanity begins to surface, Todd, Fallon, and Jake begin to see themselves and potential partners in a new light. Little did they know that in the eyes of three ordinary, overlooked men on the sidelines of their lives, it's always been the heart that’s mattered far more than the hot.

* * *

Carny's Magic

Carny Jessup here. Let me tell you a little about myself. The best part of my life began when my aunt’s homophobic squeeze smashed his fist into my face. This time, I didn't just take it. I already knew a wizard named Jackson Spey lived on my side of town, so I figured I’d turn things around by becoming his apprentice.

Problem was, Spey didn’t want an apprentice. He was going through a midlife crisis. All he wanted was to build beautiful furniture and live in peace with his beautiful husband, Adin. He still took me in, though. Guess he felt sorry for me. And he was really intrigued by the red paths I’d been seeing in the air.

Hey, I’m only 19, so how could I have foreseen the rest? That I’d fall for a breathtaking boy named Peter, who was at the center of some strange magic tied to Jackson’s past. And I’d have to deal with a sorcerer named Bezod, an evil pig who plagued all four of us and threatened to destroy our relationships.

Sometimes you just have to fight for what’s right. Like love. I might’ve been new to the boyfriend gig and Jackson might’ve been a reluctant wizard, but when the time came, we were ready to kick some supernatural ass.  

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