Simon Harris has been watching the same guy come into his bookstore each week, buy a book and leave. Not an unusual occurance in a bookstore, but Simon recognizes him. It’s Alexis Manetas, a former high school classmate Simon had been attracted to before graduation. Simon has always loudly proclaimed his bisexuality but never actually dated a man, just women. Now Alexis reappears and all those old feelings come back as well.
Alexis had a huge crush on Simon in high school, something Simon never really acknowledged. After graduating from high school, both men moved on but Alexis never forgot his first love. When his personal circumstances changed, Alexis searched for Simon, hoping to reconnect and finally start the relationship he had always hoped for. With a little manipulation from Simon’s sister-in-law, Jeannie, the men are brought together. As they become reacquainted, Alexis and Simon find their past attraction flaring into passion and their feelings for each other deepen. But Simon has never had a relationship last more than six months and Alexis has a huge surprise in store for Simon in the shape of a small boy, Alexis’ son, Gregory.
Lee Brazil’s The Man Trap is a lovely warm-hearted tale of love given a second chance with some very interesting, nontypical twists. Brazil’s characters have that patina of realism that I appreciate in a story that we have seen told before. Simon is one of the more interesting characters here. He is in his thirties and while he has been adamant about identifying as bisexual, he really hasn’t demonstrated that in real life, serial dating one woman after another. None of his relationships has lasted longer than six months and he readily admits to being self centered and somewhat set in his ways. This is not your warm and cuddly character pining over a lost love. I appreciate Simon’s curmudgeonly ways. It made his struggle towards a real relationship with Alexis seem even more authentic. Alexis is a strongly appealing character too. Brave enough to take a chance on reconnecting with Simon while never losing sight of his priorities. I really liked Alexis and found him every bit as charming as Simon.
The other way Brazil has strayed from the typical child inclusive plotline is that Simon doesn’t really care for children. He doesn’t know how to behave around them,doesn’t relate to them, and never really wanted any of his own. Getting involved with a man who has a child is not on his agenda, even if that man is Alexis. This really strays from most of the books I have read lately where all the men involved want children and jump at the chance to have one in their lives. It’s nice to have an author show the flip side of the coin so to speak. I will let you read the story for yourself to see if Alexis and Gregory can sway Simon to their side but kudos for a nontypical character.
You also have a story involving two bisexual characters. Some may see Simon as more of a “gay for you” persona as he has not really acted on his attractions to men, but this is also not a strictly gay male romance but two men strongly attracted to, maybe even in love with, each other since high school. Whatever your take on this, bisexual or gay for you, Brazil makes it clear that each man has held the other close in their memories. They are hot for each other and always have been.
Brazil’s descriptions, whether they are of a balloon ride over the countryside (which I can attest the author got exactly right), to the wonderful romantic whisperings of love, “I’ve saved up a thousand kisses, thousands of experiences, I only want to share with you, Alexi,” will sweep you into the story and the lives of Simon and Alexis. There is really no depths of angst or high drama, so if you are expecting any, you will be let down. But if you want a sweet tale of two men given a second chance at love, then this is the story for you.
Cover: I love the cover. Cover artist is Victoria Miller. The picture of the hot air balloon is especially nice.