Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
They Do is a fun collection of short stories celebrating a variety of weddings where the only similarity are the grooms, yes grooms. Same sex marriage is gaining legal status state-by-state, and the stories in They Do celebrate all of the different couples who are choosing to express their love for each other, along with family and friends, and what’s a wedding without a few unexpected surprises?
With seven short stories that will make you laugh, cringe and question some of the characters sanities, the one guarantee is a HEA for all.
Put a Ring On It, a Hammer Club story by Sean Michael
Billy and Montana have been a D/s couple for years but are struggling with communication issues. They have become complacent, even sloppy in their relationship and need to rediscover their spark.
This story left me wanting more — more of Billy and Montana, more of their friends, and lucky me, there is an entire series by Sean Michael featuring these characters. As a standalone short story, I found this a bit challenging to get into because of the history that I am not privy to (yet).
Building Us by Lynn Townsend
Nothing says permanence like a home. Temple has just finished building Eric’s new home and wants Eric to hammer in the last nail as a symbolic gesture. While on the roof, Temple surprises Eric with a ring and a proposal for a happily ever after, until the Eric drops the ring off the roof. Is this an omen of things to come?
I have always loved an opposites attract story and find that the professor and the construction foreman angle can never be overdone. I did notice the editing was a bit off, and found that there was no defined conflict, but enjoyed the story nonetheless.
Hold Your Peace by Lazuli Jones
Terrence’s best man, Michael, is concerned about Terrence’s upcoming wedding to Brandon, due to Brandon’s verbally abusive behavior. Michael’s not so secret attraction to his friend does not help matters either. Although Michael has admitted his attraction to Terrence in the past, Terrence would never betray his lover.
Best friends, abusive lovers, and the chance to make either a healthy decision or a potentially disastrous one kept me on the edge of my seat right up to the end.
Tony’s Tiaras by Berengaria Brown
Gay marriage is now legal and although Tony and Josh have not discussed it, the subject of marriage is on both their minds, but for very different reasons as Tony’s sister is trying to get married and everything seems to be going wrong for her, dragging Tony into the Bridezilla wedding madness.
This was definitely a cautionary tale about overblown weddings. It also shows how sometimes the best results come out of the worst situations. Tony and Josh were a fun couple of guys with the patience of saints and they definitely get what they deserve by the end of the wedding.
Having His Cake by Genna Donaghy
Caterer and cake artist extraordinaire, Matt Strauss, hooks up with “The Brawny man” at a club days before the biggest and most important wedding of his career. Unfortunately, the groom and Brawny appear to be one in the same. Matty can’t cater the wedding under these circumstances. It was bad enough when it was only the groom’s openly homophobic father in the picture, a groom on the down low is the last straw.
I can’t say much about this story without giving away the best part but I will say that Matt was a great character, continuously trying to balance his moral code with the needs of his small business, and the well being of all. Matt shows such caring for the bride and his own staff, and outrage at the injustices he sees all around him.
Always a Groomsman by M. Durango
After years of watching his straight friends get married with no issue or animosity, Doug is now jealously watching his gay friends tie the knot, and he feels empty and truly is “always a groomsman.” Missing flowers and a homophobic family member keeps Doug on his toes, but it turns out that someone is interested in Doug, yet he is too oblivious to realize it. Perhaps Doug’s time has finally come.
Durango created some good, enjoyable characters, and although the premise of the story was a little over the top, it still worked from my perspective, though I will admit that the ending was a bit of a stretch to me.
Lake Effect by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese
Kyle and Dan have a 9-year age difference and families that are less than supportive, not just about the wedding, but about the boys’ relationship in general. The stress and tension of being home, dealing the wedding, and with their less than understanding and supportive families, leave Kyle on the brink of losing it.
This story had good characters that made me smile and cringe, and smile some more. For a short story, I was impressed by the depth of Kyle and Dan’s characters and found that the family members added just the right amount of tension and frustration to what can be a nerve wracking event to begin with. I would have liked to see more of Kyle and Dan’s friends from Pittsburgh as a way to counter-balance the familial stress.
They Do is a sweet collection of stories, and as is normal in anthologies, some stories were stronger and better defined than others. I was happy with how all of the authors managed to bring a feeling of depth to their MCs, and pleased that some of the secondary characters were also well developed. Short stories pose the challenge of packing a lot of punch into a small, beautifully wrapped package. In the end, all of the stories gave me the HEA that I was looking for, regardless of the twists and turns on the road to marital bliss.