Dave came out when he was 15, but he has always worked hard not to be one of “those gays.” As long as he still fits into stereotypically manly behavior and avoids hanging out with people who are overtly gay or femme, he will be all right. That is what was drummed in to him as a child, and that is how he gets by now.
One night Dave meets a gorgeous woman at a bar and finds himself strangely attracted to her. Dave has always felt quite clearly in the homo camp so his attraction to Lee is very confusing for him. Until after a couple of meetings Lee reveals that he is actually a man who likes to occasionally dress in women’s clothing.
At first Dave is shocked and freaked out. He can’t understand why Lee would want to wear dresses, he is worried about being with someone so overtly gay, and he is angry that Lee didn’t come clean sooner. But before long Dave realizes that he really likes Lee, more than enough to overlook those other things. As the guys spend more time together, Dave finds his mind opening in surprising ways. He realizes he doesn’t really care so much when Lee wears makeup or dresses up. He begins to open his mind to the idea that there is not one way to be gay, and that he doesn’t much care what people think about him. After years of anonymous hookups, Dave is finally realizing that what he wants might be a life with the man he is growing to love.
You Are the Reason is the second book in Renae Kaye’s The Tav series, following the fabulous The Blinding Light. Dave has a small appearance in that story and here we get to know him much better. In lesser hands I think Dave could easily have come across like a total jerk, but Kaye goes a great job rooting his insecurities in real reasons we can understand and sympathize with. Plus we see so much growth in Dave over the course of the book, almost from minute one when he finds himself attracted to what he thinks is a woman and is open enough to consider whether he could be with her despite being gay. Dave just has this earnestness where we can see he is trying the whole time, and really learning about himself and how he sees the world as the story goes on.
Lee is sweet and fun and finds the right balance between pushing Dave and letting him get there himself. He makes it clear he doesn’t accept Dave’s bad behavior, but he is also sympathetic to Dave’s harsh background and he is patient with him along the way. I loved to see Dave grow and come to love Lee and everything about him. He realizes nothing about him changes because of what Lee does and it doesn’t affect his acceptance or anything else.
Patrick and Jake from The Blinding Light play a pretty big role here, along with their new baby daughter Maxine. I loved their book so I was so happy to see these guys again. You should be able to follow along with this story without having read that one because Dave has only a small role in that book. But it is nice having the background on Jake and Patrick from that story because they play a big role here.
So overall I really enjoyed this one. I loved Dave and Lee together and really enjoyed Dave’s growth over the course of the story. You Are the Reason is another great story by author Renae Kaye.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.