Summer Season is a long novella in the Treading the Boards series, but can also be read as a standalone.
Ryan is the shameless gay flirt in the Sarky Players am-dram club. He’s made overtures to a couple of the gay men in the club, but neither took him up on it. He pretends to be a worldly and wanton man, but the reality is Ryan isn’t. At all. His randy stories of crazy nights in wild Greenwich nightclubs are simply that, stories. He hasn’t been out all that long, and he has little experience with men. What he had pretty much scared him off the club scene entirely. He’d like a steady partner, but few can see beyond his flamboyant persona.
Stuart is a new Ph.D. grad, home for a break while he applies for jobs. He loves his native Cornwall and is a big help to the locals, particularly at the Minack Theatre where the plays are often overshadowed by the natural fauna. While assisting the Sarky Players bring their stage materials into the open air amphitheatre, Stuart sees Ryan goofing around in a dangerous manner. It leads to some tense words, which need resolving.
Both Stuart and Ryan would find the other man interesting, if he hadn’t been rude. That said, they make amends and they make love, which is a big step for Ryan. This was where things got a little melodramatic. Ryan wants to find an exclusive guy and he’s not sure Stuart can be that—especially once Ryan returns to Greenwich. They have some spats, but this is a super low conflict story. I got frustrated with Ryan’s (supposed) nonchalance. He’s too meek to say what he wants, and that wasn’t cool, because he was only setting himself up to be hurt. Stuart is a great guy and a good match for Ryan. I only wish he didn’t have to be quite so forceful with Ryan regarding his insecurity.
This was a quick ascent into love, which was kinda cool, but the early possessiveness was less attractive. I think the time period after Ryan returned to Greenwich was really compressed and that cut the tension for me, as a reader. I didn’t have enough time to really enjoy the pain of their separation, which I wanted to do, because their reunion might have been sweeter. I could be wrong on that, the reunion was pretty hot, but I guess I never suspected a problem once Stuart made his restaurant promise. And, there weren’t any. It made this read very breezy. While I think this is far sexier than Overly Dramatic, it also had less humor and far less angst. If you want a short, sexy read with little conflict, this is a perfect one for you.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.