All Trevor Dunn wants is to be left alone to draw his comics in the basement of his parents’ house, but his younger sister, Madeline, has other ideas. Madeline will do whatever it takes to get her reclusive brother out of the basement and into the light, specifically out to the Calgary Stampede. Hot and miserable, Trevor is about to call it a day when he spies a cute guy wearing a green cowboy hat standing across the street giving him the eye. Once the parade passes, Trevor meets the man, Charlie, in a western gay bar where Trevor and Charlie hookup and then part ways.
But Charlie isn’t done with Trevor after just one encounter and invites Trevor back to the Stampede the following day. Trevor may have let his sister push him to expand his boundaries by attending the Stampede, but Charlie is the one who truly pushes Trevor’s comfort level, beginning with an outing to see live music at a bar. What are the odds that he and Charlie would happen to show up the night a young singer Trevor knows all too well, Mathieu, is performing?
Seeing Mathieu brings back memories of Trevor’s plan to leave Calgary with Mathieu as a teen, those dream shattered by Trevor’s insecurity and inability to act. After reconnecting in the bar, Mathieu joins Charlie and Trevor at Charlie’s hotel.
Charlie has certainly made the most of their days together before he has to return to work in Toronto, but does Charlie want Trevor to go with him? What about Mathieu, back in town after all those years? As much as Trevor likes Charlie, is there a chance to recapture what he lost with Mathieu?
We are introduced to Trevor as a teenager, not terribly rebellious, but just learning his boundaries and identity. The thing with Trevor is that his goals for the future don’t change as he gets older, but what I noticed for the majority of the story is that Trevor is stuck. Stuck being a teenager in an adult’s body, stuck drawing comics, playing punk music, and living in his parent’s basement. Sounds annoying, right? Well that is where I was pleasantly surprised. Trevor’s motivation for his actions were complex and his rapid growth refreshing and not at all contrived.
While I thought A Taste of Ink was a cute story for the most part, there were some moments where I felt that Charlie was pressuring Trevor just a little too much, but Gideon managed to pull back from the brink and put the control back into Trevor’s hands. In terms of balance, Charlie and Trevor are well suited for each other, the outgoing tourist and the cellar dweller get to know each other gradually over the course of their nine days together at the Stampede, and while it seems fast, it is obvious to me that they have only scratched the surface when it comes to personal revelations. That’s okay though, the critical areas are addressed and the depth of feeling they have for each other is evident.
I found the pace of the story to be a bit inconsistent. The beginning really captured my attention, and then part of the way through, the pace slowed down and I found it challenging to read for a while. Fortunately the pace picked up and the remaining 2/3 of the book just about flew by.
This is cute story that featured a couple of likeable characters, some fun situations, and some more than hot sex scenes. A Taste of Ink left me satisfied.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.