Rating: 3 stars
Buy Link:
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Length: Novella

Mike is in the middle of an intimate encounter with a guy named Carlos when disaster strikes. Or rather, the giggles strike. Carlos, when meeting Little Mike for the first time, bursts into laughter and can’t stop. Needless to say, Mike is embarrassed and hurt. The casually thrown out excuse of “I’m used to bigger” does little to help the situation, and Mike is quick to show Carlos the door, spending the rest of the night trying not to think about it.

In the morning, after confessing everything to his sister, Mike is forced to take a hard look at past relationships (Franklin, who ghosted him after their first hookup; Chad, a relationship of three years that ended when Chad said he just needed someone who could fill his sexual needs — and that someone turned out to be Franklin, apparently — and now Carlos). Mike can’t help but consider the idea that maybe the problem’s him. Maybe he’s just not enough, in that department.

Desperate, Mike allows his sister to take him to a faith healer. Offered a chance to look at the problem with new eyes — with a candle, some oil, and thirty dollars less in his wallet — Mike decides to cast the spell. What’s the worst that can happen, after all? MIke doesn’t expect to find Angel in his bathroom, doesn’t expect to have to deal with, well, himself. What does a man do when his clone shows up out of nowhere? Is there a handshake, a nod of greeting? More importantly, how do you get rid of him?

Kevin is Mike’s newest crush, a giant of a man who hits all the right buttons for Mike. However, Mike doesn’t know if he can bring himself to be intimate with Kevin — or, at least, how intimate he can be — with these concerns about his endowment hanging over his head. Kevin is a nice guy and obviously interested, but he’s also interested not just in topping, but in letting Mike top, as well.

While Mike is trying to distract Kevin without distancing himself from the other man, Angel, who wants to know what love is before he lets the spell (and himself) vanish, decides to find himself a friend, if only for one night. Peter takes one look at Angel and knows he’s in love. Their first time together is sweet and everything Angel hoped it would be, until the truth comes out: Peter was Angel’s first, and Peter doesn’t handle that with the most grace. Needless to say, nothing works as planned.

Mike is a self-absorbed, oblivious, and inattentive man who, thanks to the Carlos incident, is now living entirely in a world of his own insecurity. Even when Kevin comes along, Mike doesn’t take the time to talk to him about his needs or wants or even his issues. Instead, he keeps Kevin in the dark — and not just about the clone thing. He hides his endowment from Kevin, unwilling to be honest with him in the bedroom or out.

Angel is Mike, but a Mike without the hangups. Angel has the same body, the same scars and brown eyes, but what he doesn’t have is the shame and doubt of his inadequacy in the bedroom, because he’s never been in a bedroom. He’s willing to put himself out there, and is open to every experience. He’s also more of a brother to their shared sister than Mike is, and Angel is the one who is not only asked to take on all the problems, but all the responsibility Mike doesn’t want. And he does.

Kevin and Peter, the two men in Mike and Angel’s lives, are lacking in any real personality beyond being available, interested, and desiring a sexual relationship with Mike and Angel. The only difference between them is that Kevin is hung like a horse, which means Peter isn’t? They’re more indistinguishable than Mike and his clone, which was a bit disappointing.

To be honest, this entire story didn’t work for me. There were three directions this could have taken, and it didn’t take any of them, not really. It didn’t deal with Mike and Angel, with Mike having to deal with having a doppelganger who was himself, only happier, and what that meant for Mike’s future and for his past, for who he could be if he gave himself a chance. The story also didn’t focus on Mike and Kevin — or even Angel and Peter — using them only as a framing for the supernatural event, and, most distressingly, it didn’t focus on Mike and himself. The thought of not being big enough for his lover, for being, through not fault of his own, lacking, and then having to either accept himself and deal with this internalized shame could have made for an interesting story. Instead, this is a confused, rambling tale that doesn’t do much of anything and only eventually reaches an unsatisfying end capped off with an obligatory sex scene.

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