“What is fair?” and “What is right?” are just a sample of the questions examined in H. Leigh Aubrey’s beautifully written, albeit somewhat schmaltzy, romance novel. The protagonist, Scott Daven, an architect from Charlotte, North Carolina, appears to have it all—a successful career, wealth, three healthy sons, a devoted wife, and a future in politics, all before the age of forty. But look closer and you’ll learn his career exists in the shadow of his father, he and his wife sleep in separate beds, and his lifelong friendship with Ben has more than its share of benefits.
Imagine Scott’s luck (or misfortune, depending on your point of view) when his father hires Neil Phelan, a recently divorced, new in town, late twenty-something with a talent for architectural design and criminal good looks. Scott and Neil are instantly attracted to each other, and their chemistry is apparent, so it becomes not a matter of if but when one of them will act upon it.
After their initial encounter, the now openly gay Neil would prefer keep their relationship hidden and share private, stolen moments with Scott rather than have him risk his family and career by going public. Scott, meanwhile, has a series of personal breakthroughs and epiphanies that have a veritable snowball effect on Neil, his wife, Paula, his three sons, and his position at the firm.
While the story is a bit far-fetched, it sparks debate among the hot button issues of marriage, politics, homophobia and family values. Social relevance aside, even the worst cynic would be hard-pressed to not get swept away by the fairy tale romance between these two men. Aubrey’s writing conveys genuine yearning in their conversations, thoughts, actions and especially their physical contact. At first, Scott and Neil struggle to acknowledge their connection. Michael and Jonathan, the love struck men at the center of J.P. Bowie’s mystical romantic adventure, Time After Time, profess their love for each other almost instantly, because they’ve been appearing in each other’s dreams long before actually meeting in person.
—— A KEEN EDGE
By H. Leigh Aubrey