Author: Tristram La Roche
Publisher: Etopia Press
Pages: 140 (.pdf)
Characters: Mike Mason, Pete Bickerdyke
POV: 3rd Person
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
A spin of the wheel can change everything…
Mike had it all. A business in the south of France, money, and a handsome boyfriend. But when the world’s economies nose-dived, he lost the lot—including Kurt. With nothing left, he finds himself back home in the north of England, living in a broken-down rented flat, alone.
When the boiler breaks down, the repairman turns out to be an old acquaintance—one who was never Mike’s social equal. Now Pete’s the one with money and security, his own thriving company and a collection of classic cars. Pete’s joie de vivre is impossible to resist, but how can Mike face being a kept man?
Mike Mason is a broken man with a broken spirit. Luck and life hadn’t always been such cruel masters to Mike, but then again, luck is always dictated as much by opportunity as it is by the whims of misfortune. Good luck giveth, and bad luck taketh away. It’s an unwritten contract between fate and good intent that drags we mere mortals along in its wake and dictates the course life will take.
For Mike, those opportunities were always close at hand. Coming from a well-to-do family had always given Mike a bit of an advantage over anything as elusive as chance. A successful business, a successful relationship, Mike and good fortune were ever on intimate terms. Until the day the bottom fell out of the world economy. Then those wealthy clients who’d made Mike and his lover, Kurt, wealthy men, vanished, leaving the two men with a business that could no longer remain solvent without the clientele and their hefty bank accounts to finance the venture.
The lavish lifestyle, to which Mike had become accustomed, ceased to exist. The relationship on which Mike had banked would last for a lifetime, dissipated as quickly as their business. It was a terrible blow that put misery and Mike on a first name basis, and sent him from the South of France back to England, back to a place Mike cannot consider home.
A broken down rental property is the best that Mike can expect these days. Sure, it’s a roof over his head, which leaves him better off than some, but it’s difficult to see a silver lining around a single cloud, when your entire life feels obscured by a haze of disappointment, your future entirely uncertain. But it’s that broken down rental, ironically, that turns the tide of Mike’s fortune, in the form of Pete Bickerdyke, a man from Mike’s school days, a man for whom Mike never had the time of day before, who comes along and shows Mike that sometimes life and love are nothing more than a gamble. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, there are no guarantees in life, but one: you’ll always lose if you’re too afraid to take the risk.
A broken heart and a generous dose of fear, not to mention Mike’s own pride, dictate his actions and reactions to Pete, even though he is attracted to the man whose business has flourished in spite of the flagging economy. The boy whom Mike didn’t give the time of day to in school is now standing where Mike once was. The difference, however, is that Pete doesn’t see Mike as a success or a failure. Pete merely sees Mike as the man he wants to spend time with. And maybe even fall in love with.
The funny thing about fear of failure is that it’s often prompted by a lack of acceptable choices. When Mike feels hemmed in by the shortfall of options in his life, he nearly allows his apprehensions to lead him away from the path to happiness. When given the choice between a good option and an even better one, however, Mike finally realizes love is a gamble that will pay off if only he’s willing to lead with his heart.
Fixed is a romantic story with a bit of an edge to it, exploring the difference between sex and love, and how intricately connected the mind and the heart are when separating the physical needs from the emotional.
Mike’s conflicts were genuine, his doubts and missteps believable on the journey that would ultimately help him to realize that true love is unconditional, not based upon how much you can contribute to the partnership, but how much of yourself you’re willing to invest in it.
Reviewed By: Lisa