Title: Medium, Sweet, Extra Shot of Geek
Author: R. Cooper
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Octavio “Tavio” Reyes, Tommy O’Shaughnessy
Former soldier Octavio “Tavio” Reyes works as a barista, a favorite with the customers—especially Tommy O’Shaughnessy. An avowed geek, Tommy comes in daily to flirt, usually under the guise of Trekkie talk. Tavio hesitates; now that he’s out of the army, he’s not sure how out he should be, or whether to take his chances on a geek devoted to sci-fi and comic books. But when Tommy compares him to an unemotional Vulcan, Tavio finally considers dating an out-and-proud nerd. Then Tommy surprises him again and introduces him to his daughter, whom Tommy loves even more than Star Trek or Tavio. Now Tavio has a whole new decision to make: Is he ready to romance a family man?
This story is sweet romance, with no sex. Tavio works at a coffee shop and Tommy is his coffee-loving customer. Where Tommy is an endless chatterbox, Tavio is silent as the grave. The juxtaposition of their natures is camouflage because in the end both men have the same shyness about approaching the other. Tommy hides his shyness behind incessant chitchat and Tavio behind silence. When they finally manage to break free from their year-long roles of barista and customer, the rewards are pleasant.
The thing about this story, however, is that not much happens here. This reads more like a prologue into their burgeoning affair than a finished novella. I was waiting for more, honestly. And the dialogue, such as it is, reads so weird because there’s what Tommy says, then Tavio’s inner thoughts since he doesn’t speak, again followed by Tommy talking, Tavio thinking, etc. etc. It’s very odd. I get how it was designed to show how different and yet how alike they were, with doubts and attraction, and so on. But in the end, the inner musings got a little boring, slowing the pace down so much I skipped sections just to get back to the actual dialogue—which unfortunately was mostly Tommy’s monologue. They do break that pattern eventually though!
So do not let that dialogue business get in your way of reading this story because the rewards here are super sweet. When Tommy finally finds the courage to ask Tavio out and for Tavio to step out of his comfort zone, these were beautiful, loving scenes. That first kiss? Hotter than hot! I wish we had gotten Tommy’s point of view too in addition to Tavio’s, though, and I would have loved to learn more about these two, to see if they can truly get their affair in gear. A novel-size story next, please, Ms. Cooper.
Overall, a sweet romance that has a lot of potential. I’m hopeful there’ll be a sequel in the future…
Reviewed By: Susan