Title: I Almost Let You
Author: Ashavan Doyon
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Characters: Aaron, Chris
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
When Aaron refused to discuss getting married, he didn’t expect Chris to take it so poorly. They’ve been together twelve years. Aaron thought they’d at least talk about his very valid reasons. Gay marriage isn’t even legal in their state, and what do they need a piece of paper for, anyway? When Chris leaves after the fight, Aaron tracks Chris down just in time to see him about to lock lips with a stranger in a club, which drives home the situation’s urgency. Aaron must make things right with Chris. He’s willing to do anything, but their friends’ advice only goes so far, and when he learns what Chris has been hiding, Aaron has to decide if a life with Chris is even an option.
A gut-wrenching tearjerker that will have you clawing at a napkin every other page.
Told from Aaron’s point of view, the story deals with commitment, what a gay marriage means, the legality of it, and gay parenthood. Aaron thinks it’s pointless to marry when it’s not legal where he lives with Chris, and he’s not thrilled about the idea of kids. Chris, on the other hand, wants to tie the knot and start a family, and he has some pretty strong reasons for it. When Aaron dithers too long, Chris leaves. And the resulting heartbreak and trying to fix things is what Aaron has to face, or lose everything.
All Aaron has ever wanted was Chris. But Chris wants other things too. The characters are different, yes, but the story could have used Chris’s point of view too. As is, he comes off rigid sometimes, even a bit heartless. But then again, Aaron has his failings too, simply crumbling after Chris is gone, not knowing how to make things right, and wallowing, wallowing, wallowing. His emotional hitting the rock bottom is painful to read about, because in the end it is born out of love. It’s matching up lives and varying goals that’s the problem. Characterization shows these themes very well, as the two men represent the opposite ends of the spectrum, trying to reconcile.
The writing, the plot, the pace. They’re all damn fine, evocative and captivating. Like I said, a total tearjerker. Buckets and buckets worth. Anyone who has ever been dumped will get this. Aaron thought he had time, but Chris was tired of waiting. In the novella, we get a mix of the main story in the present and then tiny snapshots of the past, of how the jock and the nerd in high school got together. These rare openings into their past together and coming out help us see why Chris is so adamant about marriage and kids, and one can totally relate. It’s just the disheartening club scene that decreased my sympathy for him.
Nonetheless, this a very good story about an established couple and the problems their relationship and their love faces. Like a vortex, you’ll get sucked into the emotional turmoil and feel it all in your bones. Heartbreaking, and great writing.
Reviewed By: Susan