Title: With a Little Help from My Friends
Author: JP Bowie
Length: 19,000 words (56 pdf pages)
Genre: m/m contemporary
Drew’s friend Wendy means well, but her attempts to set him up with a new man is driving him crazy—then he meets Cameron—who drives him crazy in a very different way.
When Drew Weston’s six year relationship falls apart, his best friend Wendy is determined to find him a new love. It looks like she’s not going to succeed, until she introduces him to Cameron Murdoch, who is everything Drew admires in a man—both in looks and personality. There’s just one problem. Cameron has never been with a man before.
Drew is only too eager to ‘show him the ropes’ but in doing so finds himself falling in love with the handsome, charming man. The realisation saddens him, convinced that now Cameron is ‘out’ he will be a magnet for every red blooded gay male in the vicinity, and Drew will merely be the first in a long line of lovers.
Or will he?
This short story played on a couple of themes that both make me crazy and appeal to me. Drew has not been apart from his ex for long but his friends parade an endless stream of losers through his life, intent on getting him coupled up again. This is the theme that makes me crazy. What perhaps makes me crazier is characters who let it happen and don’t put a stop to it if they really dislike it. They seem to think if they confront their friends they’ll hurt their feelings, but if they are truly your friends you should be able to be honest with them, and what kind of friends think you are nothing without a man, or know you so little that they hook you up with people who are completely incompatible with? Rant over. So I found Drew’s friend Wendy extremely off-putting with her pushy ways.
On the other hand, the experience of someone newly out and exploring life as a gay man appeals to me, and thankfully Drew and Cameron away from Wendy were a great couple. Drew was willing to ease Cameron in slowly to gay sex and didn’t push for more, although his insistence that Cameron would eventually want to play the field got a bit tiring. On the other hand I loved how he stood up to Cameron’s ex/best friend when she essentially tried to push them apart. He wasn’t mean about it, but he gently put her in her place without causing hard feelings. If only he’d done that with Wendy.
I also have to say that I was rather pleased with the ending, where everything did not work out for Cameron with his family. I know we all like to see a happy ever after for characters in romance and we want their life to be perfect, and it’s nice to have parents or other negative characters “see the light” but I think it’s a bit of a rosy view of life. Many families don’t come around, many friends do vanish forever and while it’s not as uplifting to see that happen, I think it’s more realistic. So I appreciated that the author didn’t try to wrap everything up in a rainbow ribbon for the couple.
So on the whole the set-up is not one I enjoy with friends who seem to think you are nothing without a significant other in your life, thankfully once he met Cameron, that activity fell by the wayside and you could focus on the two men. I enjoyed that part of the story a great deal and think it is definitely worth a read.