Title: Sam’s New Family
Author: Serena Yates
Length: 7,500 words (31 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
Sam is free of his meddling family but hardly manages to make ends meet working as a waiter. A hungry kitten in the restaurant’s back alley distracts him into missing two thugs until it’s almost too late. When Theo, Sam’s old neighbor, saves him and offers a ride home it is almost too good to be true. Sam has admired Theo for years but is afraid to become dependent again. But Sam’s apartment has been trashed and Theo insists on taking Sam home with him. Will the two men be able to build a future together?
I think we all have that trope that just works for us, even when others find it tiresome or cliché, but there it is. This one contains mine, the rescue of the struggling young man whose family have either shunned him or for whatever reason he can’t go to them for help. I’m a sucker for it every time. In this case Sam is working as a waiter, but barely scraping by, living in a dump in a dangerous part of the city. While in the back alley feeding an abandoned kitten, he is nearly attacked by two men but rescued, by of all people, his older brother’s friend and the man he had a crush on as a teen. It’s not so coincidental though. Now that Theo’s business is up and running, he came looking for Sam, as despite being seven years older, he was always crushing on the young man as well.
When he drives Sam home, they are stunned to find that Sam’s landlord’s idea of an eviction notice, is to trash his place. Theo offers him a place to stay, but as Theo lives right next door to Sam’s homophobic brother, he’s concerned that he might think Theo is gay simply for associating with him. Theo soon, to Sam’s astonishment, informs him that he is gay, so no big deal. Despite Theo’s vow to move slowly, it doesn’t take him long to confess his feelings, and it’s decided Sam will go to cooking school, live with Theo, adopt the cat, and despite Sam wanting to sleep with him, Theo insists they won’t do anything until they are ready.
So yes, it hit my trope buttons, but I had some issues. The landlord ripped cupboard doors off, smashed in his door, damaged the property in an effort to tell him to leave. Why? Now he has to pay out of his own pocket to repair it before anyone can rent it, and he had the key, just simply dump Sam’s stuff on the street. It didn’t make sense that he would damage his own property. I also didn’t get Theo’s refusal to do more with Sam. Sam was 20, and yes a virgin, but he was willing, they’d known each other for years, so I didn’t quite get his refusal to have sex with him. I also wondered what happened with the brother. Apparently he accused Sam of being gay, so Sam just left. It just came across as too coincidental to be realistic for me.
If you’re in the mood for a sweet read with this particular trope, it’s an okay choice, but I just found myself dwelling on some of the incongruities of their story rather than on the romantic storyline.