Title: Himeros Massage
Author: Matthew Scrivens
Length: 11,469 words (35 pdf pages)
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: m/m contemporary
What is Himeros Massage? Brett Jackson knows Himeros was the Greek god of sexual desire, but how does that translate into a massage, and is he ready for whatever it might be?
After throwing his cheating and drug-addicted boyfriend out of his life, Brett spent a year believing celibacy was his best option. But his close friend Leo says Brett has checked out of life, and it’s time to return. He gives Brett a gift certificate for a massage. The only problem is, he won’t — or can’t — describe what a Himeros Massage is. He just assures Brett it isn’t a “rub and tug” kind of thing.
Meeting handsome massage therapist Aaron James, Brett decides to open his mind and see what happens. But can a massage really help him reclaim his life?
This is less of a romance, although it has a “just starting out” ending, than an exploration of man, badly battered, mostly emotionally and mentally by a long-term abusive relationship. It’s been more than a year and Brett is still swearing off men, and has pretty much sworn off having a life. He is oblivious to, or shuns, any kind of come-on from men, and only seems to spend time with his best friend Leo, who is concerned that Brett is becoming a shell of his former self. The friend finally convinces Brett to try the Himeros Massage in the hopes that even just having someone touch him as part of therapy will help him on the road back to a full life.
There is a distinctive style to this story. It’s what I would call “heely feely”. There is lots of thoughts about his inner self and healing and that kind of meditative or introspective action on the part of Brett. As well there is a lot of descriptions of everything around him, from details of wiping down the gym equipment to recognizing the classical music during the massage, descriptions of the scents of the incense, the entire experience. While his friend promised it wasn’t one of “those kinds” of massages, of course there is some action which helps him realize he’s still attractive to someone despite how his ex messed up his head.
I think this is a narrative style you’ll either really enjoy, or like me, find it a bit tedious and just want to get on to the meat of the story. I found myself impatient at times for the descriptions of rooms and feelings and emotions to get done with and lets get to the next part. But I know there are others who will find the emphasis on this appealing in that it sets a very clear graphic scene for the characters to exist within. It will probably be a personal choice and it was nice to see Brett finally put his ex behind him (and he was also in therapy so no single healing penis moment) and be willing to try with someone new. So, I’ll leave it to readers to decide, but having a character recovering from a domestic abuse situation is always interesting to read about.