Title: Melting Wax and Burning Feathers
Author: Jennifer Cierra
Length: 10, 263 words
Publisher: JMS Books
Genre: m/m contemporary romance
Gregory Daniels is a man who has given up. Once he dreamed of going to L.A. and “making it big,” but those dreams exploded, leaving his lover dead and Gregory disillusioned. Now he works 9-to-5 as a tax attorney in Long Beach, California, trying to convince himself a weekly paycheck is enough to make up for a job he hates and dinner alone every night.
Then Gregory notices a talented, beautiful young guitarist playing on the museum steps on his way to work, and he begins to wonder whether he hasn’t sacrificed more than he’s gained in favor of predictability and routine. An opportunity beckons; the only question is whether Gregory trusts himself enough to reach out and take it.
This story which looks at lost dreams and new hope follows Gregory who came to Long Beach with his boyfriend in the hope that he would be ‘discovered’ as a talented guitarist. Six years later his dreams are in tatters, his talent forgotten as he lives a half-existence in a dull job. An unexpected walk to the office takes him past a busker whose talent reawakens all the bitterness that Gregory feels.
This really was a rather beautifully written story which links Gregory’s past with the story of Icarus and Daedalus. Gregory’s pain as he is forced to face his past comes across strongly and I thought that the author had done well to avoid Gregory coming across as too much of a whinger. Instead the busker, Adam, allows Gregory to see himself as he was, and provides the catalyst for much needed change. I particularly liked how Gregory’s bitterness is turned around by the hopefulness in Adam and how the pain of the past is eventually set aside.
Another part which worked was the prickly beginnings for Gregory and Adam as weary experience meets idealism. Their romance is that of two people who see a need in the other and strive to fulfill what the other needs. It was erotic but personal too and the HFN ending fit well with the story overall.
If I have any complaints it’s that the end to the story was somewhat compressed and I found myself longing to know about Adam’s journey as well as Gregory’s. This was only a minor niggle though in what was an engaging and emotional story which teased both the mind and the senses.
This author is new to me but I enjoyed this story so much I’d been willing to seek out other stories by her. If you are interested in a slightly angsty story about loss, love and hope then I’d recommend this story to you.