Title: Steam Heat
Author: Ari McKay
Length: 7,700 words (29 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
At the Gaslight Bazaar, a Steampunk convention, Trey Lewis is teased and fascinated by glimpses of a man in leather pants. When he sets out to find the wearer, he discovers Joss Stephens, a quiet, reserved coworker from his computer firm. Trey never thought he and Joss had anything in common, but getting to know Joss away from the office ignites an unexpected heat between them, which leads to a steamy encounter and the beginnings of romance.
This was a fun little story with steampunk details, but it didn’t get bogged down for me. Trey spends most of his first day at a local convention teased by glimpses of an amazing butt in leather. When he finally tracks the butt down, working on a replica of HG Wells’s time machine, he’s shocked to find it’s Joss, from the office. They’ve worked together for a couple of years, but he never really thought they had that much in common, and Joss was quite shy and quiet at social gatherings. Now their shared love of all things Steampunk draws them together.
It’s really just the story of two guys seeing a different side of each other outside the office. There are some nice descriptions of their costumes and anyone who has seen the movie with the time machine lets you envision it. So while I said, there’s not much that happens beyond them getting to know each other, its fun to see them find those commonalities and the sex is hot, as Joss may be a bottom, but he’s not afraid to ask for some hot and heavy “now now now” sex, or to indulge in a little semi-public action.
I think if you’re like me, and sometimes find Steampunk a little overwhelming on the descriptions, you’ll enjoy this as it gives enough to give you a taste, without boring you with endless descriptions. I think those who participate in conventions where cos-play or dressing up is a large part of it like Yaoicon, will also appreciate that sense of camaraderie where people don’t judge you for being “weird”. I’m not sure the epilogue was really needed to the story, I would have been content to just leave them at the beginning of their relationship, but it didn’t detract from the story. So when you want a quickie with some heat, steamheat perhaps, it’s a nice light choice, especially if you’ve been reading some heavier stories. A nice little palate cleanser from angst or drama.