Title: Revolving Door
Author: Ryal Woods
Length: 6,000 words
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: m/m contemporary erotica
As Matt has sex with his former lover, he contemplates why he keeps finding himself back in Leo’s arms.
Matt is still attached to his former lover through a bond of secrecy and obsession. He wants to break the bonds, Leo works to keep him entrapped.
This is Matt’s account of their latest encounter: his longing for strength to resist Leo, his giving over, and the battle within as they play this longstanding game of wills, from initiation to inevitable conclusion. This time he’ll break the rules, and stop Leo before he can make a quick exit.
Because Matt isn’t so innocent: it’s a double play, they’re both participants. Will breaking the silence be enough to break the spell?
I really liked this short story…right up to the last couple of paragraphs. Before then this was a clever piece of erotica which looked at obsession and Matt’s inability to turn away his former lover. Leo turns up at Matt’s door every time he’s between lovers and every time Matt lets him in and they have sex. For Matt, Leo is the one and he’ll put up with the occasional visit, knowing that Leo is only using him because the sex is so good and he has strong feelings for Leo.
This part was the best bit of the story as all Matt’s confused feelings are poured out onto the page. The story mostly centres around a sex scene but it’s not just about sex because there’s also a certain amount of self-loathing that Matt knows that no matter what, Leo will get his way. Then there are feelings of intense pleasure and of things being so right between them and feelings of pathos because Matt knows Leo will never stay with him. The sex is bareback and there’s a big deal made out of this in the story – in that it intensifies the connection between them, but I was left feeling slightly uncomfortable. Even more so when there’s a twist at the end which made me lose a considerable amount of respect for Matt. In a way, it was quite clever because it turned the tables a bit and showed that Leo’s not the only liar and manipulator, but it also meant that a lot of the emotional impact earlier in the story is lost because I lost sympathy for Matt.
This is only a quickie short story but the author writes well and packs a large emotional punch to the narrative. Maybe the end won’t affect other readers in the way it did me, in which case this would be a good short to pick up to fill in a bit of time.