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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Held Captive by Joanne Kells

Held Captive by Joanne Kells
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (66 pgs)
Other: M/M
Rating: 3 Cherries
Reviewed by Dandelion

When Aaron finds himself attracted to his best friend's brother, he tries to tell Nathan how he feels. But Aaron is only seventeen, and Nathan has to keep him at a distance, so he moves away. Devastated, Aaron turns to a close girlfriend for comfort. It takes a heartbroken Nathan seven years to finally return to his home and turn Aaron's life upside down. To move on, Aaron knows he has to break free of the pain and suppressed emotions of the past... and the glimmer of hope that Nathan might want him after all.

Held Captive is a short, sweet story of two men who find each other after years of separation and longing to be together. Aaron and Nathan shared one kiss, one night, many years before the story begins. Time and circumstance pulled them apart for a decade until they’re reunited, this time after each has moved on to other lovers. However, it’s only a matter of time before the two realize their love is mutual.

The consummation scenes are well written and definitely reflect the love and desire Aaron and Nathan have for one another. The author also does a nice job showing all the ways that male-male love can be interrupted: by society’s judgment, by one’s own self-doubt, even by other lovers that one meets along the way. So when these two characters finally get to be together in the end, it’s a victory the reader can savor along with them.

Unfortunately, this story is rather narrative-heavy, and there’s a lot of backstory and meticulous filling in of details by the author. I would have preferred to have the story of Aaron and Nathan unfold in real time as much as possible. So much is told through flashback and characters’ memories that I think the plot loses its impact.

However, if a happy ending in male-male love is what you’re looking for, have no fear! Longing and emotion fill the pages of Held Captive, and if you don’t mind some back-and-forth between past and present to explain the storyline, this story will leave you smiling with contentment.

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