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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Idaho Pride by Sarah Black

Idaho Pride by Sarah Black
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (120 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

After an attempt to diffuse an explosive situation, Lee Hunter and Jeremy Sheridan end up taking the heat for the conflict and become friends. While researching a tragic local story for Jeremy’s magazine, Idaho Pride, Lee agrees to mentor Luis, a troubled young intern. But Jeremy has a problem of his own: a jealous ex-lover who threatens not only Jeremy and Lee's new romance, but also the fledgling family they're trying to create.

Opposites attract when they least expect it. Lee is a sportswriter and typical jock. He may be attracted to men but he doesn’t consider himself gay so when a local Pride magazine starts waving rainbow flags, Lee is somewhat uncomfortable. When a fight breaks out between interns and semi-pro hockey players, it’s up to Lee and magazine owner Jeremy to work things out. Sparks fly between the unlikely duo and their slow blooming romance changes both their lives.

Idaho Pride is a lovely, well-written, and entertaining story. It has a lot of action that comes across in a very natural, easygoing manner. The characters seem to drift easily from one scene to the next, even as more and more issues are tackled. All of these issues feel honest and interesting as they go from closeted sexuality to abuse, homeless teens and even suicide. None of this is heavy or depressing at all and that’s a real testament to the great writing and superb characterization. The story has a good, even pace that has you flipping pages before you know it. The chemistry between the two men is hot but their romance takes a bit of a backseat to all the other action happening.

The characterization is really well done in that Lee comes across as a typical jock that’s not willing to label himself. He’s not comfortable with the exaggerated connotations that come with being labeled gay but he slowly comes to understand why labels mean something. His mentoring of homeless teen Luis is really great and Luis is in fact a dynamic and interesting character. His tragic childhood is just a fact of life but he uses it to build something better for himself. The setbacks he receives in the story make a great set up for his own book, which I hope is coming.

The novella is one of those rare stories that fits perfectly in its length. It feels just right without being too short or too long and examines the various issues in a way that comes across with weight but without a heavy depression. The romance between Lee and Jeremy is sweet and sexy, yet it’s clear early on they have little drama between themselves so instead they can just be cute and fun. As an introduction to the author or even for long time fans, Idaho Pride delivers a great, well written story with engaging characters. I’d definitely recommend it.

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