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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Boxer by Jan Irving

The Boxer by Jan Irving
Publisher: Loose Id LLC
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (121 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 4 cherries
Reviewed by Ambrosia

Former boxer Dane Connelly faces losing it all, everything he fought for in The Janitor. He's hiding problems with his fight-damaged eyesight from his uptown lover, Noel Atherton. How can he be a man for him if he can’t see to fight or to paint? And now the vicious killer Narone, who almost broke him in the ring, is out on parole, looking for payback. Dane is desperate to protect the man he loves.

But Noel has had enough of sleeping alone in their empty bed, aching for Dane, so he devises various exotic scenarios to seduce him, giving his lover the sexual domination he needs. He knows Dane is not being upfront with him, and after being patient for months he’s growing alarmed something is really wrong. Now Noel has to use his body and his heart to fight for his beloved boxer.

Love goes the distance in this male/male romance between a boxer and a professor. When danger lurks and health concerns threaten to take away more than either can afford, the couple take their punishment and strive to beat all the odds.

Dane Connolly is a boxer who comes with plenty of baggage, not the least of which is a struggle to keep his loved ones safe, and mentor a homeless kid he finds in an ally. His mentor, Charlie, though passed over, is always around in Dane’s memories and still offers guidance in his well remembered advice. Dane is a ‘never surrender, never give up’, kind of guy who is in love with a man he met while cleaning at a college. Though the size of a brick house, Dane submits to his lover willingly and goes to great lengths to bridge the gap in their relationship, even though his health prevents him from what he considers is being a real man.

Highly intelligent, Noel finds the striking giant of a man intriguing to say the least and falls for Dane on first sight when invited out for a simple hot dog. Though his leg is deformed from an accident, he thrives on the tender care and love Dane gives him when he’s in pain. However, the thought of Dane entering the ring once again after nearly dying scares him so much that it puts a rift in their relationship. Not one to give up, he searches for a way to bring them back together as a couple. He knows that Dane gives him the gift of submission when his giant could easily dominate him, but loves the man all the more because of it.

Ally is found by Dane and taken under wing, though he has his own issues. His lover, Sean, is beaten and left for dead while waiting for Ally to join him for a tryst in Charlie’s Alley. When Dane and Noel take Ally in, he struggles with his anguish and guilt that caused his lover pain while looking up to Dane as a mentor and boxing trainer. He finds a home and hope with the couple, and soon the elusive happiness he craves.

Also part of the mix-matched family is an adorable elderly couple who live in the same building above the gym. They are a good balance for the feelings and emotions the story brings out. Each person has his own issues, but they all work together to resolve them and love between them blossoms.

It’s wonderful to read about these characters who show true love as friends, and as lovers. This is a feel-good story for anyone who loves the sport of boxing, and the challenge of meeting obstacles in relationships. Even though Dane is an uneducated ‘dummy’ as his mother had called him, Noel balances and accepts him for the heart inside the man and this shows in the yin and yang of relationships. It’s a heartwarming story of misfits united that I enjoyed.

This tale deserves 4 Cherries.

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