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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gone Stumping by Braden Williams

Gone Stumping by Braden Williams
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (80 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Self-absorbed Aidan Montgomery knows what he wants: a life of luxury and material wealth. To get it he's stumping on the campaign trail for Senator Philip Brenton and carrying on a rather perfunctory affair with him to boot. The senator is his ticket to better living, and Aidan is content not to look too closely at Brenton's back room business dealings.

When discrepancies over property lines for a new casino development in the senator’s district surface, axe man Rafe McCafferty becomes an unwilling participant in the dispute. A suspicious accident on the logging company owner’s job site draws Aidan and Rafe into murky plans that threaten not only their jobs, but Aidan's shallow lifestyle and his vision for the future. There are no clear-cut answers for either of them, that is, until they have to unite for their own survival.

Sometimes it takes opposite personalities to find the biggest spark. Aiden is a typical political climber in many ways. He’s concerned with the money, the prestige, and the material goods. He doesn’t mind sleeping his way to the top either. Yet when he meets logger Rafe, their ideals and goals butt heads even as their chemistry ignites. Aiden starts to realize the life he always envisioned for himself may not be the road to happiness and perhaps the rough and tumble Rafe is onto something.

Gone Stumping is a quick, easy story to read about two men whose preconceptions change once they meet. The characters are obvious stereotypes but the point is to show that two men can change through their association together. They can step outside the box they’ve created and become different, better people together. Aiden is the classic plastic gay trope, obsessed with perfection and money. He’s also somewhat lazy as he wants to get to the top but he’d rather sleep his way there than work hard. When Aiden meets Rafe, a logger who abhors the stereotype Aiden presents, the sparks and animosity fly.

Beyond the romance between the two men, the story has a political corruption background. This is pretty weak and very transparent. It plays on just about every political story and offers nothing especially new or interesting. By itself, this aspect of the story isn’t really fun to read but the characters save this. Although they are stereotypes, they feel like authentic, real men that grow and change. Both men need to step outside of their comfort zones to take chances and that is the most interesting part of the story.

If you’re looking at this as a political thriller, you’re likely to be highly disappointed. Instead this is more suited for those romance fans that love to see how love can change people. In that way, the story delivers a decent romance with some interesting characters.

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