Friday, January 20, 2017

We Are Fallingwater by Xavier Mayne

Trent Jackson is a single dad, doing the best he can to raise his son Oscar. He hadn’t realized how lonely he’d become until Arlo Wheeler strolls into his life. A devoted househusband, Arlo becomes the friend Trent didn’t know he needed.

The two become fast friends, getting closer than either of them ever expected. So close, in fact, that Arlo’s wife Cara grows concerned; several of her friends consider Trent and Arlo the cutest gay couple in town.

Their new friendship doesn’t seem to have boundaries—finally they admit their attraction for each other, but then they must figure out how to preserve their relationship and Arlo and Cara’s marriage.

Trapped between their love for each other and their devotion to their families, their happiness depends on Cara’s willingness to redefine the very nature of her marriage to Arlo. Is their bond strong enough to welcome Trent to share it with them?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This is a scorching hot read. A more mature and slightly more serious story than anything else I’ve read from this author, I absolutely loved it.

Xavier Mayne always questions sexuality and sexual politics. Even when writing slapstick scenes for his Brandt and Donnelly stories, he manages to make thoughtful and insightful observations. Here, with older, more family-focused characters, he again manages to surprise and prompt questions. How intimate can two straight men become with each other? When does a friendship become a love affair? When does the bromance threaten the marriage? Does it have to threaten the marriage?

Arlo and Trent’s relationship is incredibly sexy. Their path from friendship to intimacy was pure pleasure to read. The chemistry between them is wonderful. And Cara – she’s the first woman I’ve read by this author and I loved her. Arlo’s passion, Trent’s confused attraction, and Cara’s cool reasoning is wonderful. These characters are thoughtful, considered, and incredibly sexy.

I have to admit that I don’t like stories about kids. In real life, I’ve always found young children slightly terrifying and parents of small children are rarely entertaining or engaging. So part of me is still struggling to understand why I loved this story about three parents. I like that Trent, Arlo, and Cara defy many parent stereotypes. Cara is the often absent breadwinner. All three retain their own interests and open minded views of the world. They are all very interesting adults. And thankfully, this is a story about the adults – the children fade into the background for most of the book. The isolation of parenting is explored honestly, and so are the challenges of sustaining a marriage while parenting young children.

The heat in this story makes it one of the best ménage books I can remember reading. The thoughtfulness, the carefully developed characters, and complex insights into gender and sexuality make it a beautiful polyamorous love story, and the quality of the writing pushes it into that most loathed of categories – literary fiction. But however we label it, this is wonderful, sexy, and powerful writing.

Xavier Mayne is the pen name of a writer who has been both a university professor of English and a marketing professional for software companies. He currently manages a team of writers for a large technology company based in the US Pacific Northwest. Versed in academic theories of sexual identity, he is passionate about writing stories in which men experience a love that pushes them beyond the boundaries they thought defined their sexuality. He believes that romance can be hot, funny, and sweet in equal measure.

The name Xavier Mayne is a tribute to the pioneering gay author Edward Prime-Stevenson, who also used it as a pen name. He wrote the first openly gay novel by an American, 1906’s Imre: A Memorandum. Unique among early gay novels, it tells the story of two main characters who are straight until they meet each other.

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Sarah reviewed her personal copy of We Are Fallingwater by Xavier Mayne for this post.

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