Andy is a former English soldier with a lot of scars, in his body but even more in his soul. He has not a bad life, he is living in Northern England, Yorkshire, in a pig farm: he is quiet and content, two things he immensily needs after his experience in Afghanistan. When his friends buy him a kiss from a young porn star during a charity event, Andy is at first embarassed, but then also affascinated by Luke: the younger man is nice and kind, he seems to not notice Andy’s scars and they have a quick chat. If not for Luke going away with Andy’s jacket, there would be no chance for them to meet again.
Luke is still young in an ordinary life, but not so young for the role of the twink in the porn movies industry. He has to take a decision and soon; while in the north for a one day job, he decides to pay a visit to Andy, and he spends some days with the man and Craig, Andy’s teenager nephew. It’s not that Luke is consciously searching for a comfortable place where to lie down, but I think that he likes Andy’s genuinity, and above all his kindness. Both men think they are not good for each other, Andy thinks his scars and country lifestyle are of no attraction for a young man like Luke, who is used to live in London and having an exciting life; Luke is convinced that a good man like Andy would not want to have anything to do with a former porn star.
What surprised me was that, while in the previous book I read by this author the sex was one of the main point of the story, and also the reason why the two men in that story where first together, here where the sex is also the main job of one of the two main characters, strangely enough is not the reason that glue them together. Maybe since Andy wants to prove to Luke that he is not like all the other men who get close to him, or maybe since Luke wants to prove to Andy that their story is more important than any of his previous experience, the sex arrives quite later in the story. And strangely enough, since the author had the reader wait for so long, I was expecting for it to be something “huge”, like a long and carefully prepared sex scene, and instead it was rather quick and in a public toilette! That made me smile, really, it was a proof of two things for me: that indead this romance is written by a man, and that he is writing of something he knows.
It’s really a long story, with a well planned plot and with well rounded characters; not only Andy and Luke, but also all the supporting characters, a pletora of different gay characters, like the two couples, Paddy and Tom, and Donnie and Sam, Andy’s young nephew, Craig, and so on. All of them are described with enough details to give the reader an idea of their role, but not so much to divert the attention from the main characters, that are Luke and Andy.
I also liked the trick the author used here and there to maintain the tension at an high level: somethine he stopped a chapter just after reaching a revelatory moment, to then starting the chapter after apparently changing the matter; the reader had to read some paragraph before finding how the previous chapter was really concluded.
Amazon: Surface Tension
Amazon Kindle: Surface Tension