Crossing the Line, by Stephanie Vaughan

>> Tuesday, November 22, 2005

I discovered Stephanie Vaughan earlier this month with Jumping the Fence, which I loved. Crossing the Line is its sequel.

Jamie MacPherson knows that looks aren’t everything -- money counts for a lot, too. And that’s a good thing, since he’s got none of one and plenty of the other. Money may not buy happiness, but it’ll sure buy you the kind of misery you like best.

Ryan Van Alstyn knows that looks don’t mean a thing when your life falls apart and money can’t bring a loved one back.

When Jamie walks into Ryan’s restaurant one night, Ryan looks better than anything on the menu. Attraction leads to sex. It could be more, but Ryan can’t be bought and Jamie thinks he has nothing to offer but his money.
As I said, I loved Jumping the Fence, but I loved Crossing the Line even more, basically because it did much better in the only area JTF was not so good. A B+.

My main problem with JTF was that I hated that it completely skipped the development of the romance. By the end of the book, I thought the protagonists were all set to start a wonderful romance, but I wanted to see that process, not simply be told it had happened.

There's much more of the falling in love process here. Partly because of the length, of course, since there are a few more pages here, but also because both men in CTL are perfectly comfortable with their sexuality, so there is no need to devote any space to them grappling with their new feelings, and a lot more space can be devoted to exploring the relationship.

And what a sweet, tender relationship it is! Both of them are wonderful, but I confess I had a soft spot for Jamie, who broke my heart with his loneliness and his absolute conviction that all he had going for him was his money. When he asks his friend Claire how he could make someone care for him, I almost cried.

The love scenes were sweet and hot at the same time, and they showed the progress in their feelings perfectly. I especially adored the later ones, when Ryan is so determined to show Jamie that he is loved and that he deserves to be.

Oh, yes, this was good! So good, in fact, that it would have been an A read for me, if it weren't for certain little problems. There aren't really any big objections, just small stuff which accumulates, not to really bother me, but simply to make the book not quite perfect.

Number one: the Jamie that we get to know throughout the book bears absolutely no resemblance to the guy in the first page, who calls his ex to whine. Or to the guy we met in a bar in the first book, for that matter. This makes the book start on a weird note.

Number two was a bit more problematic. The whole "Daddy" thing seriously creeped me out. It's not something huge, and, with some effort, I was able to ignore it (pretty much), but really! Eewww!

Finally, while the length was better than in JTF, I do wish some aspects could have been better explored... Jamie's childhood with a father who seems to have been quite homophobic and possibly violent, for instance. There are some interesting hints, but nothing comes of it. Or the story behind Ryan deciding he prefered to be a waiter, rather than what he had studied so much to be. Again, some tantalising hints, but nothing concrete. Of course, part of my disgruntlement with the short length might come from the fact that I really wanted to spend more time with this people, which isn't bad at all!

A really wonderful book. If you are looking to try something different, and maybe dip your toes into gay romance, look no further than these two books.


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