Jumping the Fence, by Stephanie Vaughan

>> Friday, November 04, 2005

Jumping the Fence (excerpt) is a novella by Stephanie Vaughan and, yes, it is gay romance.

What do you do when the last thing you need is the only thing you want?

As much as they drove him crazy, Kevin had always done fine with women. But lately they were pushing him over the edge. They wanted it. They didn’t want it. They didn’t do it on the first date. Didn’t give head. Could they just kiss? Not with the lights on. It made his head want to implode just thinking about it. Whatever they possessed that passed for a thought process was totally alien to him.

Men, on the other hand, were simple: sex, sports, cars and occasionally food took care of it, pretty much. So when he finds himself checking out the new guy at work, Durrance, and Durrance is looking back, he wonders what it would be like, just this once, to have it the easy way. But he’s not gay or anything. Heck, no.

It’s just he can’t stop thinking about jumping the fence.
This really was a great story. The only issues I had stemmed basically from its very short length, but they were big enough that I can only justify to myself rating it a B, even though I'm itching to rate it higher, based on how much I enjoyed reading it.

Sweet, romantic, hot... Jumping the Fence is all that. Both Ben and Kevin were likeable, well-drawn characters, and their romance was wonderful. I really liked the way Vaughan handled the beginning of it, especially, the way each hesitated before going forward, Ben not knowing whether Kevin would be receptive to his advances and Kevin not knowing what the hell he was doing.

Even Kevin's idiotic freaking out about the gayness of Ben kissing him, when they'd just finished giving each other oral sex, rang true. Stupid as that is, it's not the first time I've seen it. I guess people's minds can work overtime to justify things they don't want to accept.

My main problem with this story is, as I said, that it felt much too short. And I don't just mean in a "oh, I wish there were more of this, because I enjoyed it so much I don't want to leave this universe" kind of way. That isn't really a problem, more like a sign that the story worked well.

No, what I mean is that I found too many areas that felt underdeveloped, in a "I can't believe she skipped this!" kind of way. Things like knowing more about Ben's past, especially his relationship with his family, which is only hinted at, and his relationship with Jamie, or the mental processes Kevin went through to end up accepting he was gay: that felt much too hurried.

And the ending was especially unsatisfying. One minute they're finally in bed together for the first time, the next it's a few months later and they're a couple, well accepted by Kevin's family. No, no, no! I wanted to see the relationship develop, I wanted to see them fall in love (I did see Ben, kind of, but not Kevin!), I wanted to see Ben meeting the Beltráns for the first time and finally finding an accepting family, I wanted to see so many things that would have been not only nice to see, but, to my mind, necessary for a really emotionally satisfying romance!

Ah, well, at least what was there was great. I'm definitely reading Vaughan again. I've already bought Crossing the Line, about Ben's ex, Jamie, and a BDSM story of hers Bam recommended, Cruel To Be Kind. I have high hopes for both.


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