Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Midsummer by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae

Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
 (Love's Labours, Book 1) 
by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae

 Length: 27,400 words 
Genres: Gay/Bisexual (M/M), Contemporary, Romance, Erotica
John Lyonel, a long-time theater professional and teacher, heads to Virginia to play Oberon in the Theater in the Woods’s production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, intending to focus on his work. John is recovering from the tragic loss of his family and needs a break. The last thing he expects is to become captivated by Michael Hilliard, the professional actor playing Puck, especially since John has never been attracted to men, let alone one so much younger.

They rush headlong into an affair which falls apart dramatically over secrets that John and Michael are keeping from each other. A steep learning curve, the gossipy cast of the show, and the sometimes sinister magic of the woods conspire to keep them apart. But stage lights and stars might work their magic and help them define a new future. 
Michael breaks off from a conversation and wanders back over, then drops into John’s lap as easily as he had the night before. It’s comforting, the way a cat would be, and John gladly wraps his arms around Michael’s waist again and decides not to worry about figuring any of this out right now.

“You can stop staring now,” Michael declares to the fire at large, when they start attracting eyes. “Or I can give you all individual recommendations for who you should be staring at. And some of you might not be entirely happy with what I tell.”

He gets a couple of whoops for that, a lot of laughter, and not a few glares. John chuckles, and dips his head to kiss Michael on the shoulder before he even thinks about it.

Michael turns his head. For a moment John thinks Michael’s going to kiss him. And while that is far more ridiculous than John has ever had any intention of being in public, he’s not sure he wouldn’t welcome and return anything Michael did.

Michael just smiles, though, small and unexpectedly intimate, before he leans up to whisper in John’s ear. “Follow me in five minutes.”
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

MIDSUMMER is a beautiful blend of classic and contemporary themes.

Emotionally exhausted, John returns to his roots. While seeking solace in the comforting arms of his first love, classical theater, John meets Michael.

At first glance, Michael appears to be everything John is not. Young, free-spirited, outgoing, charismatic and gay.

The two bond over their shared love of theater and an unlikely romance quickly develops. As time passes, what started out as a summer romance seems to be developing into more.

When they become principal players in an ongoing mystery, the issues of John's sexuality and Michael's past arise to complicate things further. It appears that they have more in common than either man suspected.

I love the theater, and this well written story marries one of my all time favorite productions, A Midsummer Night's Dream, with another one of my favorite things, finding love in unexpected places. Once again Racheline and Erin have gifted me with a complex cast of characters, multi-layered drama, romance and suspense. I'm thrilled with this new series and am excited to see where further installments will take me!

Racheline Maltese is a queer writer living a big life from a small space. She flies planes, sails boats, and rides horses, but as a native New Yorker, has no idea how to drive a car.

A performer and storyteller focused on themes of celebrity, gender, desire and mourning, Racheline has a journalism degree from The George Washington University; studied acting and directing at the Atlantic Theater Company Acting School (New York City) and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (Sydney, Australia); and is a proud SAG-AFTRA member.

She lives in Brooklyn with her partner and their two cats.

Erin McRae is a queer writer and blogger based in Washington, D.C. She owns several pieces of paper from distinguished universities, including a Master’s degree in International Affairs from American University, which qualify her to have lengthy and passionate discussions about the microeconomics of Tunisia. She also engages in lengthy and passionate discussions about military history. She likes trenches.

Erin is a cofounder of Avian 30, a literary collective dedicated to narratives with magical and sexual realism. She delights in applying her knowledge of international relations theory to her fiction and screen-based projects, because conflict drives narrative.

She lives in Washington, D.C. with her partner and their two cats.

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