Author: Eli Easton
Narrator: Michael Stellman
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG
Story Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 07/17/2015
Length: 07 hours 55 minutes
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Sex in Seattle: Book Three
Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it’s cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.
James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of eighteen, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by twenty-eight, he’s lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.
Michael and James are made for each other. But they must let go of stubbornness to see that life finds a way and love has no limitations.
Though relatively young and quiet, Michael Lamont is a dedicated home-care nurse who also lovingly assists other men part-time as a sex surrogate. A devoted fan of science fiction novels, he jumps at the chance to have some books signed by his favorite author, J.C. Guise, but is unprepared for the spark that occurs when he meets James Gallway, the man behind the stories. Wheelchair bound, depressed, and attempting to rejuvenate a failing career, James struggles to understand the attraction his adoring fan apparently has for him. As he reluctantly gets to know Michael better, the doubts about himself and his appeal, along with Michael’s own secrets, threaten to undo the fragile bond they forge together.
I loved so many aspects of this story, from the heroic and beautifully drawn main characters, to the fascinating secondary characters, to the powerful theme of hope and healing.
I appreciated Eli Easton’s attention to her characters’ background stories, to the needs of those who live with disabilities, and to the basic longing humans have to be loved, touched, and accepted. James and Michael are both expertly drawn, fully-developed characters, distinctly different and entirely perfect together, despite the imperfections and insecurities they harbor. James’ history is colorful, tragic, and heartbreaking. It serves as a strong and powerful support for his current life situation and helps the reader to understand the struggle that sometimes exists between the need to succumb or to overcome, whether living with a disability or not. His dubious foray into a relationship with Michael is both painful and hopeful as he fights against ghosts of the past and his doubts about own self-worth. The growth he makes as he allows Michael into his life is touching and inspiring, even as conflicts and tension continue to simmer internally and within the relationship. Michael is just an angel, period. Though he struggles with his own doubts and insecurities, his relationships with his patients are achingly tender and heart-wrenching. As he grows closer to James, the reader is treated to his sensitivity and compassion, as well as his deep desire to be loved by someone who accepts him for who he is and what he offers to others. Though fraught with hurdles, the journey that James and Michael take together is beautifully written and gorgeous to witness.
Eli Easton also makes a powerful impact upon James and Michael’s story through her vividly drawn secondary characters. Patients, family, and friends alike are artfully crafted and bring further color and life to the pages with their vibrancy and unique personalities. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting each of them and the dynamic they brought to the storyline. Additionally, I must note that one character who wasn’t even a member of the cast held particular interest for me. Lamb, the quite intriguing and sympathetic robot character introduced through excerpts of James’s science fiction novel, seemed to be on a fascinating romantic adventure of his own. Though few, his snippets made me want to see his story written, and I wonder if Ms. Easton has possible plans to expand upon that in the future.
Filled with realism and human complexities, The Mating of Michael is a gorgeous testament to love overcoming obstacles. Though not new, its message surrounding the value of accepting and giving to others is presented in a unique, compelling m/m romance with extraordinary, engaging characters. This is the first book I have read by Eli Easton, and it has made me a fan. Though it is written as part of the Sex in Seattle series with characters overlapping in the various titles, this book easily reads as a standalone. It also serves as an excellent endorsement for the rest of the series, which I will be picking up to read as well.
Michael Stellman’s reading of The Mating of Michael held just enough emotion and inflection to create a compelling and engaging listening experience. The huskiness of his voice made for easy listening and lent a definite sexiness to the narration. Overall, a job well done.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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