Author: Pender Mackie
Length: Novel (286 pages)
Publisher: Loose ID (September 30th, 2013)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ 5 Hearts
Blurb: Mike Strenton is tired of the hook-up scene. All the men he meets in the Las Vegas gay bars are interested in only one thing and only one night. Been there done that. About to turn thirty-eight, Mike avoids casual sex until his need for contact is too great to ignore. He secretly longs to meet someone who sees beyond his laugh lines and broad shoulders to the sensitive lover underneath. A man who’ll chose him over the walk of shame.
Twenty-seven year old Chris Bennington has never even been to a gay bar though he’s into men as well as women. He sees the funny side of just about everything, even his first time with Mike. Chris wants a lover who doesn’t have a problem with his quirky sense of humor, his inability to cook or his bisexuality and he thinks Mike fits the bill. All he has to do is convince the big guy he’s not just sticking around for breakfast
Review: So many m/m stories paint the picture of man meets man, man falls for man and they live happily ever after. If that were the case then more people would be in HEAs instead of out constantly trolling for their next conquest or someone to spend their lives with. Single Use Only explores the themes of what it means to be gay after the age of 30, and what happens to a man after his preconceived ‘use by’ date? By the time the reader grapples with this first notion, the author introduces a second conundrum: How does a gay man relate to a bi-sexual man? How do they overcome their differences to build a life of trust and acceptance with each other? Having now been presented with the main characters, the reader is sucked into the meat of the story – How does a man, Mike, riddled with poor self-esteem begin to believe that he is worthy and deserves a HEA?
These are the issues which Chris and Mike must navigate if they are to build a life together. First they must overcome their own insecurities and prejudices before they can even begin to think about how they can be together. The author creates a very real tale told from both men’s perspectives. Their relationship has a natural progression and the reader is able to see how each of the men feel and what it will take for each of them to overcome their obstacles.
As with any good story, there is angst, misunderstanding and then the final drama which creates the conflict which the lovers must overcome. You don’t actually ‘see’ the big drama coming, but when it happens, it seems natural and organic and not contrived and it allows you to root for Chris and Mike even more; because at this point, they’ve both overcome their own personal demons and must now battle the external ones in order to be worthy of their HEA.
A thoroughly realistic and enjoyable read.