The other day I mentioned starting to read “The Locker Room” by Amy Lane. I also said that I had to put it down, because the conflict was too much for me. But after putting it down, I kept wondering what happened to the characters, Xander Karcek and Christian Edwards. I loved the characters immediately. They were innocent and genuine from the start, two guys who were true and whose primary trait is integrity. They fell in love in high school and created their own version of love following the examples they found around them. I really got into the way they analyzed everything and figured out how to make a life together wherever they were. One of the characters was from a very disadvantaged background and I really liked seeing how he found a way to achieve his goals by creating opportunity where most people would find none. It was very gratifying.
Because Chris and Xan were so good and so brave in the face of incredible odds, the hints of crushing conflict and insidious challenges to their integrity were too much for me. My solution to the trauma, was to skim the book…but that lasted about half a page before I was just plain reading again. I kept telling myself I would read until it was too hurtful and then I’d skip ahead to see how it ended. Ha. I stayed up super late reading to the last page…hurrying through, but the anticipation was much worse than the actual stress. It was never as overwhelming as I feared. And then, because I’d hurried through it, I started right back at page one and read it again…the conflict no longer the black unknown…and enjoyed the heck out of Chris and Xander and their creation of their ideal life.
Fresh out of the second run-through of “The Locker Room”, I had a look at my list of Amy Lane books and decided to read:
“Super Sock Man” (a quick fantasy of a love story – guy falls for his older sister’s hot, gay roommate – and btw, the guy is good friends with Chase from the “Chase in Shadow” book…so a Johnnies prequel);
then “Talker” (a love story of two unique college students who become friends, then take a few twists and turns on the way to their happily ever after);
followed by “Clear Water” (older man-younger man romance with some quirks and challenges, but fabulous hyperbolic characters and a thriller-mystery thrown in.) (Also note, the book title IS Clear Water – I checked my reader to be sure – despite this book cover saying Clear WaterS.)
Lane books I have read, but did not re-read in this marathon are:
“Dex in Blue” (omg, love the Johnnies! though this series is very serious, it is soooo good – incredibly well-developed characters and great depth of exploration of the world, the challenges, the possibilities);
“Ethan in Gold” (I wish Ethan was real and I was younger and I met him and he liked girls! Ethan was sexually abused at an early age and the repercussions spread out to effect everything in his life and leaving him hungry for touch. Once again, complex characterization and deep exploration) (aside on the topic of Johnnies, I missed “Chase in Shadow”, but know the story and don’t think I can read it, so I probably won’t…too much stress!);
“Shiny” (hilarious story that begins when two guys meet after one runs into a trashcan containing cast-off sex toys belonging to the other)
“It’s Not Shakespeare” (two worlds colliding – college professor and working class, Hispanic man);
“I Love You, Asshole!” (fantasy novel of fey and vampires, fantasy battle of good and evil, but shades of the depth of story in the Johnnies books);
“If I must” (adorable characters, a mathematical genius and a computer programmer, whose love for each other is a surprising discovery).
The list on my reader rounds out with:
“Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters”;
and “Christmas with Danny Fit.”
So, here’s to you, Amy! I Love your characters, the creative worlds they inhabit and the enchanting, engaging plots and scenes you spin.