Why I read it: After the success of some of my other Love is an Open Road reads, I downloaded some other likely winners. This was one of them.
What it’s about: (from Goodreads) My friends and I love cosplay, and this year we’re going all out for our city’s con. Yup, we’re going to go as members of the Justice League. I’m going as Batman, but I can’t figure out who’s going as a Superman. My friends are being a little cagey. What’s going on? How did I go from not knowing who Superman is to making out with the guy?
What worked for me (and what didn’t): I was really charmed by this story, about two guys who had been best friends in college but had been estranged after a passionate kiss and a Rhodes scholarship (it’s complicated but it makes sense in the story!). Five years later, Bryce and his partners in the bar they own together, Gotham Coin, are setting up their own booth in Portland’s (fictional) PDX Comic Con. Bryce is dressed as Batman and other friends of his are in various other superhero costumes. To his shocked surprise, Superman turns out to be Clark Kenmore (I loved the name) – former BFF and the guy Bryce has been in love with since freshman year and has never quite gotten over.
While the story is novella-length and relatively simple, I had the sense that the author knew much more about this pair than what was on the page and that knowledge informed and infused the story. Little snippets of backstory had more substance – I really had the strong sense that the author could tell me all if a) we ever met and b) we had the time and c) she didn’t think I was a weirdo stalker type all about them.
Bryce and Clark belong together; that much is very clear to all who know them but good reasons have kept them apart until now. The photo prompt which inspired the request to the author, and therefore the story, takes on extra depth having read the story. It’s nice to have a visual as well and the author has even included the rainbow lining of Superman’s cape.
I enjoyed Bryce’s group of friends, their ease with each other and the connection between the protagonists and I appreciated that there were POV sections from both main characters. The story does have some hot sex and even a bit of pathos, but it is mostly sweetly charming, with plenty of geeky pop culture references for those of us who swing that way. For extra bonus points, it’s FREE.
MM ROMANCE GROUP
I read this because of your review and I really enjoyed it. I discovered Annabeth Alpert last year in some m/m anthology (Campus Cravings maybe?) and I really like her short stories. And I know I’ve said this before, but I’m glad you’re reviewing some of the Open Road stories because the options are so overwhelming.
@cleo: I’m glad you like it! I’m definitely trying more of her work now. This was really charming.