I’ve long held that the majority of M/M Romantica(R) actually features two straight, gorgeous, pumped alpha males who just happen to be having sex. No, really. Substitute one of the men for a woman and many stories likely wouldn’t change at all. And I suppose that’s at least part of the appeal for straight women who love the genre. Though I’m totally guessing (I was no psych major; God forbid).
Personally, that lack of two stereotypical alpha heroes is why I love A.J. Llewellyn’s stories, and his newest EC release, Mating Tomeo, is a fine example. It stars two Asian men, one decidedly more alpha, one more beta, who fall in love in 1940s Hawaii. It’s got plenty of hot sex, if that’s why you’re buying, but it’s a romance, first and foremost, between two men whose culture seems to glory in gay love even as it forbids it. No tan, glistening, musclebound men reside between the pages of this book…and IMO, it’s more compelling for it.
In 1946 Hawaii, Tomeo Yamaguchi harbors a secret that would be considered shameful by his traditional Japanese family—he aches for the caress of other men.
Which makes it particularly devastating when Tomeo’s father hires a tanomoshi—a matchmaker—to find a bride for his son.
Tomeo spends time with the tanomoshi, Shin Yamada, and as the men come to know one another, deep feelings emerge, the transition from friends to lovers inevitable. They fall into a clandestine affair, their hushed and hidden lovemaking as beautiful and breathless in their eyes as it is torrid in the eyes of others.
More time spent worshipping Tomeo’s body means less time finding him a suitable bride. Shin’s forsaking his duty…but mating Tomeo is worth every stolen second.