M/M Romance Review
“He’s the first Cameron in four generations to make it to his fifth wedding anniversary without some sort of sensationalized scandal.”
Ah, what a setup!
Author L. A. Witt takes a non-believer and squashes the doubting Thomas in me. She delivers a wonderful story with tension constantly rising as we watch Anthony and Jesse fight attraction, Simone’s struggles, and harshness of being on the campaign trail.
At first glance, the character of Jesse Cameron did not draw me in. My first thought was if he can’t stand up for his right to his sexuality, then could Jesse stand up for the rights of the constituents as a governor. Yes, I know, I’m tough. The trait comes through during my reading when I think about characterization. I love people that are mentally strong. In stories, I love seeing strength uncover especially with characters with major issues. Jesse has everything going for him, wealth, pedigree, and the ability to be or do anything he wants. That he marries knowing his sexuality is a major setback. So, yes, I have issues with Jesse right from the beginning of the story.
Anthony Hunter is suave, cool, aggressive, levelheaded, top-notch campaign manager. He doesn’t think much of Uncle Roger’s idea of publicizing Jesse and Simone’s perfect marriage as a stepping-stone into the political arena. Can’t say I don’t blame him. The state of politicians’ marriages is worth a $1.50 on the market. However, Anthony is smart. He tests Jesse, asks him about his values and beliefs. Jesse’s responses were good enough Anthony decides to head up Jesse’s campaign trail.
One of the things I love about Anthony is his immutable characterization. What you see from the beginning is pretty much what you get at the end. He isn’t perfect. He too has issues with his sexuality. His concerns are practical in nature due to his involvement in running candidates political campaigns than his owning up to who he really is.
The author does a marvelous job in gradually developing the connection between Jesse and Anthony. As the story unfolds, the tension is taut with inevitability as they dance around each other, neither one knowing the other batted for the same team. I love the moment of discovery. There is no extravagant fanfare. Anthony is flummoxed. Jesse thinks Anthony is homophobic until the first kiss.
The author also places careful restraints giving the readers a sense of reality. Jesse and Anthony could ill afford to jump each other bones without ensuring discretion. They are sensitive to Simone and the situation devised by Uncle Roger. Ranya as Jesse’s assistant is made of the awesome.
My complaints I would have seen Jesse campaigning on more economic issues. Balance out the tension with actual conflicts surrounding the campaign.
By the end of the story, I loved Jesse something fierce. And you will have to read the story to find out why. Recommended.
Title: Where There’s Smoke
Author: L.A. Witt
Publisher: Loose ID, LLC
Publication Date: February 2012