A YOUNGER MAN by Cameron Dane
A Younger Man by Cameron Dane
Liquid Silver Books
Reviewed by Cassie
At forty-two, Noah Maitland has recently divorced his wife of more than twenty years and come out of the closet. He’s dealing with the fallout in his personal and professional lives as best he can, and trying to figure out his way in a new world. The man he came out for was already in love with someone else, and Noah’s confidence isn’t high enough for him to put himself out into the dating scene. It takes an argument with his oldest son to galvanize Noah into making a move. All he wants is to find someone appropriate to love and build a new life with.
Zane Halliday is twenty-four, but sometimes he feels much older. For years he’s had the responsibility of caring for his younger brother and sister after the death of their stepfather. He works multiple jobs and does the best he can, yet he can barely keep his head above water. When he finds out he’s being evicted from his apartment, it’s the last straw. Then, while attempting to pick up some things from the apartment for his siblings, he meets Noah, who’s in the building to do some maintenance work. Seeing his distress, Noah offers a possible solution: Zane and his siblings can stay at a cabin Noah’s been fixing up for the owner if Zane will do repairs in exchange for reduced rent. Zane jumps on the offer like a lifeline.
Noah is attracted to Zane, but convinced he’s way too old for the young man. Not to mention, Zane is straight. When it becomes apparent Zane might not be as straight as they thought he was, and that he just might want Noah as much as Noah wants him, Noah has a dilemma. Can a younger man with pride, responsibilities, and secrets and an older man with responsibilities and issues of his own find common ground?
A Younger Man is a sweet, hot story of two men who desperately need love but are afraid to reach out for it. Noah is a great hero. He’s an average, regular Joe kind of guy, handsome and fit for his age, but not a supermodel. He has a good, steady job, two sons he adores, and an understanding ex-wife who is still his friend after their amicable divorce. After learning the man he initially came out for was in love with someone else, Noah’s life as a gay man kind of stalled out. He finally gets up the courage to put himself out there, but his expectations regarding a relationship and his stubborn insistence that he has to find someone his own age stifle his dating options. When he meets Zane, he initially wants to help the younger man out because he sees how hard Zane is working to keep things together for his family. He doesn’t expect or want to be attracted to a man nearly twenty years his junior, but it happens anyway. Noah is a good guy, so he doesn’t want to try to take advantage of Zane or pressure him in any way. He tells himself he can keep helping the kid without getting too attached.
Zane is young in years, but not so much in spirit. He’s had to take care of his siblings for nearly a decade—several years while taking care of his ailing stepfather as well. Zane knows all about responsibility. In fact, it’s all he’s ever really known. In a way he’s relieved to be getting help from Noah, but at the same time his pride tells him to stand on his own two feet. With an aunt constantly watching him like a hawk, waiting for him to mess up so she can take the kids away from him, and a not-so-nice loan shark breathing down his neck for repayment of loans he never should have taken out, Zane has a lot of things on his plate. An attraction to Noah is the last thing he needs. Still, the heart wants what it wants, and the more he gets to know Noah, the more Zane wants the older man.
The initial relationship buildup in A Younger Man is slow and sweet. I really liked that. Both Noah and Zane have reasons to be uneasy about their feelings, and Cameron Dane portrayed them in a realistic, not too dramatic way. Much of the conflict for both men is internal, but there are external concerns as well. Noah’s business is affected by his coming out, as are his relationships with family and friends. Zane has bigger worries, from financial woes to losing his brother and sister. All of this is portrayed in a way that comes across as true-to-life and makes the characters very sympathetic. There are also a lot of hot love scenes, which is another plus. I really enjoyed A Younger Man, and I think most contemporary romance fans will as well.