I DO TWO! Anthology
I Do Two! by Ruth Sims, Alex Beecroft, Lee Rowan, Gillian Palmer, Brian Holliday, Rob Rosen, Sophia Deri-Bowen, Nigel Puerasch, Rick R. Reed, Nexis Pas, Michael Gouda, ‘Nathan Burgoine, Jamie Freeman, Bruin Fisher, D.C. Juris, James Buchanan, L-J Baker, Charlie Cochrane, Neil S. Plakcy, Julia Rios, J.L. Merrow, and Lenore Black
GLBT Contemporary, Historical, and Paranormal
Reviewed by Shayna
“Turnabout” by Lee Rowan
It’s Christmas morning and Lord Robert Scoville finally has a chance to relax and enjoy the day with his lover, Jack Darling. But can a relationship between a nobleman and his servant ever truly be equal?
Journey into Victorian England with Lee Rowan’s “Turnabout.” Robert and Jack charmed me from the start and the love between them defies social status and “convention.” What I loved about “Turnabout” is that neither Robert nor Jack blatantly ignored the rules of society, they simply did what they could to make their relationship work. “Turnabout” is simply a lovely, warm story that’s a delight to enjoy.
“Under the Shadow of Your Wings” by Gillian Palmer
Bee and Eliza run an orphanage and do the best they can to live their lives as they wish. When a new child with a connection to Bee shows up at the orphanage, it’s a bittersweet moment that will only serve to make Bee and Eliza’s home more complete.
“Under the Shadow of Your Wings” has beauty in sadness and two strong, caring heroines that are unforgettable. Bee has lost so much of her family that when her nephew shows up at the orphanage, it was a lovely, yet heartbreaking moment. I adored Bee and Eliza and admired the capable way they handled the obstacles facing two women being life partners and running an orphanage in Prohibition-era Harlem. Their life is not without its sacrifices, but Gillian Palmer shows the true mettle of both women in “Under the Shadow of Your Wings.”
“Cakewalk” by ‘Nathan Burgoine
Babysitting an almost-teenager is difficult enough without adding the fact that it’s your boyfriend’s daughter and she doesn’t seem to like you too much. But Charles is up to the challenge and, with a little help from his co-workers, maybe he can make Neil’s family his own as well.
“Cakewalk” is a wonderfully sweet story that I adore more each time I read it. I don’t envy Charles having to deal with the awkwardness of watching Neil’s daughter on his own, and I give the man credit for doing the best he can to win the girl over. There’s nothing not to love about “Cakewalk.” It’s got a bright energy about it, stemming from Charles and his obvious love for Neil and the way he goes about bridging the gap between himself and the rest of Neil’s family. Even the cake decorating scenes are something any Food Network fan will be delighted by (I sure was). “Cakewalk” was the first story I’ve read by ‘Nathan Burgoine but it definitely won’t be the last.
“Even Guys Cry” by D.C. Juris
Derek knows better than anyone how wrong a first date can go when the guy he’s with finds out that Derek is anatomically female. Oscar is different, however. He doesn’t seem fazed by the fact that Derek was born wrong and he seems to accept Derek for who he is. Is Oscar too good to be true?
I always say I’m a fan of GLBT romances, using the acronym as a general term, but before “Even Guys Cry,” I’d never read a story with a transgender hero. Derek was a wonderful hero and D.C. Juris beautifully expresses Derek’s certainty that he is a gay man, no matter what his anatomy is. Oscar is delightful and it was wonderful watching him prove to Derek that he is the real deal. “Even Guys Cry” is both erotic and heartwarming, a winning combination in my book.
“Mallory’s Gift” by L-J Baker
It’s been three years since Gerry’s partner, Mallory, passed away. Gerry’s friends keep trying to set her up with women, but Gerry’s not ready to let go of Mallory. Then one day, Gerry finds a lost child and the girl’s frantic mother bursts into Gerry’s life. Claire’s beautiful, but can Gerry see past Mallory’s ghost long enough to take a chance on finding happiness once more?
“Mallory’s Gift” is a gorgeous story that will break your heart before it puts it back together. Gerry’s loss comes through clearly in “Mallory’s Gift” and L-J Baker made me ache to see her find happiness with Claire. It isn’t easy for Gerry. She fears loving and losing again and she also seems to be afraid that Claire will want her to push aside her love for Mallory. She underestimates herself and Claire and the beauty of Gerry’s journey will make you remember “Mallory’s Gift” long after you finish reading it.
I Do Two! is an incredible anthology filled with the voices of numerous talented authors. I highlighted some of my favorites, but there are many wonderful stories to be found in I Do Two! From Ruth Sims’s haunting fantasy, “The Legend of the Mountain Ash,” to Alex Beecroft’s phenomenal historical, “Inner Truth,” to Rick R. Reed’s sly paranormal, “Morbidly Obese,” and more, there’s something for everyone in I Do Two!
Despite its title, not all of the stories in I Do Two! involve marriage. The greatness of the anthology is that its common theme is love and commitment. What could be better than that?
Note: Another thing to love about I Do Two! is that all profits from the sales of I Do Two! are donated to the Lambda Legal Defense to fight Proposition 8.