A thing long expected takes the form of the unexpected when at last it comes. – Mark Twain
Rory Delaplaines fell in love with an ideal. He fell in love with an artist’s work, and by association, convinced himself it was his Destiny to swoop in like a valiant knight on noble steed—rust-bucket car works here, too—to sweep the fair damsel of his dreams off her feet with nothing more than his faithful heart and sincere boyish charm. And flowers. Yes, there were flowers on hand too.
Rory sets out upon a cross-country quest from Louisiana to California to pursue the maiden of his heart, to win her hand, and to begin, from that moment forward, a life of blissfully-ever-after. It is a tiresome journey filled with many an inconvenience and hardship, a virtuous conquest for his lady-love that is coupled with sacrifice and has left him humble and near penniless, but is worth the price Rory has paid. He is drawn helplessly by his desires but has forfeited willingly the comfort of home and hearth to find his true love. It is fated to be, after all, as inevitable as the sun rises and sets, as permanent as the ink on the page, that the enchanting Ran Yamane will ever belong to Rory; though, as with any quest worth pursuing, there are always great obstacles and near insurmountable odds to overcome, the greatest being that…
Yamane is a man.
And Rory is straight.
Oops. ::fail:: Somebody didn’t do his homework.
Drawn Together is a story that has some humorous elements to it, some very sweet and charming moments, as well as a cat-and-mouse plot involving a Cuckoo-For-Cocoa-Puffs stalker who thinks Ran Yamane would look rather nice as a personal ornamental accessory, perhaps chained prettily in a corner of her kooky boudoir. Yes, sanity and Amelia Gianfranco are not on intimate terms. They don’t even live in the same area code.
So, understandably, Yamane is little more than a recluse who has a difficult time trusting anyone, particularly strange men who would drive across the United States with the intent of making the artist the first, last, and always Mrs. Yamane Delaplaines. Right? Creepy stalker chick, and potentially creepy stalker dude? You can see the correlation. But there’s something about Rory’s down-home Southern boy mannerisms and charms that have Yamane’s compassion wanting to poke its little turtley head right out of his shell, and he takes pity on Rory and gives him shelter, like a lost puppy. A lost puppy who’s really attractive to the openly gay artist.
You can probably guess what happens from there, in the ups and downs of trying to figure out this relationship that can’t be, then can be, then almost isn’t. There’s a lot of suspense thrown into the mix, as Ms. Wacky Pants baits the hook that will lead Rory and Yamane right into her evil trap. Ah, but there are a few flaws in her sinister plot; namely that a lot of people hate her and can smell the stink of her crazy all over her.
Drawn Together is old-school ZAM, published waaaay back in 2009. This is one that I’ve had on my TBR pile for years and finally got around to bumping it up on my list. If I were to do an apples-to-apples comparison of this book with, say, any of the St. Nacho’s books, I’d have to say that it doesn’t quite measure up. I loved Rory immensely but never made an emotional connection with Yamane, which may have been the whole point—he was supposed to be somewhat set apart, first because of the stalker ordeal, but also because of the way he’s perceived; owed to his delicate, beautiful, and exotic appearance. I was very much onboard with the story most of the way through, but didn’t feel that the homestretch held up to the action of the rest of the book. Once the Amelia Loony-Toons part of the storyline was resolved, the remainder of the book felt a bit anticlimactic in comparison. That’s not to say I wouldn’t recommend the book, but it’s to say if you’ve read a lot of ZAM’s work, this one may or may not end up being a favorite.