“I am well aware that for some, love and passion do not always follow the traditional path” – Amanda Quick
Author: Jet Mykles
Publisher: MLR Press
Pages/Word Count: 86 pages
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Blurb: When Steven helps his neighbor Devon move into the studio apartment upstairs, he can’t help but drool.
Devon is straight and totally off limits. Knowing, though, doesn’t stop the desire Steven fights every time the two men are together, which is a lot since Steven has decided to take Devon under his wing until the young man can get his life together.
Review: Devon Cream is a unique “gay for you” story that partners a slightly older man with one ten years younger than himself. Steven Connolly has dreams of one day being the head chef in his own restaurant. Until then, he works for a less than friendly boss and saves to make his dream a reality. When he hears the slide and thump of something hitting the floor outside his apartment, he runs right into a rather shy and very handsome, Devon Pavenic. Devin is moving in on an upper floor after being thrown out of his home by less than tolerant parents. He is shy and unassuming and just a little lost—all the things that make Steven want to reach out and rescue him.
As these two men get to know one another, it is apparent that Devon could really use someone taking care of him, and Steven handily steps in to fill the position. However, Steven feels his growing attraction for Devon most keenly, and realizes that he has no real chance with this straight boy who lives just a floor above him…or does he?
Devon Cream is my first Jet Mykles novella. I was very pleasantly surprised at the clever way in which this author used Stevens’s best friend, Patty, to continually prod Steven into action and keep these two men angling for some type of deeper relationship. While she was occasionally abrasive, Ms. Mykles managed to keep this gal pal character from stepping over into the type of bitchy, in your face character that we so often see in this genre. That was a real breath of fresh air and made for interesting interactions between Steven and Patty.
Steven was really such a sweet man. His motivation for wanting to take care of Devon, help him, ran much deeper than his initial feelings of lust for the man. No, this aspiring chef was the real deal—just a nice guy willing to help out a young man who obviously was down on his luck and thrown away by his family. I found myself really enjoying this character, wanting him to somehow make it work with Devon, even though Devon didn’t seem emotionally capable to be a suitable partner for Steven.
So where did this novella fall apart for me? Well, it was actually the character of Devon that failed to be believable enough for me. Through a good portion of this story, Devon was the weaker partner, fumbling and sweet, shy and almost evasive in his demeanor. Steven worked hard to put Devon at ease. But throughout most of the book, there was little inkling that Devon could really make the transition to “gay for you”. When that moment finally arrived, it seemed forced and implausible. In fact, after that one brief night, Steven does his best to push Devon away, keep him at arm’s length and just as a friend. So it was really startling when Devon seems to do a complete 180 and become the aggressor in the relationship. It was so out of character, this complete flip in his personality, and because it was done hastily and with little explanation, the ending of this novella was just far too contrived in my opinion.
So, while Devon Cream was not as real as I would have liked it to be, there was still some undeniably excellent writing by author Jet Mykles earlier on in the story. SO much so, that I know I will be looking up more work by this author so that I can get a real taste of her talent.