Author: Jaycee Edward
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 42 Pages
At a Glance: Dragons is a sweet romance that will tug at your heartstrings.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: A chance encounter in a hospital waiting room between twenty-two year old Will Messina and sixteen year old Josiah Pinkerton ends with a gift of a stuffed dragon off the hospital gift cart and a memory neither of them can shake.
Five years later, when a lonely, buttoned-up Will ventures into a gay club, he spots a pale, leather-clad specter with violet eyes tracking his every move. Will realizes he’s being watched by the grown version of the boy who’s haunted his thoughts for years.
Joey recognizes Will, but he’s no longer the sweet, brown-eyed boy worthy of Will’s attention. He’s damaged and defective and lives in a different world than Will now. When his childhood crush makes his way across the bar, Joey doesn’t have time to decide whether to be enchanted or dismayed because, unless he turns and runs, those worlds are about to collide.
Review: Short stories are a tricky format. Either you hit them just right or they feel a tad unfinished, as if something has been left out that was necessary to the overall flow. Jaycee Edward’s Dragons comes very close to hitting the mark. It is a sweet romance that will tug at your heartstrings.
To say much more than the blurb above about this story would be to give key moments away, and those should be read and savored as there are some lovely scenes in this story. Suffice it to say cancer has left its mark on young Josiah Pinkerton, and what was left behind in terms of self esteem took another huge hit when Joey’s mother found out he was gay. Now, alone and barely surviving, stoically finding sex and acceptance wherever he can, Joey lives a half-life steeped in sadness and a big heaping of self-loathing.
Will Messina is in many ways equally adrift, although not career wise. Instead, he has more than his share of difficulty finding someone to love, someone he wants to spend his life with, someone he can cherish and feel cherished in return. When he happens upon Joey, the world shifts and all the feelings he once had that barely had time to take root, come rushing back. But both men have changed, and there is fear and reluctance on both sides.
This sweet short story had a few rough edges, most notably the initial transition into the future, five years hence. It felt very abrupt, and I had to reread it a few times to make sure I understood the leap into the future. After that, however, the rest of the short unfolded nicely. Both Will and Joey had their share of fear over trying not to mess up this second chance life had given them. Joey’s self-view and his idea that he was not worthy of Will due to what the cancer had done to him was just heartbreaking. Joey’s transformation was defined by a beautiful awakening of self-worth and its ability to redefine one’s self esteem by seeing yourself through the eyes of love and not self-hate.
I am eager to see a longer piece of work from this author. I believe she has some wonderful stories to tell us. If Dragons is any indication of the potential that lies inside Jaycee Edward’s imagination, then I think we are in store for some really exciting work down the road.
You can buy Dragons here: