Title: On Solid Ground
Author: Quinn Anderson
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 145 Pages
At a Glance: On Solid Ground is a fine story with some pretty intense moments but no real emotional payout, relationship-wise.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Chance Crawford and Kit Gibbons are on the cusp of an epic office romance. After months of saying hi in the elevator and making small talk at parties, they’re both dying to make a move. Too bad neither of them can work up the courage. Nerdy, risk-averse Chance is waiting for Kit to give him a sign, whereas Kit’s too afraid of being out in his professional life to date the cutie from IT. If only one of them could find the proper motivation, their shaky flirtation could become something real.
Then an earthquake rocks their city. They band together to help others escape, until an aftershock leaves them trapped in a collapsing office building with little hope of survival. The very earthquake that brought them together could also tear them apart.
Drunk on fear and adrenaline, passions run high, but how can they think about romance when any minute could be their last? They’ll have to face danger, themselves, and each other before they can get back on solid ground.
Review: Life at the office is mundanely the same for both Chance Crawford and Kit Gibbons. For Chance, it’s the stress of being on-call to answer and fix any and all IT questions the multi-floor building offers up, and for Kit, it’s dealing with executives who aren’t always the most fiscally responsible—especially his direct boss. Kit also has the added worry of hiding his sexuality from those he works with, because he fears he will be denied promotion, or be ostracized by his peers, if he doesn’t. Chance has no such qualms, and while he doesn’t exactly broadcast that he is gay, nor does he hide it from his coworkers. The two men have been eyeballing each other for some time, but neither are sure of reciprocating interest or, in Chance’s case, if Kit is even gay.
Then, in a split second the world implodes. A major earthquake rocks the very foundation of the building in which they work, and within hours, Kit and Chance find themselves alone and trapped in the crumbling shell after helping those surrounding them to escape. Now the two men are faced with the idea that the next aftershock might bring the entire building down, and bury them inside. Should they grab what could be their last chance to express to each other how they feel, or do they remain silent and lose what could be the last opportunity to see if their interest is mutual?
On Solid Ground by Quinn Anderson started off really well for me. The flirtatious air about Chance and Kit that always stopped short when Kit realized he could be exposed was very believable and well done. The pushy coworker who egged Chance on to actually step up and find out if Kit was indeed attracted to him was well-meaning and rather sweet in her attempts to help her friend finally act on his feelings. However, it was the actual initial quake and the violent aftershocks that really ramped this novel up to full speed, and provided a tension that made me want to continue reading. I could feel the fear and hysteria that the event caused for those trapped in the building, and the descriptive passages about the crumbling structure were spot-on and terrifying to read.
Then came the lull, the part of the story where Kit and Chance came to terms with the fact that they may not be rescued prior to the building going down completely, trapping them beneath the rubble. This should have been a rather huge declarative moment where the two guys would profess their attraction, and finally act upon it. Instead, I felt the story became decidedly tepid, at best, and their discovery of mutual desire rather limp. Mechanically, I was also rather distracted by the idea that anal sex had to be on the table, and that it was done with spit and grit alone—that had to be incredibly painful—and, unfortunately, that was all I could think about rather than the sexy intimacy the author was going for in that moment.
I appreciated how difficult it was for Kit to come out at work, despite it being an end of the world type scenario, but the way in which the two men broke that, and all the barriers they had erected, down seemed rather childish in nature, given that the walls were literally crumbling around them and the loss of life was the imminent danger. I think I expected some major confessions by both guys, and instead, got a rather shy, hesitant ‘maybe we should, or, ya know, maybe not’ kind of dialogue. Either way, it really didn’t work or fit into what was a rather fast-paced and exciting novel to that point. Chemistry between two people is vital, and theirs was definitely lacking.
In the end, On Solid Ground is a fine story with some pretty intense moments but no real emotional payout, relationship-wise. A good action adventure book that turned out to be rather thin in the romance department.
You can buy On Solid Ground here: