Series: Starting Over #1
Author: Matthew J. Metzger
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Length: 204 pages
Reviewed by Sammy
Sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together.
Aled is in a rut. Thirty-three, separated from his wife and avoiding his best friend so he doesn’t have to see how well her love life is going doesn’t make for a good time. So, when a friend suggests a one-night stand to shake off the dust, Aled decides to play along. Maybe some no-strings-attached sex is exactly what he needs to get himself going again and give him the energy to get his life back on track.
But when Aled’s dominant streak meets Gabriel’s flirtatious submission, the one-night stand rapidly spills over into the following days and weeks. And what started out as just sex doesn’t stay that way for long, from the flour fight in Aled’s kitchen to the homemade curry in Gabriel’s flat.
Happiness is right in front of him—but Aled has to stop looking back if he wants to reach it.
Aled has always understood and supported his wife’s need for an open marriage. While he never felt the need to indulge with other partners, he would never have refused the woman he loved that decision. Theirs was a good marriage—one built on love—until it wasn’t. A devastating discovery would splinter the relationship between Aled and his wife, Melissa. Suddenly faced with the fact that she had presented him with divorce papers nearly a year after they split up, Aled now realizes that his marriage is over and cannot accept it.
On a drunken outing with his best friend Suze and her boyfriend, Tom, Aled gives in to Tom’s suggestion and signs up for what he thinks will be a grindr date one-off. But the beautiful man he meets, Gabriel, is not just a one night proposition because Aled finds himself drawn to the man. Can Gabriel fill the void left behind by Aled’s wife? Can entering into some sort of relationship with another poly-loving man be just what Aled needs to get over his wife and finally admit that she is never going to come back?
Matthew J. Metzger once again gives us fascinating characters, this time with a polyamorous twist, in his novel, The Divorce. Featuring a transgender man, Gabriel, and a lonely and desperate ex-husband, Aled, the story explores how the two begin to trust one another and discover much about themselves in the process. This is a raw and visceral story—much like a few others Mr. Metzger has written and it is not for the faint of heart or someone looking for a warm and fuzzy romance. Gabriel likes sex—needs it to feel right in his own skin and refuses to be tied down to just one man no matter how much he may like the guy. He also needs it rough—BDSM is his go to happy place and Aled is willing and able to give him that.
However, Aled grapples with some guilt issues over his own darker and more violent tendencies and must always be certain that when playing with Gabriel he never crosses any line that would hurt the man or make him uncomfortable. The two are pretty perfect together in terms of their sexual likes and needs. Unfortunately Aled just can’t seem to let go of his wife or actually sign those divorce papers she has given him. It would mean he had failed—and since he has loved Melissa since they were teenagers that sense of messing up cuts him very deep.
The Divorce really examines just how deeply our sense of worth is tied to loving someone else even when the love we once had has diminished over time. It also pushes at what we feel is the “normal” type of relationship and how that can be so very different for each individual. When I said earlier this is not your typical romance I wasn’t joking. For some you may have to park your preconceived notions about polyamory and BDSM at the door and enter the world the author has created—it is dark, at times, intense and sexually charged. But, if you are able to enter into this world and experience these characters as they are without judgement I think you will really enjoy what this story has to offer—I know I certainly did.
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