Circling The Drain by Stephani Hecht

Circling The Drain by Stephani Hecht
Publisher: eXtasy Books
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (103 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Play
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Sometimes it just takes one fresh spark to rekindle old desires

After being a paramedic for over ten years, Grif is burned out. He has seen all the worst society has to offer and then some. He’s tired and ready to hang up his uniform for good. The thrill of the job has long left him, and his life is going nowhere fast.

Then along comes his new partner, a green-behind-the-ears kid name Kevin. Not only does Kevin have zero in the way of experience, but he’s a brat to boot. A brat who actually is excited about his job. So why is it that Grif finds the kid so damn attractive?

Will Kevin be able to bring back the spark of excitement in Grif’s life? Or is Grif too far gone to be saved?

Grif is an EMS paramedic and totally over the percentage of clients who use the Emergency crews as their personal chauffeurs. More than ten years of working in an ambulance has ground him down and lowered his tolerance for stupidity to a bare minimum. Burnt out, he’s considering a career change, but is unable to think of anything else he’s qualified for. Grif’s cranky, bristly personality might grate on some, and it’s caused him issues in retaining a working partner. When word comes from management Grif’s going to be fired if he can’t maintain a steady working pairing, he’s partnered up with a newbie. Kevin is like a puppy, overeager and totally wet behind the ears. Kevin privately could admit it was his little head – not his large brain – that had volunteered him to be Grif’s partner, but could this mis-matched odd couple bring both Grif and Kevin a lasting happiness both secretly yearn for?

I really loved the by-play between Grif and Kevin. While at a first glance it might seem like they’re complete opposites, it very quickly became clear they’re more alike than you’d think. Kevin might be all positive and have rosy glasses on, but he’s not naïve or stupid. Bad things happen, and working in EMS you see that every day. But retaining that optimism and positive outlook keeps him seeming young and happy, even though he’s got more personal problems going on in his private life than many. The sub-plot revolving around Kevin and his family takes a back seat to the burgeoning relationship between Kevin and Grif – but still manages to help flesh out the strength of the overall story.

Grif, for all his crankiness, is just ground down by all the idiocy people can show all too often during accidents and emergencies. He’s not, however, pessimistic or fatalistic. Grif is just tired of stupid people and wasteful actions caused by the inherent selfishness so many people have. Deep down, Grif still has an urge to care for and help out in people’s darkest times of need. Under the layer of grumpy, he’s definitely an everyday hero. Grif and Kevin’s path together is somewhat rocky – particularly at the beginning, but neither man is an idiot.

I found this a heart warming story, full of spice and action. I loved how realistic both men were. Neither are campy, or over the top. They have their own issues and insecurities, but their coming together is a wonderful thing to witness. I enjoyed the author’s realism and style. There are a few sub-plots that kept the overall pace of the book moving well and I felt added to the strength of the story as a whole. At no stage did I think any particular action by Grif or Kevin was stupid, or forced. I can imagine more than a few fiery arguments in the men’s future, but the solid attraction between them and the strength of the start of their relationship has me smiling and certain they’ll work through anything that comes their way. A great M/M for those wanting a solid plot, enjoyable characters and a happy ending.

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