Pink Fizz by Thom Lane

PINK
Pink Fizz by Thom Lane
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Short Story (110 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed Cactus

Greg never lets himself have more than a one-night stand. That’s his cardinal rule. He’s been hurt so badly in the past, he won’t let anyone close again. He gets plenty of sex—he’s a pick-up artist of high renown—but nobody gets to play family with him any more.

Until he meets Juliette, and her entourage of young gay men. She whisks him away to the family chateau in the wine-region of Provence, and does her very best to set him up with this guy or with that. It’s sheer self-defence that drives him into the arms of Robin, the man he finds for himself – but will he ever let himself settle there, in a happiness he doesn’t trust to endure? Or is this just a holiday romance, fleeting and insubstantial and meaningless?

He has the power to change both their lives, but the choice is his; he needs to make a leap of faith, and he has no faith in anyone, least of all himself…

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to let go of the past.  Greg’s family abandoned him when he came out ten years earlier. Since then he’s guarded his heart carefully. He only allows one-night stands and no repeats, under any circumstances. His hard won shell is in danger of cracking when he meets the Romaines, a French wine family who welcomes him with open arms and unrestrained warmth. Through them he meets Robin, a local that makes Greg want to rethink all his many rules and safeguards. Yet there are good reasons why Greg’s never trusted anyone and he’s afraid to start now.

Pink Fizz is book three in author Thom Lane’s contemporary series about the Romaine family. This time the main characters are only peripherally involved with the Romaines but the backdrop to their story is the gorgeous family chateau. Anyone new to the series can pick this novella up with no concerns as it relates to the other books in very minor ways. The Romaines and the meddling Juliette make appearances, as do the other couples from the previous books but very briefly, which give a feeling of continuity for fans of the series. However, not enough that those new readers will be lost or missing out. Instead feel free to indulge in the decadence of the French countryside and revel in the lush detail.

The characters are nicely well rounded, although somewhat limited due to space and time. Greg is the narrator so Robin’s motives are only seen through Greg’s sometimes paranoid sphere. Greg is so afraid to trust that he carries this issue throughout the entire story. There is a happy ending though. Not to mention lots of sex. Greg and Robin connect on a very physical level but the story does try to show the emotional and mental connections as well. Thankfully not every sex scene is shown, or the book would be nothing but sex, and instead the two weeks of the story seem to fly by in a haze of burgeoning romance and delicious champagne.

The writing has a definite leisurely quality, which suits the subject matter. The French countryside is offered in detail and it’s easy to imagine the vegetable picking, bike riding, swimming, and lounging with wine that happens. It’s a carefree vacation for both Greg and the reader. The romance isn’t too deep but neither is the drama. Everything is kept very superficial and undemanding. Perhaps this isn’t a story that will resonate as it lacks that passionate intensity, but I found it relaxed and enjoyable. It’s an easy one to recommend for warm night with a breeze and a glass of pink fizz.

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