Title : The Mating of Michael Word Count :74,335
Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance
Blurb : Everyone admires Michael Lamont for being a nurse, but his part-time work as a gay sex surrogate not only raises eyebrows, it’s cost him relationships. Michael is small, beautiful, and dedicated to working with people who need him. But what he really wants is a love of his own. He spends most of his time reading science fiction, especially books written by his favorite author and long-time crush, the mysteriously reclusive J.C. Guise.
James Gallway’s life is slowly but inexorably sliding downhill. He wrote a best-selling science fiction novel at the tender age of eighteen, while bedridden with complications of polio. But by twenty-eight, he’s lost his inspiration and his will to live. His sales from his J.C. Guise books have been in decline for years. Wheelchair bound, James has isolated himself, convinced he is unlovable. When he is forced to do a book signing and meets Michael Lamont, he can’t believe a guy who looks like Michael could be interested in a man like him.
Michael and James are made for each other. But they must let go of stubbornness to see that life finds a way and love has no limitations.
My Review : First off the bat , I must say I really appreciate an author like Eli Easton who is not afraid of portraying certain aspects of life that others shy away from and it is done beautifully. James is a washed up has been sci-fi author who is afflicted with polio. From a very young age his legs have been paralyzed and he has been confined to a wheelchair. He has some trust issues -which is totally understandable -after being left at the age of six by his mother, the one person who should love you through anything. James does not believe that he will ever find someone who can be in a relationship with, he just can’t see anyone looking past his disability. He is very self concious about his thin legs in particular, all he sees is how useless they are. James is a 29 year old virgin who has become a bit reclusive. This attitude has spilled over into his beloved work, his books that were meant to be an escape is now his only reality and not a very good one at that. His book sales have tanked , because his last few books haven’t lived up to the legend of his very first book. His agent pushes him to open up to the outside world and do a book signing. He is so afraid of people not seeing him as a whole man. James is even more afraid of losing his independence if his publisher drops him and he loses his income.
James does the book signing very reluctantly and nervously. This is where he first meets Michael, a very die-hearted fan. Michael has had a crush on his favorite author for years and he can’t wait to meet him. Michael is petite, very sexy and a little bit fem. He is a nurse as well as a sex surrogate. He likes healing people and repairing their sexual pysche, whether the damage has been caused by a disability, abuse or even shyness. He really likes his job as a surrogate not for any kinky reasons , but rather from the joy that people can experience from the intimacy of touch. Michael is definitely not turned off when he notices that his crush is wheelchair-bound.
James is very skittish when he meets Michael and flat out turns him down when he invites him to lunch. Michael is a little heartbroken but he is persistent. He shows up at the swimming pool where James work out and tries to pursue him. James rebuffs him once again. Poor Michael keeps at him and James feel really bad for being so rude to Michael. James let’s him know there can be nothing else besides friendship between them. Their friendship builds up a bit at a time. However, there is a lot they have both not revealed about themselves to each other. Michael has not revealed that he is a sex surrogate, because he knows many people don’t understand what he does and can’t handle it. James has also not shared much of his past with Michael which would explain why he is so afraid to let people in and believe that they would want to stay and be with him. Their relationship gradually segues from friendship into something sexual, but it goes very slow because of James’ reluctance for Michael to see him naked and exposed both figuratively and literally.
I think one of the hardest things for people living with disabilities is the lack of touch and intimacy. There is an invisibility cloak shrouding their disabled bodies. There are some who think that by not acknowledging and hiding these bodies from able-bodied sensibilities, you won’t have to view them in a sexual way. People living with disabilities are viewed as asexual and ‘unsexy’ and this can cause self esteem issues and feelings of inferiority. This was inherent of how James and how Michael’s surrogacy clients felt about their bodies. I really appreciated how Easton shined a light on this notion of disability and sexuality in a positive way that ended in a truly happy ending. Michael and James got to that place where they could love ,trust and be totally exposed to each other without the fear of judgement. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.