Ruby Lang

Books: Romance

He's Come Undone: A Romance Anthology (2020)

He's Come Undone: A Romance Anthology (2020)  Emma Barry, Olivia Dade, Adriana Herrera, Ruby Lang, and Cat Sebastian

Hes Come Undone A Romance Anthology

This is five romance novellas by five authors, three M/F and two M/M.

Appassionata by Emma Barry. Brennan Connelly is a professional piano technician–one of the best in his field. The pianist, Kristy Kwong, is someone he's had a crush on since they were teenagers. But Kristy is a fallen star trying to make a comeback, who does her best to put absolutely everyone off.

It's probably weird, but my favorite part of this story was all the technical musical and piano stuff.

"There's no formal schooling to be a technician. I took a course from the guild and became Phil's assistant. He was good about making sure I was exposed to different styles, different approaches. He was the one who arranged for my internship with the concert tech at Tanglewood."

I also enjoyed Kristy's arc trying to deal with her stage fright.

Unraveled by Olivia Dade. Simon Burnham, high school math teacher, has been assigned to mentor Poppy Wick, the art teacher who has just moved into town.

Simon is an uptight prig but he is also able to recognize when he has made a mistake, and apologize.

A girl at the table next to him twitched suddenly. As her hand shot into the air, her face alight, she began to grin. Revelation. Watching it dawn on a student's face was a privilege, one he didn't take for granted. He'd been chasing that particular expression for over twenty years, day by day.

I very much enjoyed both the mysteries, and the passion both had for teaching.

I really liked Simon a lot.

The rules of gentlemanly behavior were clear under the circumstances, and he followed them. After she'd packed her belongings in her tote, he offered to carry it for her. As she locked her classroom door behind them, he scanned the dim hallway to ensure her safety. Once they reached her car, he made certain she left the lot before driving away himself.

Caught Looking by Adriana Herrera. Yariel and Hatuey have been best friends since they were teenagers–and Yariel has been in love with Hatuey for almost that entire time.

This was fine. It kept me reading, but nothing especially stood out.

Yes, And… by Ruby Lang. Darren Zhang is a doctor who needs to learn to relax. So he signs up for the meditation class as assigned–except he accidentally ends up in Joan Lacy's improv class.

He'd entered the information a week ago, but there must have been a last-minute switch. He had to leave. But he'd already been in here for fifteen minutes, and exiting was going to be disruptive. The combination of wanting to be a good student even if he wasn't taking this course was at war with the desire to bolt and find the meditation room, where he'd already missed roll call and was thus probably labeled undependable.

That paragraph sums up Darren perfectly. But I appreciated that Joan was also struggling, trying to deal with her mother's health issues and figuring out what she was actually doing with her life.

Tommy Cabot Was Here by Cat Sebastian. Set in Massachusetts in 1959.

Everett Sloane loved Tommy Cabot, but when Tommy got married Everett all but ran away across the ocean to try and mend his heart. Now he's back and shocked that Tommy's son is a student at his school–and he that he has once more to try and deal with his feelings for Tommy.

This was probably my favorite story in the anthology. Everett has good reasons to stay away from Tommy. But Tommy's life is very different now from what he or Everett could have expected, and it's changing him–mostly in very good ways.

Rating: 8/10