Aidan Wayne

Books

Loud and Clear (2016), Making Love (2017), Play It Again: A Slow Burn Romance (2019), Not So Cookie Cutter (2019)


Loud and Clear (2016)

Loud and ClearLet me state first that the cover may be innocuous, but it also gives you completely the wrong idea about the book. There are no car chases are action scenes, it’s just that one character is a cab driver in the city.

Jaxon may be a high school drop out, but he enjoys being a cab drive–and is good at it, despite the fact he can’t read. When he picks up a handsome fare who doesn’t talk, he doesn’t think much about it (after all, he’s a good tipper, and fares are not require to speak) but there’s something about him…

Caleb has such a severe stutter, than he prefers to converse in ASL except when he has practiced and prepared himself. So he’s not sure how to thank his kind cab driver–except that he feels he really should after a night out gone wrong.

There is so much that happens in this story, and it’s all so well done I just want to squeal.

Jaxon is dyslexic, but because he is a poor POC, no one ever took the time to discover why he couldn’t read, so he failed out of school.

Caleb has a stutter so severe that he prefers to us ASL to communicate, but because he is white and wealthy, he was able to get an excellent education, and fight the stereotypes that kept everyone thinking that he, too, was stupid.

We the reader know that Jaxon isn’t stupid–far from it since he memorized the city so he could be a successful cab driver–but he assumes that he is stupid because he can’t read, because the system failed him.

But all of that is between the lines of the story, excluding one single paragraph.

Caleb fought the urge to clench a fist. Jaxon always acted like he’d done something wrong when he didn’t know a sign, like he was stupid for not learning an entire language in a weekend. Caleb really wanted to find Jaxon’s old teachers and punch them all in the face.

It is amazingly well done how we see how these two men were shaped by their pasts.

ALSO Jaxon’s sister is marvelous.

He was simply waiting for the other shoe to drop, and he was worried it was going to trip him up somehow. He’d said as much to Tatyana, who’d yelled at him over the phone to suck it up and just enjoy a good thing now that he had it.

Again, you can read between the lines how much she adores her older brother, but can’t convince him of his worth.

And Jaxon is just the sweetest cinnamon roll, whom you want only the best for.

Okay to try learning the language Caleb was most comfortable speaking? Okay? This was already the best date of Caleb’s life, and they hadn’t even ordered dinner yet.

It’s a lovely story, and I can’t believe I waited this long to read a second Aidan Wayne story considering how much I adored Play It Again.

Publisher : Riptide Publishing
Rating: 9/10

Making Love (2017)

Making LoveCarla wants to be cupid that finds and brings about True Love. But although her aim is perfect, her ability to figure out who to aim at… is much less so.

“Oh,” Carla said, abashed. She’d seen the travel match in both of their profiles and hadn’t dug deeper to see what kind they really liked.

When a succubus comes into the Aphrodite Agency seeking true love, she is thrown out unceremoniously. But Carly thinks Leeta truly wants to find love, and so decides to take Leeta on as a side project.

Although the words are never used, Carla is clearly demisexual.

Carla nodded, blushing hard. “I just felt really, um, awkward. Not that there’s anything wrong with sex,” she hurried to add. “Obviously! I just felt uncomfortable, um, looking at it?”

She repeatedly “fails” Chemistry and none of her matches ever take, because she just doesn’t “get” chemistry. And the idea of a cupid who didn’t really understand romantic love was kind of adorable.

The whole thing is ridiculously adorable, and I love that Carla’s being ace is the heart of the conflict of the romance–she doesn’t understand it, so she can’t see it when it’s in front of her.

The only weak part for me was the very end. I don’t think that Carla finding true love would have fixed her ability to “sense” chemistry between people. I felt like that was kind of selling short the work she did to understand chemistry.

But aside from that: cute and I love to see the ace rep!

Publisher : Riptide Publishing
Rating: 8/10

Play It Again: A Slow Burn Romance (2019)

Play It AgainDovid Rosenstein and his sister Rachel run the popular YouTube channel Don’t Look Now, with Rachel behind the camera and Dovid starring in the videos–many of which focus on accessibility and anti-bullying, since Dovid has spent most of his life navigating a sighted world.

Dontlooknowdovid: Oh yeah? Anything you can talk about? Or want to talk about? I’m all ears.

Dontlooknowdovid: (literally; I use a text-to-speech function)

Sam Doyle is a Let’s Play gamer, whose accent and way of describing his play appeals first to Rachel, and then to Dovid, who develops a bit of an instant crush on him. A long-distance friendship slowly develops, and grows into something more.

They were using an awful lot of emoticons with each other. Were they flirting? Was this flirting? If this were anyone else Dovid would totally consider it flirting. But he really liked Sam, and Sam was just so nice. Maybe Dovid was just projecting. He didn’t want to say or do anything wrong by accident.

THIS STORY IS SO SWEET!

Dovid is pretty open and straight-forward, but Sam is a shy introvert, so Doivd (and we) slowly learn about what makes him happy–and what doesn’t (his job first and foremost).

And did I mention how sweet it is?

“Oh, well, actually, I found something very interesting to read? Although a bit… erm…”

“What? What is it?”

“Did you know there’s fanfiction about us?” Sam blurted out.

“What!” Dovid yelped. “You found that?”

I highlighted a good deal of this book, except that now I’m done, I realize almost everything I quoted would give away so many of the things you slowly discover over the course of the book, which would ruin so much of the joy of reading the book.

So here’s what I can tell you up front: There is Ace and Bi representation in this book, lots of discussion about consent and boundaries, and… did I mention how sweet it is??

I will quote something that hit me particularly hard, but I’ll hide it, so you won’t see it unless you want to, after you’ve read the story.

SPOILER (rot 13)

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Naq ur xarj nyy bs gung orpnhfr…

Orpnhfr gurl unq gbyq uvz fb.

END SPOILER

It’s just a sweet and lovely story, and it’s full of things I adore, and I highly highly recommend it.

Publisher: Carina Press
Rating: 9/10

Re-Read: March 2020
Rating: 9/10

Not So Cookie Cutter (2019)

Not So Cookie CutterJerrell is content being second baker, but he doesn’t mind taking over the kitchen when his co-worker is out sick.

What he doesn’t expect is to be called out front so a customer can talk to him.

He clasped his hands behind his back, at-ease stance so he wouldn’t cross his arms. He’d been told enough times that it made him look like a thug, so he tried to avoid doing it.

Jerrell is a big guy, and in shape, and so people have expectations. Because he doesn’t fulfill those expectations, no one ever wants to see him more than once. So that’s your relationship impediment: he doesn’t expect anyone to want him for himself.

He’s also incredibly sweet and obviously loves what he does (and is good at it).

Rafi took in the counter, already set with Jerrell’s food scale and stand mixer, and the butter and eggs Jerrell had left out so that they’d warm to room temperature.

What I liked best about this story is that although we discover what Jerrell is feeling, we are shown the most important parts, like him getting hit on at the gym, or how he is easily distracted yet good at his job.

It’s very sweet AND all the boinking was fade to black! And for a novella, the other characters had distinct personalities (especially Melody) which is always lovely.
Rating: 7/10