Title ~ Loose Connection (Urban Love #1)
Author ~ A E Ryecart
Published ~ 18th November 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Falling in love was easy, making it work is the hard part…
There has never been a time when Rick Taylor hasn’t been out and proud. With his Kylie ringtone and rainbow coloured clothes he’s poster boy gay with a capital G, and determined to live by the mantra bright and loud, stand out in a crowd.
When he accidently outed himself, Matt Connell’s life went into freefall. Estranged from his family and carrying a ton weight of emotional baggage, Matt strives to forge a new life for himself as he comes to terms with the man he truly is.
It may be lust at first sight, but Rick and Matt know they crave more from each other than just a one night stand as they tumble, head first, into an all-consuming and passionate love affair.
A star-crossed couple, a charismatic city and an irresistible supporting cast, Loose Connection is the first in the Urban Love contemporary gay romance series.
Buy this book today and immerse yourself in Rick & Matt’s London love story!
This is the first A E Ryecart book I’ve read. There’s no doubt she’s a wonderfully talented author, and she brings modern-day London to life, vividly and engagingly. She also builds complex, realistic characters and plumbs their depths. Not all questions are answered, but all the right ones seem to be asked.
“Loose Connection” is the story of two young men. Rick is a self-employed accountant, working out of his home office, specializing in tax practice. Matt is a plumber, an Irishman, born humble, but building a successful business on his hard work and a reputation for honesty and fairness.
Rick is the light, the joy, the color in the day. A very out gay man, he’s entirely at ease with his sexuality, comfortable and proud. His only major failing (according to his friends) is that he’s an incurable romantic. While they dedicate themselves to the score of the day, Rick dreams of the man who will be his one-and-only-and-forever, his knight in shining armor.
It’s really quite remarkable that Rick is still best friends with the three young men he met during his first term at University. Rick is so unlike the others. Zack is the sarcastic, “bitchy” one, who believes that marriage, for gay men, is nothing more than a capitulation to the heterosexual norm. In fact, Zack doesn’t even believe in being faithful. He’s been with the gorgeous, built, and level-headed Archie for more than seven years, in an open relationship that includes threesomes, foursomes and one-on-one “fooling around”. Zack’s lucky he’s found Archie, because there are few other gay men who would tolerate his rampant sexual appetite and his serial philandering. Archie must love him, because he’s made the best of a bad deal. Then there is Jake, who is almost never serious, but is successful in his own right. Unlike the others, he was not born wealthy or entitled, he had to acquire an education and make his own way in the world.
Rick meets Matt when his boiler goes on the fritz. Matt was recommended to fix it, and he was available. However, it wasn’t the boiler which ended up needing to be fixed – it was Rick. The moment Rick’s eyes caught Matt’s beautiful emerald ones, he was a goner. He turned into a stammering illiterate who couldn’t catch his breath. Convinced the gorgeous man was straight (he came off so straight!), he had to leave the room so he wouldn’t make a fool of himself. Yes, it’s a case of instant attraction, complete with electricity crackling in the air.
Nothing much happens until one night a week-or-so later, when Rick went to the local gay club with his friends. He got falling-down drunk, and his friends were too preoccupied with a ridiculously hot man to watch out for him, so he staggered out of the club, fell a few times, then vomited, repeatedly. A very kind, tender hand supported him; the other calmed him as it rubbed circles on Rick’s back. Rick thought it was one of his friends, but it was Matt, who happened to be going to the same club, saw him staggering out and went out to help him. Rick was in no shape to get home on his own. They take a cab to Rick’s townhouse, where Matt tucks him in, curls up on the sofa and spends the night.
The next time they get together, Rick learns that Matt is indeed gay. They make love. It’s nothing like either had ever experienced before. Their love-making was transformative and in an unexpectedly short time, they fall in love.
So where does it go from there? To rocky places. To love, punctuated with misunderstandings, incompatibility and uncompromising attitudes. Despite Rick’s friends’ dire warnings, Matt moves in, asks Rick to marry him, and he does.
Unfortunately, Rick’s snarky friends were right. It isn’t working. Until two years ago, Matt was a married man with a daughter. After a heart-rending tragedy, his wife moves on and Matt comes out. It didn’t go well for him. His family abandoned him, pronounced him “dead”, and his lifelong friends either attacked him or avoided him, with the exception of his friends Darren and Oona, who take him in, give him a place to live, and don’t judge.
Yes Matt had sowed his wild oats for a while, but gave that up when he found it shallow and unfulfilling. But more important, he never fully accepted himself, or better, celebrated himself. So when he and Matt married, he projected his own insecurities on his husband, insisting he dress less “gay”, that he “tone it down”, and refuses to even acknowledge his own husband in public.
There’s an even bigger issue, and that’s where I lost a bit of the thread of this well-written book. “Loose Connection” takes place in London, written by a British author at home with long-standing class issues in British society. As an American, I don’t have any gut feeling for the conflicts and struggles between the classes. Oh we do have similar issues, but not a deeply ingrained history of class warfare. That made it difficult for me to relate to Matt and Rick’s struggles. Though Rick is hardly rich, he was raised with that sense of entitlement that the working class so deeply resents. Matt sees Rick and his friends as a bunch of “posh, entitled snobs” who don’t have a clue how the other half (his half) struggles.
Honestly, at times, I just wanted to shake them both and tell them to grow up, already. Their marriage is on the rocks, and though they still passionately love one another, they’re no longer sure that’s enough. Will they make it? I won’t say, but you should keep in mind that this is a gay romance, despite its powerful cultural themes.
I was deeply moved by the boys and their love. Their sex scenes are absolutely inspirational, not to mention seriously hot. But my heart only got partially involved; the fact that two smart, sophisticated young adults would allow age-old class resentments to tear them apart left me shaking my head in dismay.
The characters are charming, well-written, deep and deeply explored. In fact, the book is an intense character study of two incompatible men who work because they’d complement each other perfectly if, as one character said, “they would only get their heads out of their butts”.
“Loose Connection” was an engaging story, never boring, worth the read, even if you don’t relate to the particularly British issues. You’ll root for Rick and Matt, cry for them, and above all else, wish them a happy life together.
Meet A E Ryecart
A E Ryecart writes mm romance/gay fiction. Filled with angst, high drama and emotional tension, she writes the books she likes to read. An avid people watcher, most of her writing takes place in a local café amidst the background hum of hissing coffee machines, where she can check out the other customers for character and story inspiration!
A born and bred Londoner, she may have moved to someplace more leafy but the city is still very much part of her DNA, which is why her books are set in and around present-day London, providing a thrilling, metropolitan backdrop to the main action.