May is "Short Story Month."
One of the things that I think most gay men share is the memory of that adult in their life upon whom they had their first crush. The father of a friend, the teacher - someone who snuck into their fantasies and was in a very real way forever associated with that sense of "I'm different" that comes with the dawning self-awareness of being gay. That line is crossed with this realization. I remember a friend's father being one of the first men to really talk to me like I wasn't a complete disappointment and alien version of what a boy should be. He was handsome, bearded, and very smart - he didn't see my head-down always reading, always drawing, always writing ways as something exasperating. He also liked to mow the lawn shirtless, and that was a very good thing. He shared books with me (books his daughters didn't want to read) and later in life my friend mentioned that her father had been saddened that she'd never dated me - though when she explained why, he'd asked if I'd found a boyfriend, and was very pleased that I had.
Take that wonderful relationship and add erotica to the mix, and you end up somewhere around Logan Zachary's "Put It In Me, Coach." Here, the narrator - who has had rather a crush on his friend's father for ages - reconnects with the man after the death of the son and friend. Their relationship trembles on the edge of a shared sit in a hot sauna, and Zachary moves the tension along with sweaty, steam-filled moments. Lines are crossed, and the result is hot.
A different line features in Jeffrey Ricker's "Finish Line." Filled with a realism that many of us see all too easily in the mirror, we find Elliott realizing that he's approaching the "middle age" point and none-too-happy about the physical slide he seems to be undertaking. Joining a gym and impulsively choosing to run a marathon, he meets his trainer Jeremy, and the two begin to train together with this goal in mind. Soon, though, Elliott starts to wonder if the relationship is entirely professional, or if there may be a mutual interest afoot. Events, of course, inspire to throw the occasional wrench in the plans, but "Finish Line" has a lovely romance to it (as well as some fun sweaty moments tucked between) that definitely keeps you running for the final ribbon.
(Reminder: I've currently got a Goodreads giveaway for two copies of SWEAT. You can click here to enter the giveaway, the winners of which will be drawn at the end of the month.)