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Cover Copyright ©2008
Trace Edward Zaber
VGL Male Seeks Same
by Rick R. Reed
ISBN-13: 978-1-60272-430-3 (Electronic)
Poor Ethan Schwartz. It seems like he will never find that special someone. At age 42, he’s still alone, his bed still empty, and his 42-inch HDTV overworked. He’s tried the bars and other places where gay men are supposed to find one another, but for Ethan, it never works out. He wonders if it ever will. Should he get a cat?
But all of that is about to change. At work, Ethan hears about a website that promises to deliver more than just the tawdry hook-ups associated with so many other sites. Ethan wants romance, and although he’s always been a little shy about the whole cyber-dating scene, he figures he has nothing to lose.
Well, maybe he does have something to lose: his self-esteem. After he posts his profile, he gets zero responses. But Ethan realizes one thing about the cyberworld that isn’t true in the real one: Online, Ethan can be anyone he wants to be.
And a new persona is born. The new Ethan is handsome (with someone else’s pic) and the sudden recipient of dozens of online come-ons. What Ethan doesn't count on, however, is finding—among the propositions and the flattery—his one true love. Not just a gorgeous man, but one who suits him in almost every way.
How does Ethan turn his budding cyber love into a real one? And can he hang on to his mystery suitor without turning him off with his deception?
NOTE: Don't miss the sequel, NEG UB2!
Gay / Contemporary / Romantic Comedy / BDSM (Light) / Series
Heat Level: 3
Length: Novella (21k words)
~ Purchase ~
Read what the reviewers are saying...
"5 Stars!...A phenomenal story about the search for love and the one person we can connect with in every way. I absolutely adored the character of Ethan, his sharp witty humor and his emotions that are worn on his sleeve...My heart was completely invested in Ethan’s journey and I laughed and cried along with him. Overall this is a captivating story that had me on the edge of my seat to the very end. This is the second of Reed’s stories that I have read and I am now officially a huge fan. As are many of his other stories, this is set in Chicago, my current hometown, and those familiar with the city will love the details throughout. It is obvious that Reed still loves the city. The humor throughout this story is exceptional yet doesn’t disrupt the more serious themes. The ending is true perfection...I cannot more highly recommend this story for all readers!"--Emily, Rainbow Reviews
"5 Stars!...Rick R. Reed has a wonderful sense of humour and timing. His characterization of Ethan was superb. This is the first story I have read by Rick R. Reed and if this is at all representative of his writing he'll become an auto buy for me. His timing is superb, his prose is exceptional and his characterizations are to die for. I was totally invested in Ethan and I felt every slight, imagined or real, that he experienced. Parts of this story were so poignant as Ethan looked at his life stretching before him with no one to share it that I could feel his pain...Buy this book."--Jessewave, Reviews By Jessewave
"5 Divas!...A Recommended Read!...Could easily be made into a movie...Deeply erotic, satisfying...The crisp dialogue and brutally honest portrayal of two lonely men, who at heart really are very good looking, is a story for all romance lovers…not just fans of gay romantic fiction. It's a story to be treasured, in all its intimate splendor."--AJ Llewellyn, Dark Diva Reviews
"4 Angels!...A lighthearted look at the online dating scene and the games that are played in the name of romance...Mr. Reed has given us a very likeable and believable character in Ethan. He is so normal and so 'Joe Average' that the reader can immediately relate to him. Even though this reader was disappointed in Ethan for succumbing to the temptation to lie, I could not help but wish him well. Watching him struggle to make things right after having misled Brian is not only humorous, but it is poignant as well. Overall, VGL Male Seeks Same is humorous and touching and well worth the reading time."--Whitney, Fallen Angel Reviews
"5 Lips!...Rick R. Reed brings the right amount of insight to the human condition and romance to keep you guessing...I loved that this is not your typical romance--not one of the characters is without inner and outer flaws. The characters of Ethan and Brian were so down to earth that I felt an instant connection to them...VGL Male Seeks Same is a brilliant 21st century love story that should be on everyone’s keeper shelf."--Tina, Two Lips Reviews
"4 Stars!...A hugely funny romance. The VGL threw me at first, but once I realized it referred to 'Very Good Looking' I felt that it fit very well with the story...Mr. Reed is an author who also writes horror stories but my experience with his romantic comedy is that Mr. Reed writes extremely well. You will LOVE this story! I know I did."--Marcy Arbitman, Just Erotic Romance Reviews
"A Rating Of 5!...A superbly written tale, focusing on the classic idea of finding a partner and the tricks and turns we trap ourselves with. The characterization of both men are incredibly well done in such an honest, open voice that it was easy to picture Ethan and Brian and furthermore, to empathize with them both. The ending...is so beautifully done, humanizing both and showing that even through honesty, your flaws never disappear but you can be loved because of them. For anyone who has less than perfect confidence in dating, you’ll be sure to identify and enjoy this book. It’ll be a keeper for a very long time."--Kassa, Manic Readers
"4.5 Nymphs!...A wonderfully written tale of the pain, sorrow and loneliness of getting to a certain age, and finding yourself in a place you never expected...alone, and not knowing what to do about changing it...The story backbone is both timeless and timely...The whole book is nicely done, but I particularly enjoyed it after Brian was added as Ethan’s internet love interest. Their posts were romantic, heartfelt and caring...just what Ethan needed and wanted, and when he almost lost Brian, I could almost feel his pain. There isn’t anything about this story that I didn’t like...This novella is near perfect. Read and enjoy!"--Mystical Nymph, Literary Nymphs Reviews
"4 Stars!...So far I have never read any erotic story that was paired with lots of humour. So I was very surprised to find myself laughing so hard the tears were streaming down my face. All the little scenes when Ethan was thinking about how to get out of the mess he created, his thoughts about the receptionist in his company, his feelings about Brian’s mail that sounded 'stalkeresque' (I have no idea whether this is a word or not, but it sure looks extremely elegant, especially for such an unpleasant action), I just kept laughing...This was a delightful novella. If you want to take up online dating, read this first!"--Rikki Donovan, The Bookkeeper Reviews
Read a short excerpt...
...For years, Ethan had observed the hoopla surrounding the Internet and its supposed ease of getting people together for sex, romance, half price books, and even cut-rate psychotherapy, but never thought he would traverse its well-traveled highways to meet a man. Somehow, it all seemed too cheap and easy, almost tawdry. Ethan wanted to meet a man through a mutual friend, at a dinner party perhaps, where the assembled group (all attractive upwardly mobile professionals and artists) were enjoying paella and whimsical cocktails like sidecars or Tom Collins. Their eyes would meet over the olive tapenade and they would exchange phone numbers while waiting for the host to bring them their coats. Or, even better, they would meet in a bookstore (no, not that kind!) where they would both be reaching for a copy of the latest David Sedaris at the exact same moment and then would laugh and insist that the other take the shelf copy first. Or maybe he would discover his intended as he rode alone on Lake
Michigan’s bike trail and his future beloved would help him when he got a flat tire. It was a story they would tell their grandchildren.
“Yeah, right.” Ethan blew out a big sigh and hit the TAB key to take him to the first box needing to be filled in. “That’s not the way it happens these days. These days, guys meet online. Period. Jane Austen would be appalled.”
Filling out the application to be a member of wingpeople.com was not all that different than filling out a job application. Ethan shook his head. That wasn’t true at all! Filling out a job application was much easier. At least a job application didn’t ask you about your most intimate physical dimensions, or if you considered yourself a top or a bottom, or “versatile.” A job application would never ask if you considered yourself to have a swimmer’s build, or if there was “more of you to love.” A job application would never ask if you “partied,” although they might test to see if you did, if they became serious about hiring you. Filling out paperwork for a job would never require you to tell, in great detail, what you were looking for in a potential mate.
But Ethan supposed all this information, all this nosy prying, was for a good purpose, which was to match you up with other like-minded souls. And Ethan actually adored the idea of that. He was not one of these middle-aged men he saw wandering around Halsted Street dressed in head-to-toe Abercrombie and Fitch, hoping to find a “boy” of no more than thirty years or so.
Ethan wanted a companion, someone he could relate to, someone with a bit of a shared history. He wondered if this route could ever deliver such a bird.
He wondered if such a bird even existed, or if it had gone the way of the dodo.
Finally, Ethan got through the laborious screens of questions and was ready to hit “submit.” He was even pleased with the photo of himself he had decided on using, dredged up from some of his event publicity files from his work folder. In the photo, taken just a few months ago, he was shown smiling with the director of the latest offering at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. He had simply cropped out the grinning, bespectled director and voila, he had himself a halfway-decent headshot. At least the picture was honest and, in its way, flattering. He hoped at least one or two men out there in cyberland would be inclined to agree.
He hit “submit,” wondering as he did if the obvious sexual connotations of the word had occurred to anyone else.
As soon as a “thank you” message popped up, telling Ethan his message was in the queue awaiting approval (which would take eight to twelve hours), sweat began to pop up on his brow. “Good Lord,” he wondered aloud, “what did I just do?”
He thought of the poor folks whose forays into dating sites and social networks like MySpace or Friendster ended up on Dr. Phil, or worse, Judge Judy, and the woe those people experienced when they exposed their more intimate sides to the world. They were idiots, as Judy and Phil would say, with no more sense than God gave a grasshopper. His little adventure could end up coming back to haunt him. What, for example, would Bubbles have to say about his profile once it was approved and active? Would he snicker behind manicured nails and call over the entire office to gape and guffaw at his photo and his predilection for forties noir classics? And that kind of information was the least of his worries—he had divulged to the entire world his sexual likes and dislikes, for cryin’ out loud.
He got up and got a Coke Zero and tried to reassure himself by saying that he was just flattering himself. Everyone was online these days and the truth was no one would really even care about him or his little profile. All he needed to really worry about was that some imagined man out there, reasonably good looking, well-read, and with a quirky sense of humor, would pause long enough at his profile to send him a message...
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