Review: Aidan Wayne – Counterbalance

counterAuthor: Aidan Wayne
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★¼ 

Summary: John loves his job as head rigger for Cirque Brilliance. The heavy scarring over half his face makes it a little hard to meet new people, but John’s got a good crew and a nice found family, and he’s content with his lot in life.

When Cirque hires talent for a new show, John meets Bao, a bright, ever-cheerful acrobat. Bao seems drawn to John and becomes a constant presence at his side—talking to him during downtime, spending time with him at lunch, and generally seeking out his company.

John doesn’t know what to make of this. Sure, he likes Bao—maybe a little too much, honestly—but he’s had enough experience to know that Bao couldn’t possibly like him back. Or so he thinks, anyway. Fortunately, Bao seems determined to prove him wrong.

Review: This novella (163 pages on my iPad) was, for lack of a better word, adorable. John is head rigger for the Cirque Brilliance and they are setting up for a brand new show with new talent. He has some friends in the Cirque and sort of dreads whenever there are new people, since the scars on his face and body tend to push people away. He is a kind person, a good person and even if it hurts a little, he doesn’t hold it against people when they don’t react well. “He was less looking forward to walking around the studio and prepping while the new cast gazed at him in horror, but what could you do.”

So he is very surprised when one of the new acrobats, Bao Liu, is happy to meet him, cheerful and friendly. He’s even more surprised when Bao finds time to seek John out to talk to, to spend time with. His friend, Anastasia, wants nothing more than to “…find you a nice boy…” and John is absolutely certain this will never happen.

But as these things tend to go, Bao is persistent. He seeks John out, works on his solo routine and wants John to talk to him. Bao is a firecracker, full of energy and happiness. He is exactly what John needs, though John just can’t believe there’s anything in it. As the story progresses, John is falling and denying that anyone might want him, scars and all.

As they share backgrounds and histories, they become friends. John does spend a lot of time sure that’s all there is and it takes a problem for him to admit it could be more on both sides. There aren’t a lot of problems in the story; it’s more a focus on the give and take between two people trying to see if they click (or in John’s case, denying it could happen). As always with novellas I like, I would have loved to have more of these two. This is my second book by this author and I am anxious for more.



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