Review: Aidan Wayne – Grounded

Author: Aidan Wayne
Reviewer: Sandra
Publisher: NineStar Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Summary:

Between raising his daughter Camille, his work as a full-time pastry chef, and his hobby of capoeira, Baz’s life is pretty full. He may be a little lonely, but he’s too busy to think about it all that much.
When his cousin Alaina introduces him to Terry, another capoeira student, Baz is instantly drawn to him. Though quiet and withdrawn, Terry ends up being a fun, interesting person who Baz can’t help but fall for. And when Baz does things, he doesn’t do them halfway.
Terry is a successful voice actor and a talented martial artist. But the fact that he’s shy, on top of being a trans man, has kept him from really dating. He likes Baz, he does—he just doesn’t want to mess up their friendship by failing at romance. Still, Baz is nothing if not stubborn, and Terry is willing to give things a try.

Review:

This was a very nice little story. I forgot it was novella length, so I was surprised after a day of traveling to see I was already at 84%. But the length worked well for it, it didn’t feel rushed and things wrapped up completely.

I liked these two together and thought that they had good chemistry, although maybe a little more from Baz’s side. It was hard to get a read on Terry since we didn’t get his POV. I liked him, although honestly all the insecurity got to be a bit much. While I can totally understand where he’s coming from, it’s unfair to Baz too to keep acting like you don’t believe him when he says he wants you.

Given that the insecurities weren’t all trans related, I wish they’d been addressed more. Terry mentioned not really having friends, so while the relationship was great, I wish he’d ended up becoming better friends with the capoeira people. Especially how much they focus on capoeira, I wish it had played a bigger role into the story and his personal journey.

I don’t have kids, but there were a handful of temper tantrums so Camille seemed to me to be represented age appropriately. She was cute and played a large role, given that Baz is a single dad, but she didn’t overwhelm the story or overshadow the romance.

And the romance was done well. There weren’t time jumps exactly, but there were a few “and July turned to Augusts” that allowed time to progress smoothly and give their relationship time to develop at the right pace, without us having to read every nitty gritty detail. There isn’t much sex in this story, that’s not a huge focus of their relationship since Terry was hesitant about it for a while. But the one scene we did get was necessary to show us how they’ll function long-term and allow Terry to realize his full potential. It was very well done.

Overall a nice story and a fairly quick light read. The fact that Terry is a trans man is a very large focus of the story, but also not. It just is. So it’s relevant and addressed in different ways, but very organically and simply as part of their lives.

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