Legally Wed, Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 214 Pages
Once again Rick R. Reed has surprised me. When he gave On Top Down Under the exclusive cover reveal of Legally Wed during our anniversary month in October, I was eager for it to be released. It looked promising and it’s no secret to those who follow this site that I’m a huge fan of this author’s writing. So I’m reading a little into it and I’m already involved and then something clicks. Marilyn. Yes, I saw the name in the blurb but it didn’t register until I was invested in Legally Wed that it was that Marilyn. You know the one. The one from Hungry For Love that annoyed me to no end. Like nails on a chalkboard annoying. I know that sounds harsh and I’m sure that the author will take no offense by it. My review for Hungry For Love states my opinion of good ‘ol Marilyn quite clearly. So I’m reading this book and the entire time thinking “Well, if he could make me love Bobby from Chaser then Marilyn stands a chance.” That turned out to be correct. Granted, I’ll never say that I love Marilyn, but I did end this book liking her a hell of a lot more than I did before. Oh, she had her moments. Believe me, she had her moments. But thankfully she was better this time around.
Now to my review –
Gay marriage has just been made legal in Seattle. Duncan Taylor has the guy, the ring and the perfect setting for the proposal. He is convinced that he and Tucker will be like the others, rushing to the courthouse and getting that marriage license. They will move onto Duncan’s house boat and live happily-ever-after in wedded bliss. He and Tucker have been dating long enough. It’s time to take that next step. Only things don’t go quite as planned for Duncan and he’s stuck with an expensive ring on his right hand, an empty bed and all hopes of having that happily-ever-after thrown out the window. Tucker is only the last in a string of bad choices – and boyfriends – for Duncan. All he wants is what his siblings have with their spouses, what his parents have. He wants a man to grow old with, in sickness and in health. Convinced that love and marriage to a man is not in his cards, Duncan drunkenly makes a decision that will impact him for the rest of his life. Duncan decides to marry a woman. Not for sex mind you. Duncan is a card-carrying gay man and has never had the desire to be intimate with a female. Marrying one won’t be changing that in his lifetime. He wants friendship, companionship, someone to have a child with (created in a lab, of course).
Except for in the bedroom, everybody knows that gay men and women get on better than just about any other combo.
After one too many drinks and a lot of feeling sorry for himself, Duncan gets on Craigslist and posts an ad with the title Gay Man Seeks Straight Woman for Marriage. I have to say that the ad had me laughing out loud a few times. It is quite honest and leaves no doubt that there will be zero sex in the marriage if a woman decides to take him up on his offer.
I haven’t taken the drive up Vaginal Way and I don’t intend to point my Chrysler in that direction anytime soon.
Once the ad is posted, a sober Duncan chooses to wait awhile before checking for responses. What the hell had he been thinking? There are the typical angry responses and those from women who want to watch him get it on with a man but one response stood out. An angry response from Marilyn Samples. She, a straight female who is obsessed with gay men, did not take too kindly to what Duncan had posted and commenced to giving him a piece of her mind via email. She also basically dared him to meet her in a few days at a local coffee shop. The meeting goes better than expected and an instant friendship is born. Marilyn is out there (to say the least) and I swear she wishes that she was a gay man. She knows all the clubs (even some that Duncan is not aware of) and everything there is to know about being a gay man – though she is most definitely a straight female.
The friendship becomes solid and soon they are spending almost all their free time together. After a night of drinking, they decide “What the hell?” and get engaged for real. This is where the story takes hold. An appointment with a wedding planner, Peter Dalrymple, is when second thoughts start creeping in for Duncan. He loves Marilyn dearly and would never, ever hurt her but the minute Duncan sees Peter he can’t take his eyes off of him. Forgetting his bride-to-be is even next to him, Duncan finds himself falling and falling quickly. There is a connection unlike anything Duncan has ever experienced and his heart (and body) take notice. Unfortunately, so does Marilyn.
Peter has been planning weddings for years. While he himself has had nothing but trouble finding Mr. Right, he has helped countless couples plan their nuptials. Always the utmost of professionalism, he is shocked to find himself falling quickly for one of the many grooms who has crossed his path, Duncan Taylor. Peter is aware of Marilyn and Duncan’s arrangement and he knows that Duncan is gay. He also knows that acting on the instant love? lust? would be wrong on so many levels so he helps the two plan their wedding, dying a little inside with each appointment. Duncan is faring no better. He was blindsided by the instant connection before he ever made it inside of Peter’s office. But what about Marilyn? He promised to marry her and grow old with her. He does what he feels is the right thing and continues with the wedding planning.
Marilyn is no dummy. She saw what happened during Duncan and Peter’s first meeting. Does she take a step back? Tell Duncan they are making a mistake? Perhaps suggest waiting a little? I won’t give that away.
Legally Wed has an amazing set of characters, both main and secondary. From Peter’s awesome father to Tucker’s brother, Ben. There is Scout, Duncan’s sister, a sister anyone would love to have. Then there are the animals, Peter’s three dogs and Ben’s dog Onion. Marilyn even has a demanding cat, Mr. Mike.
I want to say “and then there are the two mains, Peter and Duncan…” but I can’t really say that as I don’t consider Peter to be as much as a main character as I would have liked. Oh, he’s Duncan’s love interest and I absolutely adored him from the moment he was introduced. However, I wish he would have had more page time. Granted, his character is written extremely well and when he’s in the story it’s extremely important. I just wish there would have been more of Peter and more of Peter and Duncan together. I liked Duncan and I’ve already given my opinion of Marilyn – kinda. With Duncan and Marilyn I found myself saying (often) “Communicate already! Speak up!” I admit to being a bit concerned over how the Marilyn thing would play out as she has got one hell of a strong personality. I didn’t think it would end well. Thankfully, Marilyn surprised me big time. And after watching her in Hungry For Love and again in Legally Wed, I have to say that I was pleased to see her find her own happily-ever-after.
Overall, another excellent book by Rick R. Reed. He seems to be the King of redeeming my most hated characters and he has definitely done so again with Marilyn. I swore I’d never question him again after what he did with Bobby in Raining Men and I should have taken my own advice when it came to Marilyn. The story is very entertaining and I got a kick out of the animals and secondary characters. My only issue (though not a complaint) other than my wish to see more of Peter and Duncan together, is that there is one character who kind of disappeared. I would have loved to have seen his reaction to a few things that played out later. The Epilogue is perfect and I love how the author showed us an update a few months down the road.
This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.