Tag Archives: Aidan Wayne

Counterbalance by Aidan Wayne

CounterbalanceCounterbalance by Aidan Wayne

Released on September 12, 2016

Published by Riptide Publishing

Page count/words: 88 pages/21,500 words

Categories: Drama, Contemporary, M/M Romance

Book link: Riptide


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.

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Our Thoughts:

Counterbalance is one of those stories that I ate up as I was reading. Just enough drama, romance, sweetness, and humanity to keep the pages turning. John is disfigured by a relative as a teen. It’s not easy being different and people aren’t always tolerant of his difference. He’s been called names and watches as people shrink away from him. His job as a rigger for a Cirque show is perfect. The talent in this type of show is a bit quirky too, so he feels at home behind the Cirque sets.

Then Bao enters John’s life. Bao is from China and new to the Cirque Brilliance show as a balancing talent. He’s super friendly and outgoing, meeting everyone. He approaches John and treats him exactly the same as everyone else. As if he doesn’t even see John’s disfigurement. Bao was sweet and innocent. He is almost childlike in his mannerisms but he grew on me quickly because it’s apparent he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body!

The attraction builds but John isn’t about to make the first move. The question is, will Bao be able to maneuver through cultural and language differences to get John to see what they could share together, or will this romance never see the light of day.

If you’re looking for the perfect afternoon getaway, Counterbalance would be a great choice!

RATING: Sneakers!!

Loud and Clear by Aidan Wayne

Loud and ClearLoud and Clear by Aidan Wayne

Released: May 23, 2016

Publisher/link: Riptide Publishing

Page count: 93 pages


Jaxon is getting by fine, severe dyslexia or not. Being a cab driver means he doesn’t need to read much, and the job has its perks. The pay isn’t bad, the people can be interesting, and having memorized the city streets keeps him from feeling too stupid.

When he picks up Caleb, a quiet fare in a nice suit, Jaxon doesn’t think anything of it. Then he ends up driving Caleb home the next week too, and the next, and the next. Eventually Caleb tries to communicate—by writing things down. Turns out that Caleb has such a bad stutter he spends most of his time mute.

If only Jaxon had an easier time reading what Caleb had to say. But he’s interested in trying, and Caleb seems interested back. They discover that, with a little bit of effort, it isn’t so hard to make themselves understood. Especially when what’s growing between them is definitely worth talking about.

Our Thoughts:

Loud and Clear is the perfect retreat from life for a few hours. Those hours devoted to two men and their brief, yet impressionable, moments together.

Jaxon is a cabbie who happens to pick up Caleb from an upscale bar on a Tuesday night. From the start, Caleb is quiet, yet polite. Jaxon prefers quiet drunks to those who are loud and destructive. Caleb likes that Jaxon didn’t try to keep conversing with him. Jaxon respects Caleb’s space and that’s why he request him again the next week, and the week after that.

Every time, Caleb is the same towards Jaxon. Quiet and polite. Caleb takes a chance and leaves a note on his receipt. Jaxon is surprised but doesn’t acknowledge it.  How can he? His dyslexia is so severe that he can’t read easily. Of course he won’t disclose that to Caleb.

Caleb has a secret of his own and it become clear one night when Jaxon picks Caleb up and he notices he’s super intoxicated. Jaxon basically saves Caleb from a dangerous situation and that’s the first time Jaxon hears Caleb speak and it’s with a severe stutter. A dyslexic man who thinks he’s stupid because he can’t read and a  man with a bad stutter who tries to break that same stereotype somehow find each other in a big city.

Neither one is inclined to judge the other. It seems that they will have to either make each other comfortable despite their differences and accept them or lose the opportunity to get to know each other. Jaxon is pretty amazing. He goes above and beyond to make Caleb comfortable by learning sign language. So thoughtful and sweet. It’s just a few works and key phrases, but it’s enough to show he cares and no other man has ever made the effort for Caleb before, so it speaks volumes.

It’s the little things like this that were endearing and had me smiling through this story. I’m always partial to characters with dyslexia or other learning disabilities. Maybe that’s why I liked Loud and Clear. Or maybe because it’s a well written short story, unique in content and made he smile…. a lot!