Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.
Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.
When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.
The Only Gold by Tamara Allen Historical romance released by Dreamspinner Press on March 21, 2011
Jonah Woolner’s life is as prudently regulated as the bank where he works. It’s a satisfying life until he’s passed over for promotion in favor of newcomer Reid Hylliard. Brash and enterprising, Reid beguiles everyone except Jonah, who’s convinced Reid’s progressive ideas will be the bank’s ruin. When Jonah begins to discover there’s more to Reid than meets the eye, he risks succumbing to Reid’s charms—but unlocking the vault to all of Reid’s secrets could lead him down a dangerous path.
Losing his promotion—and perhaps his heart—is the least of Jonah’s difficulties. When the vengeful son of a Union army vet descends upon the bank to steal a government deposit of half a million dollars during the deadliest blizzard to ever sweep New York, Jonah and Reid are trapped, at odds and fighting for their lives.
The Only Gold begins as Jonah prepares for what he expects to be a promotion within the bank and the bank’s upgrade to National status as they accept a large deposit from the government. When Reid takes the promotion instead, Jonah is swamped with anger, jealousy, and insecurity. No matter how hard he tries to appear unaffected, he cannot help butting heads with Reid as he implements change after change to Jonah’s beloved bank.
Jonah’s family turned their backs on him because of his proclivities, and the bank became his haven. He looks at it as if it were a living thing that he needs to protect from harm and degradation. Reid is the wrench in the works of Jonah’s love of the bank, making changes hand over fist and forcing him to come along for the ride or leave forever. Jonah is heart breaking to read as he struggles with his growing feelings for Reid and begins to blossom as a man once love begins to take hold.
Reid is a complex character. At first he appears to be a man that is wholly fixated on bringing the bank into the present and doing away with the old ways of doing things. And he seems most insistent on deviling Jonah in the process. Then the author teases us with little glimpses of Reid’s nature: the charmer, the playful young man, the reverent son, and finally….the lover. There is more to Reid than meets the eye, and he is one of the best written characters I’ve come across in a long time. His character kept me guessing, as surprise after surprise were thrown up in the storyline.
There are a number of incredible secondary and tertiary characters, from the employees of the bank, to the renters in the boarding house where Jonah lives, and finally to the bank robbers who had their own skewed view of right and wrong.
The Only Gold is the story of a romance between two men and the love scenes between them are not explicit. Rather, they weave the emotion of the growing bond between the two, sharing the intimacy of the nights together in a way that leaves it to the readers’ imagination.
This award winning novel is well worth the read to anyone who enjoys historical romances with a unique twist. While the average romance novel that takes place in the late 1800s tends to overflow with descriptions of ball gowns and dance cards, those are exchanged here for waistcoats and bank ledgers but are no less enchanting in their detail. Well written, engaging, and thoroughly enjoyable.