Hungry for Love

Hungry for Love

Rick R. Reed

Readers can call Reed’s books a lot of thing, but boring isn’t one of them. Chaser was an off-beat, almost light-hearted look at a chubby guy and his Adonis-like lover while Raining Men delved into the messy personal life of a sex addict. Now Reed again changes his tone to one that’s nearly camp as he looks at the problems online dating causes two men looking for real love.

Twenty-nine-year-old Brandon is looking for the “one,” the guy he can spend the rest of his life with. Brandon likes to go running as much as possible in Seattle and is admittedly a romantic at heart. He’s been saving himself for the right one. He works at a law firm writing ad copy as well as working on their website and blog. He might not be Mr. Excitement, but he’s definitely Mr. Steady.

Tyler, on the other hand, loves sex for sex’s sake. True, at heart he’s a romantic and waiting to hook up with Mr. Right and settle down. But in the meantime, he isn’t averse to getting laid. He owns a condo with his single sister Hannah and puts up with her crazy-zany friend Marilyn. Unlike Brandon, Tyler works from home, so spends a lot of time in bars trolling for romance.

One night in a fit of too much alcohol, Hannah and Marilyn decide to go eye-candy shopping on an online gay dating site. The only problem is that in order to see any of the nice guys on this particular non-raunchy site (as opposed to the sites featuring photos of genitals), they need an account name and password. When they figure out that Tyler doesn’t have an account at the site, they decide to make him one.

And off the story goes straining credulity to its hinges. But Reed’s tone will keep readers turning pages to find out where this potential train-wreck goes.

As fate would have it, Brandon, also rejecting the raunchier hook-up websites, fills out an application to the tamer, more sincere dating site. When Hannah sees his profile, she knows he’s the man for her. But wait! She’s not gay, nor is she logged on as herself. Suddenly, the story veers into Cyrano de Bergerac territory with Hannah, pretending to be Tyler, corresponding with Brandon. All goes well until Brandon wants to meet.

Tyler, as anyone can imagine, is appalled to find out his sister has gone this far without his permission. He furiously agrees that he must meet with Brandon and straighten out the mess, then Hannah will shut down his profile on the site. Easier said than done, however, when Tyler and Brandon meet and are immediately attracted to one another.

As I said before, the train-wreck just keeps on coming. I vacillated from being appalled at actions of well-meaning and completely human Hannah and her outrageous friend Marilyn to heart-breakingly sympathetic to Brandon and Tyler. At times reading this book was like watching a horror movie: I wanted to cover my eyes until the scary parts were over. Fortunately, Reed uses such a soft touch that these moments were quickly over and his outrageous plot could keep playing out.

What’s the book all about? Well, let me have Reed tell you: “Love was also about taking a leap into the unknown, making yourself vulnerable. It was a chance taken. It was a cosmic gamble. It was faith. It was a belief that happy endings could happen and did, every day.” Why do I love Reed’s books? That quote says it all.