Legally Wed

Legally Wed

Rick R. Reed

Reed effortlessly slides from his gritty, brutal Raining Men to this nearly chaste look at true love, proving that he not only has depth as an author but also can span the width of the romance genre. Again he takes a fairly unlikeable character from a previous novel and turns her into someone to respect and enjoy.

When Duncan Taylor is humiliatingly rejected after he proposes to his boyfriend in a busy restaurant, he decides that since he’s nearing forty and hasn’t found Mr. Right, he needs to change up his life. What Duncan wants, he realizes, is what every straight guy he’s ever known has wanted: He wants love and happily ever after.

But how is a gay man supposed to find love if everywhere he looks men are only searching for a one-night-stand and no commitment? Studying the world around him, he realizes two things: He really likes women, and maybe he’s been seeking the perfect life in the wrong places.

In a fit of drunken desperation one night, he advertises online for a woman to be his wife. He’s up-front about the fact that he’s a gay man who isn’t looking for sex, but for a lifelong loving partner. Into his life struts brash, loud Marilyn Samples, last seen in Reed’s Hungry for Love.

Marilyn tells Duncan that he’s crazy, that love and commitment don’t happen as a result of an online listing, but since her love life’s not much better than his, she’s willing to give his experiment a try.

With this inauspicious beginning, Reed weaves another of his plausible fairytales, this time surrounding two disillusioned people who see a full life slipping away from them and who desperately want to rectify the situation.

In Hungry for Love, Marilyn was an instigator and abettor whose loud, often obnoxious pronouncements led her best friend into awkward positions. Here her flamboyant and often grating style hasn’t changed. What is different is the way Duncan views her, and therefore how readers will see her.

Duncan is a wonderfully decent, honorable man whose frustration level pushes him into making a huge mistake which he can’t change without hurting Marilyn. When she agrees to marry him, for platonic reasons, and he meets wedding planner Peter Dalrymple and recognizes Peter as his soulmate, Duncan is placed between a rock and hard place.

While Reed has a solution for the conundrum, his fairytale romance goes beyond believable in order to come out with a mutually agreeable ending. Rounding Marilyn’s rough edges and forcing Duncan to take a stand are one thing, but forcing a happy ending for everyone is a little too much.

However, going with the flow is important in order to enjoy these less gritty Reed novels, and Duncan’s sister’s advice to him is well-worth reading and will resonate with romance readers.