Book Reviews

Acrobat by Mary Calmes at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Students/Teachers/Professors / May/December / Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 23-February-2016

Book Blurb

Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been seeking. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.

Book Review

There are some books I have wanted to read forever, yet somehow never got around to them. ‘Acrobat’ is one of them and I am both sorry it took me so long and happy. Happy only because reading an amazing story about wonderfully complex characters like this for the first time is a treat, and I got to have my treat now. Sorry – I can’t help but feel that I should have gotten around to it closer to its publication date. Be that as it may, if you haven’t read ‘Acrobat' yet, maybe you should consider it. It’s emotional, has quite a few surprises, and the differences between cool and collected English lit professor Nate and hot-blooded Italian-American mobster Dreo added a lot of spice to their romance. They don’t have an easy time of it, but with how much they are clearly meant for each other, I kept hoping they’d get the message. Actually it was Nate who needed to wake up to the truth more than Dreo, and he sure took his time!
If I had to describe Nate, I’d probably say he is like a rock in a stormy sea – no matter how high the waves that batter him, he remains quiet and stable. Partly that is because he can be a little clueless about people and their emotions, but mostly it is because that’s just the way he is. Considerate and always ready to help, mostly logical, and very forgiving. He also doesn’t scare easily, and that comes in handy when the sh*t hits the fan and Dreo’s boss and most of his friends get shot in some sort of a mafia feud. Nate has no idea what it is all about, doesn’t think he is involved, and where others would panic, he shrugs and keeps going.

Dreo is tall, dark, and handsome. He is of Italian descent, and probably involved with the mafia. Nate isn’t sure – not before the events in this story - but the fact that Dreo carries a gun at all times speaks volumes. Dreo is deep and mysterious, and the truth about what he is planning only comes out about halfway through the book. I was impressed. So was Nate. But getting out of the mafia is not a small feat, and there are complications. Dreo may be determined to keep everyone who is important to him safe, but others clearly don’t agree, and that kept me in suspense.

Nate and Dreo’s relationship is interesting – and not just because of the hit men who suddenly appear out of the woodwork. Nate and Dreo have been neighbors, then friends, for four years. Nate loves Dreo’s nephew, Michael, who is sixteen at this point, and watches over him as if he were Nate’s own son. There is some bonding over Michael, but Nate is too busy to try to find his Mr. Right to see Dreo as anything but a friend. When that finally changes, boy, do these two burn up the sheets. Nate really comes into his own for the first time in his life – he stops analyzing everything about Dreo - and finally understands what it means to love someone. In his words: “There were no tricks needed, no midair trapeze work, no acrobatics without a net to impress and keep Dreo Fiore. I could do it without theatrics, with just me and my heart.” Simply beautiful, and a great explanation for the meaning of the title.

If you like complex, real characters who have all kinds of issues to work through before they can get together, if you think the combination of a cool English professor and a hot Italian-American sounds interesting, and if you’re looking for a read that is spellbinding, sometimes heart-wrenching, and always fast-paced, then you will probably like this novel as much as I did.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 250 pages/71330 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 07-May-2012
Price $6.99 ebook, $16.99 paperback, $16.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
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