cover image Winter Ball

Winter Ball

Amy Lane. Dreamspinner (dreamspinner-, $14.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-62380-797-9

This simple, sweet story focuses on the joys of chosen family and new love. Christopher “Skipper” Keith and Richie Scoggins, tech-school buddies and soccer league teammates for the last six years, go gay for each other in a whirlwind romance. Between Halloween and Christmas, they progress from sexual curiosity into mutual fondness, caretaking, emotional sharing, and acknowledgment of a romantic relationship, followed by shifts in identification and disclosure to colleagues, friends, and family. Lane (Candy Man) makes all of Skip and Ritchie’s challenges external to the couple, letting them be a respite for each other. Sex scenes fill a dual role of passion and comfort, almost always happening when one of them is hurt, ill, or thrown off by a difficult interaction with relatives. This is somewhat bland wish-fulfillment fare aimed squarely at fans of first times, smooth sailing, and same-sex couples seated happily at the table with everyone else. (Dec.)