The Official Description: Patrick returns from a tour of duty to find his son very different. Peter is dressing in girl’s clothes, and his hair is too long, and he’s obsessed with drag queens. None of that sits well with Patrick. Patrick then meets the drag queen Ann Moore, and starts to hang out with them.
Andrew is one of River City’s best drag queens. As Ann Moore, he dazzles adults and children alike. When one of those children’s fathers wants to find out more about what his son is enjoying, Andrew is happy to guide him. It doesn’t hurt that Patrick is ridiculously hot. Hot and straight though.
The friendship that forms is unlikely, and even more unlikely, Patrick and Andrew find themselves faced with a chemistry they cannot deny.
Just the facts: Book Title: A Fluid State, Author: Rob Browatzke, Publisher: Self Published, Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza, Release Date: January 3, 2020, Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance, Trope/s: Gay for You/Out for You, Heat Rating: 5 flames, Length: 70 000 words/272 pages, It is a standalone book.
Patrick and Andrew find themselves faced with a chemistry they cannot deny
A great exploration of what it is to be “yourself” in spite of the labels around us- Kinzie Things
My thoughts bit: This book is another great entry into the world of the Gay romance genre. Patrick has come back from a tour of duty and his main goal is to spend time with his son, Peter. He has been gone two years, and when he returns, it’s to a son who has long hair, likes to wear the occasional skirt and is addicted to watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on TV. A trip to the Library for Drag Storytime introduces Andrew into Patrick’s life. Andrew is a drag queen named Ann Moore and Peter adores her.
Because it’s so important to him to get to know his son and give Peter the support he should have to be a happy and secure child, Patrick asks Andrew to spend some time with him so he can understand more about Drag culture, gender, and learning that his son doesn’t have the same ideas he does about gender norms.
There are some lovely messages in this book. Patrick is a pretty realistic character. He’s thrown off by his son wanting to dress in a way that Patrick feels is feminine. I felt like Browatzke did a great job of writing about the dilemma of wanting your kid to be safe… and struggling to learn a “different way” of interpreting gender. We’re not all raised to be open-minded and flexible when it comes to our beliefs. Patrick’s love for his son shines through, even when he’s struggling to understand what’s happening around him. I really appreciated seeing a father depicted in such a positive way. Often parental figures in books are presented as being unable to accept their children’s personality when it’s not what they expect. Don’t get me wrong: I know that happens, it’s just really nice sometimes to read about a positive relationship between a man and his son.
Peter is a lovely little boy. I love how he’s very accepting of different lifestyles and just lets everyone around him be who they are. Peter is all about happiness. He wants to paint his nails because it makes him happy. He wants his Dad to be in love because it makes him happy. I work with a lot of kids at the Library and I feel like … again … Browatzke has done a great job of capturing in the character of Peter… the accepting nature of kids!
Drag culture is a bit part of this story. Andrew is a successful Drag Queen when Patrick meets him. I loved the explanations of when to say “she” and when to say “he”. This novel goes a long way towards illustrating there are many ways to be “you” and we don’t’ all fit into categories. Patrick and Andrew have some great conversations about sexuality, gender, Drag, and toxic masculinity… and no, it’s not like a lecture… it’s fun. The banter between Patrick and Andrew is delightful.
The sex scenes are hot! And there are quite a few! Do you won’t feel ripped off in THAT department!
All in all a fun read with some real, valid diversity by an own-voices author.
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) coming out (well-received), confusion regarding sexual orientation, bullying of a child (regarding clothing choices/ homophobia)
“So,” Andrew said, when they were relocated back to the couch, sitting facing each other, beers in hand.
“First off, let me, well, set you straight on something. Kent and I aren’t dating, so don’t feel bad about that.”
“Good,” Patrick said. “I’d hate to have some gay guy come at me for hitting on his boyfriend.”
“Is that what it was? You hitting on me?”
Patrick looked away. “Honestly, I don’t know.”
“Well, what’s going on in that head of yours?”
“You,” he said. “You’re going on in my head. You and only you. Ever since we met. I thought it was all about Peter, but no, it’s about me. You’ve gotten under my skin, Andrew, and I don’t know how to get you out of me.” Their eyes locked. “And honestly, I’m not sure I want you gone.”
“But you’re straight.”
“I’ve always thought that. I’ve never been attracted to a guy before this.”
“Never? Not even in school? Some guys experiment, you know.”
“Never. I’ve looked back and there’s never been anything to make me think I’d ever be into a guy.”
“So you’re into me?”
Patrick’s face turned pink and he looked away. “I don’t know. Yes. Yes, I am.” He swallowed hard and looked back at Andrew. “Look, I know this is out of the blue, and I know what you said at the pool, and-”
“What did I say at the pool?”
“That, you know, that you’re not attracted to me.”
It was Andrew’s turn to blush and look away. “Well, since you’re being honest, I guess I should be too. Patrick, of course I’m attracted to you. You… well, look at you. I just said that to set your mind at ease. I was enjoying hanging out. I am enjoying it. I didn’t want you to freak out thinking I found you attractive or worried that I was going to try to jump you.”
“And it ended up being me that jumped at you.”
Andrew looked at him and grinned. “Seems that way.”
“Here we are then, both attracted to each other. What do we do now?”
About the Author
Rob Browatzke has been writing for as long as he can remember, and is pretty darn excited for someone else to be reading his stuff finally! When it comes to gay bars and booze and drugs and drama, he knows what he’s talking about. He came out in the mid-90s, and liquor and drama went hand in hand. He has 20+ years of experience working in gay clubs in Edmonton, Alberta, and you’ll always find his love for his other career permeating the stories he tells. Rob is now 9+ years clean and sober, although there’s still a bit of drama once in a while, for old times’ sake.
Rob loves the growing market for gay fiction and m/m romance. There are some incredible authors out there, and it’s important to be able to see in print (or on the screen) stories about people just like us. Coming out, our relationships, the issues we face, we all have stories to tell. And this book is just one of the stories coming out of Wonderland.
Feel free to stalk him online. He’s on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @robbrowatzke.
I received an ARC of A Fluid State by Rob Browatzke via Gay Book Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.