Note: The ending of Faith & Fidelity is the prologue of Duty & Devotion, something that instantly put me back in to the story and I appreciated it.
In DUTY AND DEVOTION the relationship between Evan and Matt continues with several issues to deal with. Not only is there the jealousy issue of Evan, especially when Matt’s one-night-stand shows up; Jim Shea, it also deals with Evan coming to terms with himself and Matt dealing with being the family man. Duty And Devotion is all about the emotional progress of Evan and Matt as a couple. Love does not guarantee a solid relationship and irritations cause friction.
The portrayal of this gay romance relationship felt very true to real life. I was so involved with these two men up to a point where I even irritated myself about Evan’s behavior, connecting me with Matt’s point of view who wanted to give this relationship his all. Evan really pushed me away and reeled me back in. I wanted them to have the love they deserved and Evan’s doubts where quite the obstacle to deal with. At the other hand Evan’s insecurities as a lover, as a man, and how the outside world would perceive him made him who he is. Tere Michaels really gives an in-depth look what makes the main men tick. It’s done more through inner monologues then dialogues but it still results in a rounded relationship. Both men are distinct in their characterization fully realized personalities who become very real in the mind’s eye. It’s one of the reasons I connected to this story, I cared about what happened to Evan and Matt from start to finish.
The focus of this story is definitely on relationships. Not only between Matt and Evan but also between them and the kids, between Evan and his cop partner, between Matt and his friend Jim. Each emotional connection interconnected them and fleshed out this story to a well rounded one. Friends and family have a supportive place yet have an essential part to play. While it created quite the impact throughout the story the development where the grandparents made certain decisions regarding the kids unfortunately felt like it was left hanging in the end. On the other hand, Jim Shea and Griffin Drake were the two friends whom I liked from the beginning. Jim is a retired cop, quick of mind albeit a bit gruff and pushes some major buttons within the relationship of Matt and Evan. It is Griffin who brought some humor to this story with his Hollywood looks and quick wit. Their romance is told between Faith And Fidelity and Duty And Devotion in Love And Loyalty.
Tere Michaels balanced the emotional depth, the smoldering passion, family and work life to give a full flavored M/M story. DUTY AND DEVOTION gave me an intimate picture of two men taking chances, loving each other, and building a life together that befitted them and the children. This author really put her mark on the genre with a soul searing gay romance.