Evan Cerelli is a vice cop who has a hard time coping with the grief of losing his wife and simultaneously providing an emotional support to his three daughters and son. When he meets Matt Haight at a party held for Victor Wolkowski they exchange numbers at the end of the night. It doesn’t take long for them to frequently meet in a bar to drink beer, eat buffalo wings and talk. A friendship is formed but something else blooms between them too, a feeling neither one of them has any experience with. This is however a tip of the iceberg, because if they give in, what would that make them? What about the kids? What about family, friends and colleagues? So many questions, so many doubts, so much confusion, will Evan and Matt have what it takes to make a gay romantic relationship work?
Tere Michael’s began FAITH AND FIDELITY with a scene that exposed the raw moments of loss and grief as Evan lost his wife in a car accident. From that beginning I don’t think Tere Michael’s lost that emotional depth and it is a journey for two men that encompasses all sides of life. Love, fear, confusion, anger, awakening passion, joy, there isn’t one emotion that didn’t pass the revenue for me and I let myself be swept away by the story told.
Evan’s grief is written all over his face, body and soul and it only made me wonder if a man who was capable of such intense grief, would be able to love so intensely too? I was very eager to find out! Evan is a man who knows himself, knows the mistakes he made and he is a brooder. A man who also has complete inner monologues with himself about his doubts and fears.
Matt Haight is a ladies’ man but has never truly loved before. While he too has troubles accepting his attraction for Evan he is more willing to explore this. When Matt makes up his mind he is the kind of man who will give his decision a hundred and ten percent to make it work. He challenges the more rigid Evan and it made their body language and dialogues sizzling.
The story is stripped bare of any form of plotline as it solely focuses on the grief process of a man and his kids, and the budding gay romance between Evan Cerelli and Matt Haight. The relationship development between them is so very believable, so all encompassing, that it felt like a true life story. Both men truly became life-like personalities for me as they initially connect in their misery and pain. They took me on all the ups and downs of a budding relationship. Especially the aspect of them finding out they’re attracted to each other, they’re treading new waters, both sexually as emotionally, which was exceptionally insightfully written. The well-rounded characterization, the erotically charged moments, the tough subjects incorporated in this story turn this m/m erotic romance in one that stands out within the genre.
If there is one thing I had issues with then it would be the almost mid-scene ending. The whole story I had this intense emotional connection to Evan and Matt, completely succumbed to their troubles and joys but the ending was abrupt. The writing style resonated with me but the abruptness of the ending felt like a tear in the otherwise flowing storytelling of this author. I can only advice each who purchases FAITH AND FIDELITY, to also by DUTY AND DEVOTION, the concluding story of Evan and Matt’s romance.
Next to Matt and Evan there are the four kids who add their own voice to the story, they also grief but at the same time connect with Matt in a spontaneous way that is natural for younger kids. For some reason the Cerelli family felt like a dysfunctional family but with the warmth of loving each other at the base. I felt it would only be a matter of time for everyone to get back on his or her feet and reconnect with one another, which would lead to becoming a tight knit family once more. Faith And Fidelity is most certain a character and emotion driven story that doesn’t let go, even after reading the final page. Well, actually that is an understatement, when I read the end I knew various issues had to be worked out further and I practically growled for the sequence story Duty And Devotion!
Tere Michaels delivered a stunning portrayal of two men lost but find love and friendship in an unexpected place and time. They embark on a new journey with all that it entails and take the reader along with them for the emotional rollercoaster ride.