When you pit knowledge against emotions, there's the no-man's land in between those two opposing forces where taboos lie. Incest is one of the untouchables, a taboo that even in alternative cultures is often still looked on negatively. But how can something that feels so right be wrong? In Fraternal Devotion, the focus is on brotherly love—in every sense of the word. These are tales of love, lust, devotion, and passion as real as any other romance. Why should the fact that the two men are brothers take away from that? This collection may challenge your assumptions and beliefs, but may also melt your heart. Not to mention steam up your glasses.
Keith is a Humanist Corpsman, sworn to protect society from the mutated ranks of the Infected. When his own team betrays him, however, it's his long lost brother, Riley, who takes him in and makes him choose between War and Peace and Brotherhood. After nineteen months apart, Brandon Patrell, of Analgesia, is convinced it will take more than a home renovation to keep his playboy brother, Ethan, from running away again. But as Ethan resumes his old mind-games, Brandon is determined to tease back for once, even if it means risking everything in a game of all or nothing. A dozen years after discovering his father's suicide, Cale returns home and finds his older brother Derrick showing the same signs of melancholy. But as much as he wants to help his brother, he fears being sucked back into that world of Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools.
Jeremy has been On Clouds of Obsession since long ago glimpsing his brother, Matt, naked in the locker room. Years later, with Matt due to be married in a week, Jeremy takes a chance after Matt's bachelor's party that could jeopardize their relationship, not to mention the impending wedding. Songwriter Andrew lives life On the Edge, using drugs to quiet his uncertainties about his ongoing relationship with his twin, Ben. Disheartened by Andrew's empty promises, Ben begins to pull away, forcing Andrew to choose between letting go and finally finding the strength to stop running.
All of the stories in this anthology were good. Reading about the internal and external struggles these brothers have to face was at times heartbreaking but when they overcome their fears and the issue of loving their brother was sweet. If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be Depression, Love and Swimming Pools by Leigh Wilder. Derrick and Cale are a good couple and the way they strive to conquer the looming depression that haunts both of them is heartwarming. Al around, the collection is good and all of the stories in it are worth a read.
4½ Smooches for the Fraternal Devotion anthology. You can find it here.