- Title: Into Deep Waters
- Author: Kaje Harper
- Series: N/A
- Genre(s): Historical, M/M
- Publisher: Goodreads M/M/ Romance Group, Love Is Always Write anthology, May 2012
- Purchase: Goodreads, free
- Trope(s): Coming out, angst
- Quick blurb: A WW2 love story that survives 70 years.
- Quick review: Brilliant, tension-filled first half makes up for episodic second half.
- Grade: A-
This is going to contain a lot of quotes and excerpts, because I highlighted half the damn book with notes like “lovely” and “*sigh*” and “brilliant” and “now THAT’S romantic.”
Kaje Harper’s free short story was written for a yet-to-be-released anthology called Love Is Always Write, commissioned and published by the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads.
I’m a big fan of Harper’s – her Life Lessons and Breaking Cover are both on my DIK list, and her Like the Taste of Summer should be required reading for all short story writers – so my expectations were pretty high.
I wasn’t disappointed. I was wowed. Again.
Two young sailors – one a working-class artist from California, the other an upper-middle-class pharmacist from the East Coast – meet onboard the Japan-bound U.S.S. Gageway in April 1942.
This was dumb. It was stupid to get involved with someone, to care about anyone in this soul-numbing war. That was like opening yourself up to be flayed. And yet how could you help it? They were all closer than brothers, these men he fought beside. And that one man, well, there was nothing brotherly going on there.
“…Given the choice, don’t you think they would have rather had this, what we have in this room, than died without it?”
Characterization, setting, atmosphere, tension and romance….
“I was waiting for you.”
Daniel’s voice was low and warm and surely didn’t mean what it sounded like. In any case, there were men close by, sleeping in the hangars and out on the decks to escape the closed-in heat of the berthing areas.
Jacob said, “I’m glad you’re okay. You are okay, right?”
“Yeah. Not a scratch. You?”
“I’m well enough. That is, I’m not hurt.”
For few minutes they stood there, watching as the new day dawned. The sun rose above the water, trailing ripples of gold that faded into the greys and blues of the waves. The air was warming.
Daniel said, “Come on.”
It was some kind of choice that Jacob didn’t bother to ask why or where. He just trailed after Daniel silently, down the hatch and deeper into the ship, until they fetched up against a door. Daniel stopped with his hand on it and raised one eyebrow. Jacob allowed himself one breath. Just one moment to think all the things that were going unsaid. Then he reached past Daniel and opened the linen storage locker door wide.
The storeroom was airless and hot and the space was tight. But it was enough for what they needed.
Damn. Damn, that’s good. See what I mean?