In Counterbalance by Aidan Wayne, Bao has come to Canada to become a part of Cirque Brilliance doing acrobatics. John is intrigued with him but years of living with massive scarring have left him hesitant in matters of the heart. I received one copy of this book at no charge in exchange for my honest reviews but all opinions expressed here are my own. This post contains affiliate links.
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Counterbalance by Aidan Wayne
Purchase Links: Amazon
Author: Aidan Wayne
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (September 10, 2016)
Genre: M/M, Contemporary
Length/Format: 1432 KB/78 pages
Heat Rating: 1
Star Rating: 3
John loves his job as head rigger for Cirque Brilliance. The heavy scarring over half his face makes it a little hard to meet new people, but John’s got a good crew and a nice found family, and he’s content with his lot in life.
When Cirque hires talent for a new show, John meets Bao, a bright, ever-cheerful acrobat. Bao seems drawn to John and becomes a constant presence at his side — talking to him during downtime, spending time with him at lunch, and generally seeking out his company.
John doesn’t know what to make of this. Sure, he likes Bao — maybe a little too much, honestly — but he’s had enough experience to know that Bao couldn’t possibly like him back. Or so he thinks, anyway. Fortunately, Bao seems determined to prove him wrong.
My Counterbalance Review:
John suffered a horrible tragedy as a teen and as a result, is badly scarred on his face, chest and arms. He works at Cirque Brilliance doing the rigging work for their very technical acrobatics show. He is hesitant about matters of the heart and nervous around people who he doesn’t know well.
Bao is an acrobat from China who has signed onto the show. He is outgoing, friendly, and wants to make friends with everyone. But he REALLY wants to get to know John.
John doesn’t really know what to make of Bao, figuring that the guy is really just being friendly and not looking for a boyfriend. They dance around each other for most of the book before things become clear to both of them and they finally figure out what the other wants.
This is a short story, so there is not a ton of in depth discovery as the book moves along. But it is slow and sweet and very well written. The characters were unique. I could really feel how insecure John was and Bao was just so darn happy all the time it was really kindof cute. He is so determined to get John to open up and he stays upbeat through the whole process, even when John is really pretty clueless.
I wasn’t wowed by the story but it was slow and gente, well written and a nice read. There is pretty much zero heat so the tiptoeing around each other is really about the heart and not about finding a bed. I think the possibilities were there to make this a longer novel but it was a sweet and enjoyable novella.