When I ordered this anthology I had a sneaking suspicion that it would be a set of stories about weddings - a subject I've never found terribly interesting, gay or straight. Instead I was treated to a set of twenty-two short stories about partnership and some of the issues around it, like dealing with step-families and deciding how long to stick with a less than satisfactory relationship. There is a wonderful mix of the historic and the contemporary, of romances and comedies, of erotica and bittersweet tales to stir the emotions. The stories mostly deal with gay male partnerships, although there are three involving lesbian relationships and two with transgendered protagonists.
It seems so unfair to single any of the stories out, as there was so much to enjoy in all of them, from the delightfully characterful narrators of Alex Beecroft's "Inner Truth", Bruin Fisher's "Work Experience", Nigel Puerasch's "Stripes" and "Aim Higher" by J L Merrow, to the poignant beauty of "Two Men: A Fugue" by Sophia Deri-Bowen, Ruth Sim's "The Legend of Mountain Ash", L-J Baker's "Mallory's Gift" and Jamie Freeman's "Ships That Pass". There were exquisitely erotic moments in Lenore Black's "Ganymede", James Buchanan's "Touche" and D C Juris' "Even Guys Cry", and sophisticated comedy in Lee Rowan's "Turnabout" and Charlie Cochrane's "The Uneven Chance". I also loved the sweetness of the relationships shown in "The Song Inside" by Nexis Pas, "Home Cooking" by Brian Holiday and Nathan Burgoine's "Cakewalk".
Indeed, the only two stories that didn't work so well for me were the vampire story, "Morbidly Obese" by Rick R Reed, and the comedy by Michael Gouda, "Hitched". My problem with the first is that I will always find it difficult to have sympathy for a cold blooded murderer, and with the second that it seemed like a sequel or a second chapter rather than a story in its own right. They were both perfectly well written, though, and I'm sure that other readers will enjoy them.
In short, I can't recommend this anthology highly enough, and it's given me a tantalising taste of many authors I intend to read more from.