Review by Elizabetta

TITLE: Still

AUTHOR: Mary Calmes

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

BLURB: What happens when two men who have been together for seventeen years fall out of love? Sivan Cruz, a set director in San Francisco, and Walter Wainwright, a big shot Bay Area lawyer, find out the hard way. Walter loves Sivan with all his heart but rarely talks about it, and Sivan needs to hear the words. The language of the love they have shared for so long, that has enabled them to build a life together and raise two children, stops working. They become—still.

When Sivan asks for a divorce, Walter doesn’t know how to say no. They separate, but while Sivan sees the relationship as over, Walter sees only a temporary setback. He has never lost his passion for Sivan and decides he has to say something before he ends up loving his husband in silence for the rest of his life.


Still opens with Walter and Sivan at a crucial point in their seventeen year relationship. As told from Sivan’s POV, their marriage has fallen apart, it’s just not working for him anymore. He and Walter have raised two kids, pursued two busy careers, and have somewhere along the way, lost that kindling spark. The luster has worn off; they’ve come to a ‘stillness’. For Sivan, they are just going-through-the-moves and he’s tired of being taken for granted, shunted to the side. It’s an easily relatable conundrum — how to thwart time and routine, how to keep that initial spark alive in a committed long-term relationship.

          “Life is less about time and more about patterns … familiar interactions with people … you stop, realizing you’re doing things because of comfort and convenience, not because you’re in love. In that moment, you look across the room at the person in it up to their eyeballs with you, throw up your hands, and call it what it is … the end.”

It’s not just about that though. So much of it is about Walter and his aggressive, alpha persona. He’s a brilliant, ambitious San Francisco attorney and he is relentless in pursuing a high-powered career that allows him to provide well for his family. These same qualities eventually alienate Sivan… he wants to be ‘seen’ again, but it’s too late, there’ve been too many fights and too little meeting of the minds. He’s weary of being the ‘fixer’ in this relationship.

After the initial chapter, the story moves back in time for a bit as we get a glimpse of Sivan and Walter’s early relationship. This is where Calmes’ story-telling really shines. She is a master of that early seduction. So splendiferously romantic and sensual, she spins out the cat and mouse pursuit and falling together of two people who simply Must. Have. Each. Other. These two guys who, in the beginning, aren’t even terribly fond of each other (in fact, they have two years of butting heads, exchanging barbs, circling round and round) until suddenly, in a moment of kismet, they ‘see’ the other.

          “… I had to think, and it was hard with him running his thumb over my lips, pressing his knee between my thighs, parting them… I knew his smile, the soft exhale of nervous breath, and the hungry clutch of his hands … I felt drugged, ravished, and there was only him with his heart beating in time with mine, his hands all over me and the heat rolling off him. Everything else went quiet, like it did whenever I was in Walter’s arms.”

The first few chapters of the story are by themselves, well worth the price of the book. Sivan and Walter can’t get enough of each other; parched, they’ve have found the oasis in the desert. Their passion is thick and palpable and the lust fairly wafts off the page. Hold on, we are in danger of serious Kindle meltdown here. Now, back to the present…

Walter: big, ripped, confident, alpha-male, knows what he wants and he wants Sivan. Finally, facing divorce, he still and always will want Sivan. We feel for him, he is lost without his love. Sivan, charismatic and brilliant artist, does not make it easy; he’s captivating, he’s a bit of a brat, sharp witted and acerbic. What unfolds is Walter’s patient scheming to get him back, seemingly against all odds… oh, but there is something very sexy about a tough, take-charge man, used to winning, who must now pull together all his wits to win back his lover. Can he win this one too?

What we don’t get much of in Still is the middle part of the relationship — the building of a life together. We are left with the two ends: the passionate joining, and the split. The author is clearly more interested in the dynamic of the break-up and the tension it builds, and there is nothing overly dark or heavy here. Readers familiar with Mary Calmes’ previous work may see a similarity in these characters to those in Change of Heart. That story of alpha-shifter Logan, and his reluctant mate, Jin, remains one of my favorite PNR romances. There, again, we have a fated love and unremitting wooing and pursuit. The connection between Walter and Sivan recalls something of that earlier book. Once more, this formula works well for Calmes — you can’t help but fall in love with her characters, they have an undeniable chemistry.

While I found the writing in Still much tighter and more focused, I would have liked more story around the beginning of the relationship, and the story ending felt a bit rushed. Yet, I must give kudos to this author for representing sexy-over-40 so very well — we don’t often get M/M romances about the ‘after’ of ‘happily ever after’. Ms. Calmes has succeeded again in winning me over with her wicked talent for seduction and romance as I add another of her books to my favorites shelf.

Elizabetta’s Rating:

BUY LINK: Dreamspinner Press

Elizabetta is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love

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  1. Shelley says:

    Wonderful review Elizabetta!

  2. Macky says:

    Great Evie’s Elizabetta… I love Mary’s books. I’m pressing that link right now for my pre order. 🙂

  3. A great review! Definitely sold it to me…*S*
    Can’t wait to read it myself now…lol


  4. Dani says:

    Mary is amazing I have to read still yet but refering to jin and logan Man that is one of the best books ever soooooooooooo … yup i am sold will read this but i would have anyway LOL

  5. elizabetta says:

    Thanks guys! Dani — yeah, Calmes is amazeballs. I’m a big fan as you can tell. Come back and let me know what you think of it when you read it…

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