Curt, a college professor, lives with his lover of several years, a pediatrician of Chinese descent named Lee. Eager to write, he receives a grant to take the summer off and work on a novel. Then Lee's mother calls -- she wants to visit. Curt is eager to meet her but Lee isn't so sure ... she's of a different generation, a different culture even, and doesn’t speak much English. Still, Curt insists.
But when Mrs. Gui arrives, Curt finds himself struggling with writer’s block. He feels like an outsider in his own home when Lee and his mother converse in Cantonese, leaving him out of the conversation, and even his sex life suffers with her in the bedroom next to theirs. Can Curt and Mrs. Gui move past their cultural differences to see that they both love Lee and have his best interests at heart?
Chewing the Bone Reviews.
"An engaging although at times quiet funny story regarding a mother coming to visit her only son who is gay. With her comes old-world Chinese customs that add more stigmas to an already tense situation. Mom's visit may prove grueling at best ... An amusing story that touches upon the nuisances of meeting the in-laws. I'll be coming back to read this story again."
Literary Nymphs Reviews: 4 out of 5.
"A delightfully written story about two male lovers coping with everyday life ... Their relationship will be tested beyond anything they ever thought it could be. I was captivated by these two and wanted everyone involved to be happy at some point although I think Mrs. Gui had other ideas. When the three of them realized what was at the heart of their objections, the communication improved between the three."
Rainbow Reviews: 4 out of 5.
"One thing I like about J.M.'s work is the peaceful domesticity of her characters; an impromptu barbecue becomes an erotic event. Most of all her characters glory in their love for one another."
Realms of Love: 4 out of 5.
"This is a well told tale of a happy established romance challenged in an unexpected manner. Cultural clash and the issue of difficult and unwilling communication due to lack of fluent common language is showcased here. One can't help but feel for Curt in his attempts to befriend Mama Gui, concentrate on his writing and to face down writer's blocks."
Reviewed by Frost: 4 out of 5.
"Not just a reversal on the usual mother-in-law mess ... peers into relationships: lovers, filial, and self. The novel also takes a hard close look at what it means to be a writer, with writer's block, with big dreams that don't seem to materialize."
By the time Lee returned I was already relaxing in the hot tub, head back, eyes closed, clothes gone, the water warm and welcome on my bare skin. The plates sat on a towel I had spread within reach, the steaks done to perfection, the shrimp still sizzling on the skewers. Red wine winked in our glasses, the champagne saved for later. I had no intention of leaving the water until absolutely necessary -- I planned on eating right where I was, leaning over the side of the tub if I had to.
When I heard the sliding door squeal faintly over the soothing sounds of Kenny G's soprano sax, I let myself sink a little further into the water, until the bubbles tickled my chin. "Well?" I asked with a slow smile. I heard the solid thud of a belt buckle hitting the floor and opened one eye to see my lover undressing by the side of the tub. "That your mom?"
"Yeah." His pants bunched at his ankles as he unbuttoned his dress shirt. In the last of the sunlight slipping through the blinds around us, his skin took on an olive tone, dark and exotic. His hair stood up in defiant clumps as if he had run his hands through it again and again while on the phone, something he always did when he was nervous or upset.
That bedraggled look told me more about the call than the forced smile on his face or the worried look in his eyes. "Everything alright?" I asked, concerned.
Kicking away his pants, he shrugged off his shirt and dropped it at his feet. The cuff of one sleeve brushed over the wine glasses before falling away. "Fine," he told me, but the way he didn't quite meet my gaze told me he knew I knew better. He hooked his thumbs into his briefs and, with the complete lack of modesty only a seasoned lover could feel, pushed them down his legs. He stepped out of them and into the hot tub, the steam beading on his body like sweat as he sank down until the water covered his slim shoulders. "She's fine," he murmured, gliding towards me.
Beneath the water, I felt his hand on my knee. It slid up my thigh as he closed the distance between us, but I caught it before it could tangle in the kinked hair at my crotch. "That's dessert," I told him. He laughed and let me reel him in, and I kissed his jaw as he sat down beside me. I wanted to take his mind off whatever his mother might have said and get it back where it belonged ... on me. So with a nod at the plates, I said, "Your dinner's getting cold."
"Yours too." He swam around me and pulled the towel with our plates on it a little closer to the tub. I watched his hands as he cut the steaks with sure movements, even and unhurried. In their calm I sensed a guarded wariness as if he had something on his mind and didn't want to ruin my evening with it. "So," he said, the knife working effortlessly. "Now when people ask what you do for a living, you can say you're a full-time writer. No, full-time author. By this time next year, Oprah will be knocking down our door to get a piece of you."
I laughed. Sidling up behind him, I wrapped my arms around his waist and let my fingers play against his inner thighs. An inch or two higher and ... the steak he was so carefully cutting wasn't the only thing I wanted to swallow down. "She can't have me yet," I teased. Like two pieces of a complex puzzle, our bodies locked together perfectly, the cleft of his buttocks fitting nicely against my hardening shaft. I kissed the nape of his neck and tasted sweat and chlorine. "Tonight I'm all yours."
"Didn't you say this was dessert?" Lee asked, wiggling his hips back into me.