Sexual Healing

Shawn Bailey
Sexual Healing
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Release Date
December 2013
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, Multi-cultural/Multi-racial Romance

Twenty-seven-year old Ezra Benedict has given up on finding true romance. He is a romantic at heart and has always believed in the sanctity of being in a monogamous relationship. But unfortunately the men in his past have been anything but faithful. He jumps at a chance to relocate to Japan to fulfill his dream of being a travel photographer. During a photo-shoot before he leaves he sees the most gorgeous young Japanese woman he ever laid eyes on, who flirts with him shamelessly while she poses. Ezra's body responds and becomes aroused.

He can't figure it out because one, he's been impotent for a year, and two, he's gay. Following his doctor's advice Ezra visits a club and tries to flirt with women to see if he can obtain an erection again, but nothing happens. Ezra leaves for Japan and goes in search of the model Maya Chiyo since he's convinced that only she can help cure him.

Nineteen-year-old old Maya Chiyo has only known one American in his life and is curious when he sees photographer Ezra Benedict. He meets the man while he's in full geisha makeup and costume during a photo-shoot and flirts with him for fun. Little did he know that Ezra took him serious until he sees the man waiting for him outside the college campus where Maya is a student.

Ezra demands that Maya take responsibility and date him once he learns that Maya is actually a guy. Maya thinks Ezra is crazy, but is soon drawn to the older guy with the sad expression and beautiful light brown eyes.

Will Maya ignore what his heart is telling him or just do what is expected of him?

Book Review by Annette Gisby (author,reviewer)
Feb 09, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
196 people found the following review helpful
SEXUAL HEALING is a sweet, lighthearted love story that hooked me from the start and left me smiling.

Ezra Benedict has been impotent for over a year after he caught his lover cheating on him in their bed. He's been seeing a doctor and is on medication but nothing seems to help. Ezra throws himself into his work as a photographer and is surprised and bemused when his first erection for a while happens while he is taking photographs of a young woman dressed as a Japanese geisha, who flirts openly with him during the photo-shoot. Ezra had always considered himself gay and doesn't know why he's suddenly finding an interest in women.

His doctor suggests he goes out to some clubs and flirt with women, but none of them do anything for him. Perhaps he isn't bisexual after all, maybe he's Maya-sexual? When the Japanese owners of the magazine he works for offer him a place in Japan as a travel photographer, Ezra jumps at the chance. Being a travel photographer is one of his dreams and he's also wondering if he'll get to see Maya again, as she is one of the models on the magazine's books.

Since this is a male/male romance novel, the reader knows from the start that Maya is a man and Ezra isn't left in the dark for too long. Maya is a student, working two jobs, modelling for the magazines and acting as a tour guide to help out his family. He's surprised when Ezra turns up, but is unsure of having anything to do with him at first, having already had his heart broken by another American man. But Ezra is persistent and Maya agrees to go on dates with him and it isn't long before he wonders if he is falling in love.

I have to admit that the main reason I picked up this book was that a lot of it was set in Japan. As my manga and anime collection can testify, I am on a bit of a Japanese binge at the moment. So even though the Japanese parts drew me in at first, it was the characters who made me want to stay.

Both Maya and Ezra seemed to fit so well together, despite coming from different backgrounds and cultures. I loved that Ezra was finding it difficult to learn Japanese and Maya's ten-year old brother offered to teach him; it was so cute. It was much more realistic than Ezra suddenly finding he was fluent in the language and knew everything about the culture straightaway.

All the characters were well-rounded, even the background ones like Izumi, the catty model who is Maya's number one competitor at the magazine, and Paul, Ezra's American friend. But since this is Ezra's and Maya's story, it's them we get to see most of and you are rooting for them to get their happily ever after. Maya was just so noble, working so hard to look after his family, even at the expense of his own happiness and Ezra, I just wanted to hug and tell him everything was going to be all right.

What I liked too was that they didn't jump straight into bed and Ezra's impotence wasn't suddenly cured just because he was with Maya. Sometimes things happened, sometimes they didn't, and it added a realistic touch to it. The turnarouond came when Maya performed a sexy dance to Marvin Gaye's 'Sexual Healing', which could have been so trite, but it fit Maya's character and happened in just the right spot of their relationship, I think.

There was a little bit of angst when Maya's ex turned up and hinted that he wanted him back, and Ezra was prepared to let him go if that's what he wanted. Silly man, didn't he know Maya was in love with him, not Jonathan?

There were a few little niggles, a few typos and continuity errors, like going on a date on Sunday when it had been arranged for the Saturday in the previous chapter, but nothing that took away from my overall enjoyment of the story.

Good if you want to while away a few hours with a love story that isn't a complete angst-fest.
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