For All Waters by Sirivinda
I don't remember the first time I read For All Waters, but I know I've read it many, many times since.
At first glance it doesn't seem to be my kind of story: A college man, who doesn't have a boyfriend, just a friend with benefits, goes to visit his sister over summer holiday. Sebastian is a pretty boy who knows it and isn't really ready to settle down. He isn't a player or a slut--he's just enjoying life, which makes him more enjoyable (to me). Then he meets Antonio, who is gorgeous, interested, and...married. And is his sister's (and her husband's) friend. The couples, and their children, hang out all summer, and it doesn't take long for Sebastian and Antonio to fall in to bed together.
Adultery crawls under my skin, but Antonio is somewhat on the level: His wife knows he's gay and they have a platonic relationship in order to raise their son in an unbroken home. However, neither of them have had an affair, since they are both married. At least, until now.
You can see where the problems begin for our two leading men as they struggle with themselves and society, their age difference, and their life differences.
The writing, overall very strong, has moments when it is downright moving, in happiness, in sadness, and sometimes just the ache of "that's how life is." The style is often beautiful, offering just the right amount of description to paint the image of the people and the surroundings without bogging down the chapters trying to explain a place most people haven't been.
I love the story. Yes, it breaks my heart at times, but for me it's worth it. Again and again. Sebastian is smart and jaded, while Antonio is warm, kind, and never wants to hurt anyone (and by trying not to, hurts many). The supporting cast all play their roles to perfection, whether they are the sweet shadow of a wife or the jubilant nephew, carrying Sebastian through the summer and beyond.
I don't want to spout too many wonderful things for fear it will make the experience less wonderful, but I enjoy this story enough that I've sat on my butt for many hours reading it online (repeated times) and finally copy and pasted it into a document for my kindle.
Recommended for everyone, but especially people who like age gaps in their romances, challenges to overcome, sex, humor, and beautiful story telling.