Review: Cruising: An M/M Anthology

EVEN BEFORE reading these vacation-themed stories, I knew I wasn’t the target audience for this style of genre fiction. Despite enjoying M/M romance, I’ve never had much interest in “cruise culture.” The setting of this anthology is also not something I organically gravitate toward, having an aversion to deep water. I would probably be fine never going on a cruise my entire life. Being familiar with and enjoying the work of several of the nine authors involved in this project—Matthew Dante, in particular—I was intrigued when asked to participate in the ARC reading. I forwent my reticence toward an ocean-themed anthology, attacking it like a shuffleboard cue to a disk on the Lido Deck.

Cruising is an assortment of stories reflecting the diverse tastes and choices of queer/gay men regarding their romantic and sexual relationships and activities while aboard a vacation cruise ship. And one can assume it continues for many after they return to dry land. (And good on them!) Thematically, the stories range from wholesome MM romance involving friends to lovers and May/December relationships, for example, to more racy, kinky, adult-themed situations. There is something for every reader here. You will glean enjoyment depending on your comfort level and what you’re looking to get from escapist M/M romance fiction.

Of course, I have my favourites. Matthew Dante’s “The Devil Wears Pink” is a wonderfully witty romance involving a delightful game of pranks and one-upmanship between two very different gay men. Jeris Jean’s “All Hands On Deck,” a childhood friends to lovers story, is sweet, charming, and left a big smile on my face. Colby and Matteo’s “love that was always meant to be” and the theme of reconnection is the definition of “Hope Springs Eternal!” Michael Robert’s “The Butler” is a story containing a rich text in its provided backstory, which I did not expect in a short-story format but very much appreciated. The billionaire boss/regular guy love story filled with angst, romance, and just enough steamy content made this a winner for me.

There were others I enjoyed as well, and while one or two were not to my taste, that doesn’t mean they did not present value. They just weren’t my cup of tea. I tend to sway toward the romance end of the spectrum with this genre more than the kink. Instead of criticizing a theme or trope that didn’t work for me, or a specific story that didn’t resonate with me, I encourage readers to give each author a chance. Decide what works for you. These nine writers each show unmistakable passion for the genre, and I applaud their creativity. Cruising is a fantastic collection of gay vacation-themed short stories, and it’s not just for summer fun—get into it any time of the year!

Cruising: An M/M Anthology is available for purchase at Barnes & Noble,, and


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