First Exposure by Alan Chin


Straight, married Petty Officer Second Class Skyler Thompson battles homophobia from his navy buddies, the military, and his wife when he takes a job creating flower arrangements at a gay-owned florist. But rather than yield to pressure and quit, he refuses to give up the joy of creating beautiful arrangements, battling homophobia for artistic expression. His dream is to leave the navy and open his own florist shop.

Ezra Dumphy—his shipmates call him Dumpy because of his obesity—is a gay sailor who likes to dress in drag. He is shunned by his shipmates, tragically lonely, and uses drugs to cope with his solitude. What he wants more
than anything is someone to share his life with.

Can these two men, opposites in every way, help each other achieve their dreams?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18406526-first-exposure?ac=1
I was left feeling very strange at the end of this novel.  I have lots of mixed feelings and I am not able to give five stars to this book.  While I liked Skylar and Ezra I really did not like Skylar’s wife, Rosa.  She abandoned him when he needed her most and seemed to generally care more about her peers’ opinions than what was best for her family.  She seemed very manipulative and opportunistic to me.  Skylar endured long hours and undesirable jobs to make her dreams come true, but she just seemed to complain.
I loved how Skylar always sticks up for Ezra and from the very beginning he recognizes that there is more to Ezra than
his weight problem.  This book shows how sometimes all you need is for one person to believe in you and give you a second chance for your life to completely turn around.  In the end all the problems are solved and the characters get their happy ever after endings.  While I was happy with the ending and the overall story my overwhelming disappointment in Rosa kind of soured the whole story for me.
Amazon US || Barnes & Noble

Alan has now published eight novels, two short stories, and is currently searching for a producer to turn his three lgbt-themed screenplays into movies. His anthology of short stories, Buddha’s Bad Boys, will be published in Feb. 2015 by Bold Strokes Books.
He currently lives and writes half of each year at his home in southern California, and he spends the other half of each year traveling the globe.  You can learn more about Alan Chin and his writing at: http://AlanChinWriter.blogspot.com  or about his travels at his travel blog: http://HermanAndAlan.blogspot.com