Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 16, 2016
Page Count: 420
Reviewed by: Vallie
Heat Level: 5 flames out of 5
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
One year ago, actor Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life to a drunk driver. But what’s worse for Connor is what he still has: a lifetime of secrets born of hiding his relationship from the glare of Hollywood. Unable to let go of the world he and Vinnie shared, Connor films a drunken YouTube confession on the anniversary of Vinnie’s death.
Thankfully, the video was silent—a familiar state for Connor—so his secret is still safe. He needs a fresh start, and a new role on the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing might be just that.
The move to Bluewater Bay may also mean a second chance in the form of his studio-assigned assistant. Noah Dakers sees through Connor’s facades more quickly than Connor could imagine. Noah’s quiet strength and sarcastic companionship offers Connor a chance at love that Hollywood’s closet has never allowed. But to accept it, Connor must let Vinnie go and learn to live again.
This was absolutely stunning –One of my favourites by Amy Lane, certainly, and a good reminder of why I love the hurt/healing/comfort theme.
Connor is heart-broken after the death of his partner and fellow actor Vinnie, who he was in a secret relationship with for 10 years. It wasn’t sun and roses either. Vinnie struggled in Hollywood. His addiction impeded on Connor’s career several times, because Connor would drop everything and go back to LA to support Vinnie through rehab –always as the good friend, of course. So, Vinnie is dead, and one year later, Connor is still hating life and feeling sorry for himself. His larger than life agent manages to snag him a role in a popular TV show and off Connor is to Bluewater Bay. There, he meets Noah, who is his driver and loosely acts as a personal assistant as well.
Noah is a huge fan of Connor’s but don’t let his initial enthusiasm fool you. He is no fanboy, no sir. Noah has a good head on his shoulders and somehow sees through Connor. He doesn’t take any crap and definitely does not buy Connor’s bs about being straight and having been ”like brothers” with Vinnie. But this amazing thing happens between them. Connor really needs a friend and Noah happens to be the absolute best person for the job. It’s like pulling teeth, how Noah managed to drag the truth from Connor piece by piece. But Noah was reliable, caring, and his family was everything that Connor never had and always craved. They became close and then inevitably became a couple.
A word about grief. This book deals with the tremendous pain of losing someone. Connor is absolutely devastated at the loss of Vinnie because he did not only lose his partner but all of the physical tokens of their memories as well. Vinnie’s family took over Vinnie’s house and Connor was not entitled to a single thing from the life they took a decade to put together. This grief that he feels is a tangible thing, ever present in everything Connor does. He even has imaginary conversations with Vinnie in his head. This grief is not diminished by the glamour of a new job or the exciting prospect of a new relationship. It’s like a disease, flaring up and then going into remission, only to hit Connor at his weakest every time. This happens all through the end of the book. And that’s important to show, because if it had gone away easier than it did, the legitimacy of Connor’s pain would have been in question in my mind. But he loved Vinnie so much while acknowledging, finally, that he needed to move on and be happy with someone who was good for him.
I honestly cannot say enough about Noah in this book. He was bossy; he loved Connor; he was understanding of Connor’s needs; and he was the rock. Connor often sounded a lot younger than he was because he would get excited about things like a little kid. And Noah would allow Connor to do this, to live his life and not be tied down by perceptions of how he should be. Coming out was a huge thing as well and I loved how it happened. And let’s just say, the sex between them? Dear lord can Amy Lane write a dirty sex scene! Everything I love about steam in mm was here: the strong emotional undercurrent, Connor’s subby tendencies; Noah’s take-charge attitude; and of course, the graphic descriptions which were imaginative and on point. Absolutely loved it!
The HEA is hard-earned and well-deserved at the end. This is an angsty book but there are many light moments and some comedic relief so it did not feel like a huge pile of sad. I could not put it down and I would highly recommend it to all lovers of mm.
One of the best books of the year for me.