Title: Pieces of Me (Spectrum Nights Book #1)
Author: Melanie Hansen
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 154
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.50 stars out of 5
Scott Ashworth is a beautiful man and the hottest club host on the Phoenix gay scene. He takes what he wants, does what he wants, and does whom he wants. It’s a good life, but the journey to local popularity and fame wasn’t an easy one. For all that Scott’s looks are a blessing, at the same time they’re a curse—the source of his alcoholic mother’s inexplicable hatred.
Rylan Mahoney dreams of photojournalistic glory. He’s in Phoenix looking for the story of a lifetime, but the project isn’t coming to fruition. Needing rent money, he accepts a gig at Phoenix Pride hawking lewd lollipops and edible condoms…all while wearing gold lamé hot pants and a matching bow tie. When Rylan’s house keys and street clothes go missing after his shift, he’s desperate, until a stranger in a convertible stops to help.
The man is absolute sex on legs, and Rylan is jolted when he recognizes him—his stepbrother Scott Ashworth, long missing but suddenly larger than life. Scott is affluent and successful now, light years away from his hardscrabble days living with Rylan in a double-wide trailer deep in the heart of the Florida Panhandle.
Reunited after six years apart, Scott and Rylan are determined to put their past behind them, but fate may have other ideas and leave their future in jeopardy yet again.
Scott Ashworth grew up poor, as in double-wide trailer trash, drunken welfare mom, four stepsibs, flat broke, dirt poor. But what Scott has in abundance is sexual currency, with his startling green eyes coupled with dimples, broad shoulders and midnight black hair. Or as Scott says: “People wantin’ to look at me, and objectify me, is pretty much all I got goin’ for me.” When Scott is 17, his mother Heather marries long-hauler trucker Bob Mahoney who brings his son Rylan into the extended family. Rylan is the first person who offers Scott unconditional friendship and the stepbrothers grow very close in what is perhaps the first honest relationship Scott has ever had. But the night of Scott’s 18th birthday, an overheard conversation changes everything and Scott abruptly leaves.
Six years later, Scott and Rylan again meet in Phoenix. Rylan has graduated from college and is working towards becoming a photojournalist while Scott is the hottest club host in the hottest gay club in town. But Scott realizes that with all his success, Rylan is the one person who had ever really known him:
Oh God, Scott wanted that. He wanted it so badly the need rose up and choked him with it, a strangled sob escaping from between his lips to echo in the empty kitchen. A friend, someone who’d seen the worst in him yet somehow still managed to suss out the best, someone whose kindness and compassion was bone-deep – not an act, not a front – just someone who’d once cared about Scott in the way he so desperately needed to be cared about. Unconditionally, with no judgment…
The strength of Pieces of Me is how well Melanie Hansen develops her characters. Just when you think you know everything about Heather, Scott’s horrific mother, Hansen unveils another layer and you find yourself in tears. Scott could very easily be a cardboard sex god, but his yearning for Rylan, and to be treated as something other than a commodity, will tear at your heart. Rylan’s quiet understanding of his own mother and his compassion for Heather shows his integrity and compassion.
Yes, this story ends in a cliffhanger … but there is a blurb for the second book at the end of Book #1 that gives you a fairly good idea of what’s going on, so don’t let that discourage you from diving into this book. The plot grabs your interest as Hansen doles out bits of information about what Scott did after leaving home, and I can’t wait to read Spectrum Nights Book #2!