Two dozen roses, one dozen balloons and a night with a sexy, young stripper. What a thirty-sixth birthday for Jimmy Trent. But the ultimate gift is yet to come as he finds himself falling in love with the beautiful dancer. Adam Hyland’s life is in the dumps. Living in his car and stripping for his supper, he doesn’t expect much when the birthday-boy invites him to stay for cake and champagne. Yet seeing the look in Jimmy’s eyes, Adam dares to hope for more.
Will their differences tear them apart? Or can their love take flight like a Phoenix Rising from the ashes?
Phoenix Rising is very interesting from many perspectives, and perspective is what we get in spades. When Adam Hyland meets James T. Trent IV the differences in their lifestyles could not be more apparent. Jimmy is a successful 36 year old entrepreneur who has everything it seems except a life. He has no love interest and lives deep in the closet because he’s afraid of the negative impact on his family and business if his sexual orientation were to become public knowledge. Adam, on the other hand at 22 years old, knows what he wants and where he’s going. His life would be great if only he can find a decent job that pays good money and his bad knee doesn’t give out at the worst possible moments! Their first night together was a dream come true for both of them, but with the bright morning light reality raises its ugly head and Adam leaves for yet another job interview and Jimmy is left with a bad taste in his mouth.
The story is told from alternating points of view and I didn’t find that at all confusing because it revealed the protags’ thoughts and desires and moved the story along at a brisk pace. Adam was the more interesting personality in my opinion because of his vulnerability and the distance he had traveled in his very short life. He was warm and genuine but for such a young man he was quite jaded and you get more than just a glimpse of this very complex and likeable character that I wanted to cheer for as he encounters and overcomes the bumps on the road in his life. Jimmy and Adam badly want to have a meaningful relationship but they find out that with the love comes heartache and loss.
This book was quite long at 280 pages, but I read it in one sitting because I could not put it down which for me doesn’t happen often. The story was engrossing and many of the secondary characters particularly Jimmy’s manipulative brother Laton and Adam’s good friend Jason, were well developed and added a great deal of depth to the plot. But the main focus of the story did not shift from Jimmy and Adam who continue to deal with everything that life threw at them, from feelings of betrayal to separations, without ever getting maudlin.
The sex scenes in the book were some of the hottest and most sensuous that I have read in quite some time and Kimberly Gardner does what a lot of writers can’t seem to be able to do – she does not let the sex overpower the story and seems to know instinctively that the story and the characters are what make a book stand out in this overcrowded genre. Not only can she write a great sex scene but she can write a terrific book!
Phoenix Rising is an impressive read and I urge you to buy this book.