Title: Stardust (The Solitary Knights of Pelham Bay #4)
Author: Claire Thompson
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Publisher: Romance Unbound
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
What starts out as a routine emergency call, lands Gordon Flanders and Dennis Wilson in the thick of a madcap drag queen party gone wild. Gordon finds himself in a position to save Ben Ryder, his old lover, from a fiasco that could ruin the movie star’s career. Gordon volunteers to hide the movie star from the paparazzi until he can get a flight back to L.A. Thrilled by what he sees as his second chance with the man he never got over, the star struck Gordon plans a romantic dinner for two that he hopes will set the stage for more – much more.
Dennis and Gordon outwardly agree love affairs and work relationships shouldn’t mix. Inside Dennis’ heart, however, it’s a different story. Too shy to press past Gordon’s defenses, he settles for being the best friend he can, even when it means helping Gordon plan the seduction of another man.
When events collide to reveal Ben’s true colors, Gordon’s heart is trampled in the process, and it’s left to Dennis to pick up the pieces. Will Dennis finally find the courage to seize his own second chance at love? And with the stardust falling from Gordon’s eyes, will he finally see the real star who has been in front of him the entire time?
This is book 4 in the The Solitary Knights of Pelham Bay series. The Solitary Knights were started by several men burned by love who frequented the Pelham Bay Bar once a month and drank their sorrows away. The first book is Finding Chandler reviewed here, then A Test of Love which can be found here, and book 3 Switching Gears .
Gordon, an EMT at a private ambulance company and one of the Pelham Knights, had been in love with Ben since high school when they had a brief groping session, but Ben went on to bigger and better things such as a movie career as an action hero and left Gordon behind. Gordon still dreamed in technicolour that someday his prince would realize he was in love with him all along, despite the fact that he was now famous and dating other movie stars of the opposite sex as a cover so that his sexual orientation would not be revealed. However, despite seeing him a few times over the years and getting the occasional Christmas card, his dream never materialized.
One afternoon there was call to attend an emergency at an upscale hotel and Gordon and his partner Dennis were disptached to the scene. Upon arrival at the hotel the manager directed them to the out of control party and the first person they saw was Ben who was staying at the hotel and was one of the guests at the party. He was drunk and was being given oral sex by a transvestite. Even though he was upset that his hero was being serviced by someone else, Gordon felt the need to rescue him from the paparazzi press, so he and Dennis smuggled Ben out of the hotel to Gordon’s apartment until the excitement died down.
Over the course of the next 24 hours Gordon was in heaven, catering to Ben’s every request – whether it was to get special mood candles, only the purest orange juice, organic oats, sub acid fruits, or organic Sumatra Mandheling coffee beans – in fact Ben was being a regular prima donna and Gordon was happy to serve him or ask Dennis for help. During his short stay Ben maintained the front of being hetero even with Gordon, and continued to use him to procure his special dietary items which he needed to maintain his wonderful face and figure. After a while Gordon was getting a bit disenchanted with his idol due to all of his unreasonable demands, but he was not yet at the point of giving up on his dream and could not see him for the selfish, egotistical diva that he was.
In the meantime Dennis, feeling sorry for his friend who was so much in love with a man that was clearly unworthy, agreed to help him even if it meant that Ben might realize what a treasure Gordon was and fall for him. Dennis had been in love with Gordon for the past two years since they started working together but Gordon didn’t have a clue about his feelings; he knew that Gordon was obsessed with Ben and that there was no place in his heart for anyone else until he got him out of his system. Dennis wanted to be part of Gordon’s life even if it meant he had to watch him try to win Ben, and help him find all of the crazy dietary and so called healthy items that he demanded. But of course this state of affairs could not continue and in the middle of making Ben’s lunch his latest girlfriend, Ariel, arrived and all hell broke loose. Only then did Gordon see what a piece of crud Ben really was and the wonderful man who was under his nose all the time while he was pining over someone who was undeserving.
I think Stardust is the best book so far in this series. The story was amusing but my heart broke for Gordon who loved so unwisely and found out that Ben’s heart, what there was of it, was made of coal. Stardust demonstrates how people can believe that somehow life will give them their heart’s desire despite all the evidence to the contrary and they end up disappointed. Lucky for Gordon there was someone waiting in the wings who only needed a signal from him to show what real love was all about. All of the characters in the book were well drawn, even Ben the creep, and it was great to see him get his comeuppance, such as it was. Initially Gordon was someone to be pitied but he learned soon enough that Ben was a figment of his imagination, as unreal as a fake oasis in the desert. Dennis was steadfast throughout and stood by the man he loved even though he might lose him in the end and I liked his character best of all.
If you’re looking for a book that will amuse you, show you the sordid side of cardboard heroes, the lengths to which people will go to fool themselves because they see others through rose coloured glasses, and the value of someone who will be in your corner regardless of the price, then Stardust should be on your next list of books to buy. Definitely recommended.