A guest review by John
Just out of the service, Dave Henderson is home and ready to enjoy the sexual freedom he didn’t have in the Marine Corps. When he meets Jack Stonner at a party thrown by a neighbor, Dave is immediately attracted to him and launches a seduction, one that starts with sex but soon grows into love.
Then Dave draws the fierce attentions of a local mobster, and Dave’s new employers at a local law firm insist that Dave continue to conduct business with him. Jack and Dave’s new relationship may be derailed, because Franklin Venchenzo is used to taking what he wants by force—and Jack is standing in his way.
Dave has just been honorably discharged from the Marines and has returned to his hometown of Reading, Pennsylvania. He is gay and can finally come out and not worry about ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’. His first job is as a paralegal with a local law firm. To celebrate his new civilian life, his job and his coming out, he goes to a gay bar where his buff, muscular body and gorgeous face generate lots of excitement, multiple free drinks and he ends up in bed with the bartender. Pretty good action for his first night out. The next week he goes to a different bar and beds an off duty cop. Dave isn’t surprised that men hit on him and think he’s gorgeous.
Early in the story, he meets Jack at a party given as a welcome to the neighborhood and he feels a strange warmth toward Jack after just one introduction at a crowded party. After a couple of dates Dave asks Jack to go away for a weekend to Atlantic City, and the two have a nice sex filled get-away.
Dave goes to a new gay club and meets the owner, Franklin Venchenzo who gives him a bottle of champagne, dances with him, and makes some strange comments about future possibilities. During the next week Franklin sends him a huge bunch of flowers, hires his law firm and then tries to get the firm to use Dave as his sole contact point. Eventually Dave finds out that Franklin wants him as his boytoy.
However, Dave and Jack are starting to get serious. They are compatible in and out of bed and each man thinks of the other in a more exclusive, long term manner, so Dave goes to his employer and asks not to be assigned to the club owner’s account or be forced to work with the man. He reveals his sexual orientation and explains how creepy he feels around Franklin. His boss at first agrees but then asks Dave to compromise for the sake of his job. Eventually Dave quits and threatens a law suit for sexual harassment.
Franklin Venchenzo is definitely the villain here. He might have some mob connections, has some big beefy bouncer type goons around him, and won’t take no for answer.
Without giving away all the excitement, there is a kidnapping, some ass whipping, and other action but in the end it all works out for the best, with a surprise ending too that doesn’t involve the gangster.
What I liked.
Dave and Jack are nice, likeable guys who seem similar to your average, everyday gay men. Jack is a little more shy with Dave being more aggressive, which makes sense since he was in the Marines. Jack works at a bank, but has graduated from a culinary school and eventually wants to own a restaurant. Dave has some college credits from his time in the Marines and is now looking to finish his undergraduate work toward a law degree.
There are several sex scenes which I like. There is the excitement of finding someone new, hoping that the feelings are reciprocated, and the inevitable working out of the relationship of loving and living together.
What I didn’t like.
The author doesn’t use pronouns well in the descriptions of sex so there’s a lot of Dave thrusting Dave’s cock into Jack’s ass and stroking Jack’s cock as Dave speeds up – a bit of an over exaggeration, but not much. There’s detailed descriptions of all parts of the sex act. I like it when an author assumes I know what body part fits where, but maybe that’s just me.
Also, there are comments by some minor players that distract from the story as a whole. One is a misconception that Marines are dumb jarheads which made me wrinkle my brow in disbelief. This wasn’t a big part of the story, but it didn’t ring true at all. There was also a statement from Dave’s boss that since he is gay he’s a slut and will sleep with anyone to advance his career.
And then there is the villain throwing the monkey wrench into the mix. It builds slowly, but comes to a climax suddenly with an ending that felt rushed and not realistic.
This is the first book I’ve read from John Simpson and I wished more than once that I could read more of his work to see if these problems are just in this book or appear in each of his books.
The story is told from Dave’s point of view, so we don’t learn much about Jack or his family. Dave is supposed to be from Reading, but nothing is ever mentioned of his family or visiting them. I think that further exploration of both their backgrounds would have helped the story along.
I figured that when I agreed to review another book for Wave, I might get one that was a bit of a struggle to get through. Jack and Dave didn’t flow well for me, but I think it is worth the read. The action speeds up in the middle 1/3 of the book and even though I felt the villain got his too quickly and easily, I’m rating it 3 stars out of 5.