Title: Swap Meet
Author: Lolita Lopez
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Contemporary M/M
Length: Novella (110 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Can a 37 year old French billionaire find love and a happy ever after with a Texas firefighter, even though he has never savoured the forbidden fruit of gay sex before? It seems he can.
French billionaire Max Dantes never expected to spend his Saturday night at a sex-partner swap meet in one of Houston’s swankiest hotels. When smoking-hot firefighter Chris Collins hits on Max, his night takes an even more unexpected turn. Soon he’s pinned to a mattress beneath the sexiest specimen of raw masculinity he’s ever seen…and questioning everything he’s ever believed about himself.
Chris went to the swap meet looking for a fling but finds so much more. Soon Max is treating him to the kind of luxuries only a billionaire can offer. But when Max wants something more than an illicit tryst, Chris bolts. He’s just not ready for that kind of commitment or the potential consequences—and prejudices—of going public.
Or is he? But by the time Chris realizes his mistake, it just might be too late.
Max went to a swap meet with his female CFO who needed an escort to get in, and in the charged atmosphere that was just buzzing with sexual vibes he found something or rather someone totally unexpected – a man, Chris Collins. Max couldn’t take his eyes off the gorgeous younger man who seemed to know his way around these types of fun events and was bent on getting up close and personal. Chris zeroed in on Max immediately as his potential partner for the night by giving him a card with his room number. Poor Max didn’t know if he should accept the invitation which clearly would be a whole new world to him. His sexual affairs had always been with women but they left him cold and he craved the opportunity to try something completely different, however, stepping over the threshhold into Chris’s room could end up as the biggest risk to someone who took risks every day with his and other people’s money; it could be a major disappointment or the best sexual experience of his life. For Max the night was both unbelievable and a secret dream fulfilled. When he entered the hotel room and he had sex with Chris his mind was blown, but what would happen at the end of the night?
For Chris this was a departure from his usual trysts because the men he met at these events never stayed after sex, and the fact that Max not only stayed but shared a shower and breakfast moved him in a way he couldn’t put into words and it terrified him. This was new territory he didn’t know how to navigate but Max was in a similar situation. They parted the next morning but before he left Chris gave Max his telephone number. Three weeks later Max could not get Chris out of his mind, he even had wet dreams at night and could not stop thinking about him during the day, so he called him and arranged for them to spend the weekend together in Houston. After that their affair heated up, and a month later Max flew Chris to the South of France for a week’s vacation filled with lust and sex, but of course this idyllic state of affairs could not continue. Their differences were most evident in their friends and lifestyle yet they seemed to be able to meet each other more than half way, but eventually these differences in lifestyle, income level, expectations as to what each was looking for out of the relationship caused Chris to walk away, even though he was leaving his heart behind. Suddenly it was all over due to just a simple misunderstanding which brought home to Chris how different his world and Max’s were in terms of class differences, and he felt that the best option for him was to say goodbye before his heart was broken. But there was another chapter to be played out when he suffered a life threatening injury on the job.
What I didn’t like
>I thought the prose was over the top in a few instances and here are a couple of examples
Chris trembled with the enormity of the moment. He would forever be this man’s first. No matter what happened between them, Max would always remember this experience. Chris was struck by the need to brand himself on Max, to leave his mark for all eternity.
Never had Max been kissed like this, so completely and passionately. Max doubted there was any return from such an experience. With one magnificent kiss, Chris owned him.
>The Epilogue. I thought it was too much. At the end of most romances the protagonists walk off into the sunset and we assume that they live happily every after, but in Swap Meet the author gave us a few pages of “family togetherness” 8 years later just in case there was any doubt in readers’ minds that our heroes had achieved their dream life. Too, too, sweet! Maybe I’m a cynic.
There were many good points going for the story, including the characters, who were as diverse as they come. Chris was 11 years younger and had never been outside of the US while Max travelled internationally for his business, so it was “sophistication meet homeboy.” Despite their differences Max and Chris seemed well suited and I did enjoy Swap Meet. The characters were engaging and well drawn and the author did a good job on the whole “opposites attract” theme. When Chris was injured on the job Max dropped everything to fly to his bedside and Chris showed how he felt when he recovered. Chris’ sister Mac was another character who was three dimensional – she was intelligent, a Type A personality with a heart, charming and warm, and she did a great job of getting the guys back together when Chris most needed Max.
I bought this book on a whim mostly to find out if the author could make this storyline believable and I had written the review a couple of days ago but didn’t post it because I was unsure of the rating (I still am) :). However, I decided to recommend the book since the writing was mostly well done (except for a few instances of purple prose) and the characters were likable and worked within the context of the story. If you like the cinderfella theme of rich man, poor man, with engaging characters then you might want to pick up Swap Meet.