Summary Review: A very ambitious novel that touches on dating a bisexual man, gay parenting, coming out later in life, dealing with people’s attitudes towards gays and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” among other issues.
DJ Faulkner had just about stopped believing in love, until he rescued sexy Win at a local gay bar. When he took Win home for what he hoped would be the best sex of his life, he didn’t expect to discover that his soon-to-be-lover is divorced, with a grown daughter. The sex, passion, and desire is everything DJ ever wanted, but juggling his attraction to Win with caring for his own newly orphaned brother isn’t easy. If only Win would tell his daughter, Emily, the truth.
Five years after divorcing, Winston Morgan was ready to find someone to love, and he discovered who he’s looking for in hunky DJ. His reality had been a heterosexual world that didn’t know of his bisexual past, but he dreamed of sleeping and waking in a male lover’s arms. The desire and passion Win feels for DJ is what he’d always wanted, so he makes it his mission to convince this lover they could make it as a couple. Now all he had to do was find the courage to tell his daughter the truth, so he could get on with his life.
Tell No Lies opens on an unusual note, with 40-ish Dr. Win Morgan arguing with his 20 something daughter Emily on his cell, over her meddling in his love life. Apparently, Emily had been fixing Win up on dates with numerous available women, not knowing that he wanted someone of a different sex and was on his way to Denver’s hottest gay bar.
Meanwhile, inside that same gay bar is DJ Faulkner, a tall and muscular, but very closeted life-long military man looking to end his dry spell with the first hot body that comes along. But that changes as DJ realizes that none of the sweet young boys trying to get his attention are what he wants, and that he is looking for something more substantial. That’s when he notices a classy, very hot, but obviously uncomfortable looking man sitting across the bar.
The story explores Win’s and DJ’s relationship and the many problems that life throws at them, most notably Win’s daughter and ex-wife. The struggles that they go through are true to what many gay men experience, but they sure had a lot to deal with. There are a few scenes dealing with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” that perhaps felt a touch preachy, but are very relevant. This is an understandably difficult distinction, that even more seasoned writers struggle with. I did grow to like both Win and DJ, and man did they heat up the sheets.. and a kitchen chair, Win’s office desk, the back room of the photo shop… You get the picture – lots of hot sex! But of course the road to true love never runs smoothly.
What I did like:
I liked that the characters were somewhat older than the usual 20-30 somethings that we typically see in M/M books. This gave a different dynamic to the story and added many complications from the people in their lives as their relationship was revealed.
The good natured banter between DJ and his cousin Ellis was a lot of fun to read. They grew up together and had a close relationship. Ellis doesn’t let DJ get away with anything and is very accepting, encouraging DJ to go for what he wants.
I also liked DJ’s teenage brother Ian who DJ is now responsible for raising after his parents’ death. Ian is a typical teen, but also really loves DJ and sticks by him no matter what.
What I didn’t like:
Some of the prose in the sex scenes was a bit over the top for me, using works like “twitching rosette”, “spasming hole” and “rear passage”. But that’s my quirk and the sex was still hot.
There were a few scenes with what felt like excessive description that neither advanced the plot, nor character development, and unfortunately slowed the story’s flow, like this one:
“While they waited for their dinner to arrive, the two brothers worked in an easy, companionable silence, removing groceries from the bags and putting the food in its proper place. When they finished, D.J. gathered the plastic bags and shoved them in a holder for later reuse. While Ian emptied the dishwasher and put away the clean dishes, D.J. rinsed the dirty ones sitting in the sink and reloaded the dishwasher for the next wash cycle. That finished, he scrubbed the sink and wiped down the surrounding countertop.”
I also had a small issue with DJ’s character. He was presented as a loyal military man, a loving and caring brother, and a considerate guy who rescues Win in the first scene. But then on several occasions, he would have a major meltdown over a misunderstanding with Win that seemed way overblown and out of character. His behavior wasn’t really explained, and left me confused as to who DJ really was. Maybe just a hot head? But he was pretty cool with everyone else. Perhaps it was just his inexperience with relationships.
Overall, although I had some issues with DJ’s angry outbursts and some unnecessary descriptions (telling, not showing), this was a decent love story, with a lot of hot sex and I see real potential in Ms. Worth’s writing.