A guest review by Leslie
In a nutshell: A good start but a wrong turn in the middle sunk this one for me.
Travis Dixon is a young, up-and-comer in Hollywood. He has his own show and a gorgeous girlfriend, so he thinks his life is complete. Then Corey Grant, lead singer of the rock band “Wild Horses” storms into his life and turns everything upside down. Soon, Travis finds himself seduced into a world of wildly erotic gay sex and submission that at once frightens him and entices him.
I heard about this book from a couple of reviews on Goodreads, so I decided to give it a go. It started off good—good enough that I bought the book after reading the sample on my Kindle. It was even okay beyond the sample but then it took a wrong turn and never recovered. At about the 60% point I wondered why I was reading; the last 20% was totally a slog and if I hadn’t decided to write a review, I probably would have not finished the book.
So…for the story. It opens at Damian’s party where we are introduced to Corey, Josh, and Travis (as well as a bunch of secondary characters). Travis acts in TV shows, Corey makes records, and Josh is Corey’s BFF—with benefits (just so we are clear on this. Corey and Josh weren’t, which is one of the first major plot holes.).
There are a bunch of coincidences which work in Corey’s favor, so he is able to invite Travis to spend some time at his rented beach house—ostensibly to teach Travis to surf, but also for Corey to seduce Travis, which he does. There is quite a bit of sex in the book and it starts early on, so fair warning.
Corey and Travis have a gang of blow jobs, but those don’t count as sex or intimacy—when they finally get to the point butt fucking (Travis on the bottom) there is “morning after guilt” and Travis disappears, leaving Josh to soothe Corey’s wounded feelings. Eventually, Travis realizes he really is gay and comes back to Corey with lots of happiness, declarations of love, and some slightly-out-of-place submissive behaviors. Corey welcomes him with open arms.
This is about the point where the story goes off the rails.
If the author had stuck with Corey and Travis, he might have done okay. Instead, we suddenly have Josh, Julian, Tyler, Carmen (Travis’s “gorgeous girlfriend”) and various other people popping up…sort of like of like a novel game of “whack-a-mole.” Keeping track of everyone (and who is having sex with whom) gets very tiresome and not particularly interesting.
The story is written in the first person POV that alternates among chapters: Corey, Travis, and then after several chapters, Josh gets a voice. Josh, unfortunately, spends a lot of time doing things unrelated to Corey and Travis, so his chapters become a diversion to the main plot of the story. But why am I quibbling? After about the 50% point there wasn’t much plot, anyway. So Josh’s chapters are sort of irrelevant.
One thing I will remember forever: this book had one of the ickiest lines I have ever read in a m/m romance—and it occurred during a sex scene, no less! To whit:
“I felt bad instantly, since the reason for his ‘emo look’ was evidently to hide a series of blackheads dotting his forehead. I let the bangs fall back down but he was now uncomfortable and embarrassed.”
Uncomfortable and embarrassed? I should say so! Talking about pimples and zits is never welcomed but seriously, taking a reader totally out of the moment? The rest of this particular sex scene squicked for me.
The book has lots of (most?) killer tropes so I will enumerate them all:
- Gay for you
- Lite BDSM (very lite, but present)
- Multiple first person points-of-view
If any of those cause you to stop or not read a book, you’ve been warned.
The second half of the book also went downhill in terms of writing and editing. There were lots of typos, misspelled words, and missing punctuation. At one point a character named “Cody” popped up. It took me a few re-reads to realize that Cody and Corey were one and the same. I guess he was named Cody during an early draft of the novel.
All in all, not much to recommend in this one. If the author had stayed focused on Corey and Travis, and maybe Josh, I think it would have been much better. Instead, he introduced a Josh subplot (that was not resolved at the end of the book) that took up too many pages and didn’t have anything to do with the rest of the story and made this slip down to a weak 3 star rating.
My opinion, of course. Fans of the author may disagree.
NB: I purchased this book and did not receive a review copy from Wave.
NNB: It’s good to be back after my “sabbatical.” I hope to get back to a regular schedule of writing reviews.