Title: (Bad in Baltimore #1)
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Cover Artist: Angela Waters
Publisher: Genre: Contemporary M/M, Romantic Comedy
Length: Novel/No word count/ 154 PDF pages
Rating: 5+ stars out of 5
Review Summary: Two men who came full circle realised that love is the ultimate prize.
“I need a boyfriend.”
Hearing those words from the mouth of his very straight ex-friend is enough to make columnist and editor Nate Gray choke on his Corona. It’s been thirteen years since Kellan Brooks’s father crushed Nate’s family on his climb to wealth and power. Even longer since he entrusted Kellan with the confession that he might be gay—only to have his best friend out and humiliate him to their entire high school. The last thing Nate expects is Kellan begging for his help.
Breaking off his engagement to a senator’s daughter was the last straw for Kellan’s CEO father. Frustrated at being cut off, his father’s stinging
words—that he wishes Kellan had never been born—still ringing in his ears, Kellan turns to Nate. In a move worthy of a corporate raider, Kellan plans the ultimate revenge. Come out as the boyfriend of the man his homophobic father betrayed.
Convincing Nate to play along isn’t easy. It’s even harder to figure out why the lie feels so close to the truth.
They had been best friends for 7 years until Kellan betrayed and dumped Nate from his life in high school. Now 15 years later he needed Nate’s help to get back at his father, CEO of one of the most homophobic corporations in the USA, who had kicked him out after he broke up with his third fiancée. Not only did Kellan want Nate’s help to screw his father by pretending to be gay and proud, but his most pressing need was for a place to stay because he had no money and no job.
When he showed up at J.J’s bar where he was told he would find Nate, the welcome was definitely chilly and it was obvious that he had his work cut out. It didn’t look like Nate was going to play along after he heard Kellan’s story, until he got his pound of flesh. Nate took him home after he realized he was desperate, but Kellan wasn’t out of the woods as Nate made it clear that he was going to play hardball. In the game of gay chicken Nate called his bluff and he knew he would lose unless he did what Nate demanded. How hard could it be to suck his friend’s cock? He got on his knees and looked at Nate’s crotch as if waiting for it to attack, all the while listening to Nate’s taunts. Payback was a bitch. Strangely, Kellan didn’t feel victimized afterward. But why was he, a straight man, aroused about sucking off another man?
Nate, who had always wanted Kellan, was ashamed of himself at how far he had pushed him to get his revenge for what had happened a decade and a half ago, so he agreed to let him stay at the apartment for a month or two, but things didn’t go as either planned.
Although this is another best friends turned lovers story it’s very different because the protagonists had to get to know each other all over again on a very basic level after being estranged for 15 years. Now they were almost strangers. In his teen years Nate had had a dream of the white picket fence and Kellan, now his feelings were adult and Nate’s hunger for this man wouldn’t abate. As for Kellan, something that started out as a way to get back at his father soon turned into an intimate journey of love for the one man who pushed all his buttons.
I have always enjoyed K.A. Mitchell’s books because of the characterizations, and she didn’t disappoint in Bad Company. The emotions are open and raw and the characters are realistically drawn. From being blood brothers as children, their troubled past, and the emotional journey which took Kellan and Nate to a new place was all played out on the page. In the short space of time that they lived together each protagonist changed so much he was almost unrecognizable. Nate, who grew up poor and an outcast for most of his life, didn’t believe in love, especially that someone like Kellan who was so hot and whose life was so privileged would sincerely want him in his life forever. He had managed to keep his emotions under control since his friendship with Kellan came apart because his betrayal cut deep, and to open himself again to hurt was a place he never wanted to go, but this new Kellan got under his skin and made him want to believe. He had to figure out if Kellan was only bi curious and using him for a trial run or if he was sincere.
Kellan had always been a free wheeling, take life as it comes person who lived his life to the full, but he never experienced the depths or highs. He accepted his father’s control over all aspects of his life until he realized that with that control came a price he was no longer prepared to pay. He had to learn a hard lesson and grew as a result of living in the real world where he actually had to make compromises and readjust his perceptions. A plan that started out as revenge to teach his father a lesson turned into a love that he never saw coming, and his biggest challenge was to convince Nate that he was sincere about loving him and was in the relationship for the long haul. He found out what real emotions were and that love was a double edged sword that could cut you when you weren’t paying attention. I loved the fact that the sex didn’t come until late in the book, which gave the protagonists time to get to know each other as adults, and at times the air between them was so heated it was like an inferno when they were together in Nate’s apartment, but it was also sweet.
All of the supporting characters as well as the protagonists were three dimensional and I thought that Eli, Nate’s friend who was flighty but a real charmer, was a great character and he did his part to get the lovers together. Maybe his story is next.
I loved this book which had some of the best lines I have read in a while and I won’t give you any quotes because that would spoil your enjoyment. Trust me on this, the funny lines are original and will crack you up. 😆
Bad Company is an enjoyable story with a lot of emotion. The growth of the characters impressed me as they evolved incredibly from the time I initially met them. Nate the perfectionist changed from the tough editor and advice columnist who couldn’t open himself to emotion, to a man who fell in love deeply and would do whatever it took to keep Kellan in his life. Kellan on the other hand was no longer the playboy who used others for his own pleasure as he realized that screwing with someone’s emotions was not acceptable, and he became a man you would enjoy having as a friend. The intelligent dialogue and prose and revealing situations in the book, including Kellan’s father’s bigoted view of life, all contributed to changing Kellan and Nate.
This book had all the elements that are part of the K.A. Mitchell ‘package’ which has garnered her so many fans. I almost forgot, there is something for you cat lovers in the person of Nate’s cat Quan Yin, who ruled the household.