Title: Between the Moon and the Deep Blue Sea (Southern Cross #4)
Author: K. C. Kendricks
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: White Deer Enterprises
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Length: Novella- 26k
Rating: 4 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: A change of lifestyle and growing maturity provides hedonist toy boy with chance for a real relationship.
Blurb: Chad Collier’s had enough of providing stud service to rich men. It’s true he’s had more fun than any one man deserves, but now it’s time to make a plan for the rest of his life. At the urging of a mentor, he takes a leap of faith and breaks with his old ways. Yet a job interview lands him smack in the path of Darcy Paulson, the sort of rich man Chad vowed to avoid.
Darcy Paulson came of age as the prodigal son in a wealthy manufacturing dynasty. Every man he’s ever met has been after his money, until Chad Collier shows up on his doorstep. Darcy finds Chad prickly, standoffish, and utterly irresistible. Smitten by Chad’s dark good looks and determination to stand on his own two feet, Darcy is happy to give him an opportunity. It doesn’t take long for them to figure out that some private, no-strings fun is what they both need.
An unexpected event brings them face-to-face with the truth. The magic that happens between the moon and the deep blue sea is something a man can’t own, and it can be fully experienced only in the arms of a lover…
Southern Cross Series
The backbone of this novella is formed from Chad’s decision to change his previous hedonistic, materialistic and shallow life to something better. Being extremely attractive, when he hit Boston at just about eighteen, “…all top and well hung…” the opportunities offered him involved the bedrooms of rich older men. Chad had spent his twenties enjoying being a kept pretty boy toy, with his thirtieth birthday in sight he has decided to change, “I’d had all fun and no code in my life…”
Chad’s self-doubt and internal soul searching didn’t feel like whining, but the genuine self-awakening conscience of an honest man, however it was a little hard to reconcile two such different life stages in the one man. KC Kendricks helps pave the way with details about his relationship with Sydney, his last affair. Chad had insisted on a part-time job to provide his own pocket money.
This brings me to a difficulty I had with this well-written and enjoyable story. It was good work, but I couldn’t help feeling somehow it could have been even better. If this novella was a finely-detailed drawn charcoal portrait, at some point it seemed as if a hand had carelessly brushed over it and just smudged the outline. Mostly for every little flaw I found in the story, I did manage to find a resolution, but the problem was that I had to rummage around and find one in the first place.
This is perhaps best illustrated by the relationship between the novella’s title and this explanatory quote, ”And every so often, between the moon and the deep blue sea, there spins a magic to ease the darkest fears of a man’s heart.” I never felt this kind of language was backed up by the emotional quality of the story. While the story is not without depth, this poetic nuance in the writing is not repeated enough to give cohesion (unlike in Kendrick’s “Beneath Dark Stars” where both the paranormal element and the relationship was very well served by such language and imagery).
Another minor niggle—Darcy, the rich older man Chad meets just when he has given them up, is described as having a light British accent. Unfortunately his British-ness didn’t quite ring true with me. He uses some sexual slang which just sounded clumsy and also refers to silverware rather than cutlery. Okay—working class Brit here and it could be I just haven’t been mixing in the right circles, but…
What I really did like about this novella was the location—Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. The old house on stilts that needs renovating and is to be Chad’s summer employment sounds delightful. His gay neighbour’s spontaneous sex life offers opportunities for heated voyeurism but also show Chad a warm, different sense of community. “I’d grown, and matured, and I needed a different place in the families men like us made for each other.” Chad is a strong and honest character, his back story and family—especially Aunties Andrew and George—added to the depth of intimacy that is created. Primarily I found Darcy a little less appealing, but by the end of the novella Chad had convinced me of his attraction. I thought the loosely changing relationship between them worked, the easy sexual heat and then the growing warmth was a realistic resolution. This won’t be my favourite work by KC Kendrick but it was still mostly a pleasure.