Dressed to Thrill

Title: Dressed to Thrill
Author: Kimberly Gardner
Cover Artist: Marci Gass
Buy Link Amazon:
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novella (97 pages)
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Aunt Lynn

One Sentence Review: An okay read that left me feeling a bit “meh.”


Dumped. Right before spring break. What rotten timing! But since the trip to Key West is already paid for, Oliver decides that he’ll go anyway. Who knows? Maybe he’ll meet a hot guy to make him forget his woes. Little does he expect to be drawn to both a gorgeous local and a sultry drag queen that turn out to be one and the same.

Drew knows he has what it takes to be a star. If he has to wear a skirt and stilettos to make it happen, so be it. He looks good as a woman. But then he meets Oliver and has his doubts. He can’t tell this terrific new guy what he does with his evenings. Not when they’re having such a great time and not when Oliver will be gone in a week. Given the circumstances, where’s the harm in a little white lie?

But plans and hearts have a way of changing. When both men’s secrets come to light, their hidden desires become their greatest thrills.


I really liked this author’s Too Soon for Love (reviewed here) so I was eager to pick up another book by her. And as I also happen to like stories involving drag queens, so it seemed like a winner to me. Dressed to Thrill was…okay, but not what I had expected based on the experience I had before.

Oliver — or Ollie — is in Key West for a spring break working vacation that he and his cheating bastard of an ex were supposed to take together. It’s recommended that he head to the hottest drag club in town, so he finds himself a bit out of his element both nursing his sorrows in tropical drinks and very attracted to one of the acts, Faith. He’s a gay young man, why would he be attracted to a “woman?” The next day he meets Drew, a local who runs a bike rental shop. After sharing a searing kiss, they arrange to meet when Drew is done with his second job in a bar. Little does he know that Drew and Faith are the same person. As they spend more time together, each holds back information from the other and when it is all brought forward, they have to deal with the consequences. Can they get past the issues and move on?

At just under 100 pages, Dressed to Thrill is a quick, easy and uncomplicated read — which can be a good thing, especially when you’re in the mood for a light story to pass the time — but when I finished I said to myself, “Well, that was kinda cute-ish, but I know the minute I put it down, it will be forgotten.” There is nothing terribly wrong with this book; the writing was fine, the plot satisfactory, and the main characters likeable enough, but it left me feeling…“meh.” It just didn’t do much for me.

I kept thinking that this would have been better as a longer story, which would have perhaps allowed for more in-depth character development and a deeper exploration of our heroes’ emotions. I felt those two things were limited here and I wanted more. I liked the innocence that Ollie projects (both men are young — early to mid twenties — so in many ways they both have an innocence about them), but I really wanted to know more about why he has waited this long to go all the way. I wanted to know why Drew went into drag, how Faith was born and how Drew keeps the two personalities apart. Knowing these things would have invested me more in the characters and story.

Additionally, the conflicts we’re given are the Big Misunderstanding and the Secret. I guess in some ways the length of the book was a bonus, preventing long-ass, drawn-out separation and angst — which is great — but I thought each were resolved too quickly, also a result of the limitations of the novella.


If you are into drag queen stories, this might be right up your alley, but for me, it will ultimately be forgettable.


  • Thank you for your review and unfortunately (for the book) I have to completely agree with you.

    I thought it was incomprehensible that Drew was so freaked out about telling Ollie about his cross-dressing job since he knew perfectly well how much Ollie liked his performance. The Big Gay Misunderstanding is a plot device that always gets on my nerves and here it felt like it was created purely in order to create some drama in an otherwise sweet but boring story.

    This one was even more of a disappointment since I loved both novellas Kimberly Gardner published in the anthologies Bravo! Brava! and Encore! Encore! which also have a cross-dressing theme.

  • Like you, I really, really loved Too Soon For Love and I was sure all other books by this author would be equally awesome. :doh: Buuut, despite this being a short read, I couldn’t even finish it. To me, Big Coincidences are just as bad plot devices as Big Misunderstandings. The fact that Ollie was equally hot for Drew as he was for Faith made me think that he just didn’t know what he wanted, so neither deserved him (which is dumb, I know, since they were the same person, but still!).

    Also, I was really intrigued by Faith/Drew and also felt like there wasn’t enough back story for me to become invested in him. I understand the author had limited space to work with, but this is why novellas frustrate me and I usually try to stick with novels.


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