Title: Keeping Sweets (Newport Boys #1)
Author: Cate Ashwood
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon
Length: 206 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: Seeing a sweet and innocent young man falling in love with a jaded porn star was both nerve wracking and exciting.
Days away from high school graduation, with hardly a penny to his name, Evan Lowry needs to earn money for college. When he comes across an ad for modeling, he thinks his luck has changed—until he learns he’s interviewing for an adult film and will be expected to have sex. On camera. With other men.
For gay porn star Brandon Court, the shine has worn off of regular shoots. He and his producer, Les, decide to try something new: a reality-show porno set at a beach house. When he meets wide-eyed and naïve Evan for the first time, Brandon isn’t sure if he wants the kid to get lost or get naked. Naked wins.
On set, Brandon takes Evan under his wing, and over the next month, they are thrown together in every intimate way conceivable—except emotionally. Both Brandon and Evan are terrified of trying for anything deeper, and insecurities and doubts wear on their hopes, but the chemistry between them won’t let them slow things down.
Newport Boys Series
I can’t tell you the last time I was this emotionally involved in a character. Normally I can connect a little bit, or maybe feel some sympathy for them, but Evan brought up some feelings I didn’t even know I had. The book begins with getting to know Evan. He is 18 and his graduation is rapidly approaching. For most kids this would be a happy time, but it’s the exact opposite for Evan. He has been living with his stepfather since his mother passed away. The stepfather grudgingly promised to take care of Evan until he graduated. Evan can live at the house, as long as he pays his rent, up until the moment he graduates. Evan knew his situation and has prepared himself as best he could, by spending all of high school studying and working his ass off. He knew a college scholarship was his ticket to a better life, and he got one. When his graduation ceremony is over, he jumps on the first bus out of town.
Evan doesn’t exactly have a plan for what he’ll do once he gets to his destination. He needs to make some money and find a place to live as soon as possible. An ad for modeling looks promising at first, but upon closer inspection, he sees it is actually for adult modeling. Doing porn isn’t his first choice, but the money is too good to pass up.
Every protective instinct I have was drawn to Evan. The anxiety I felt reading about this sweet, naive kid, who is still a freaking virgin, heading into that situation was enough to tear me up. The worst part was knowing that he was going to meet Brandon. Brandon has been in the business since he was 17. He learned very early on in his career to separate his emotions from his work. I got that Brandon had his own difficult past, but I was more than willing to castrate him if he didn’t protect Evan. I’m sure Brandon was terrified of me. 🙂
On the surface, Keeping Sweets is a good romance with a couple hot sex scenes. If that were it alone, it would be a 3 star book. Keeping Sweets was a lot more than that for me. There were some serious bonus points for how much I was drawn to Evan and the anguish his situation brought about. The chemistry between Brandon and Evan was great, but Brandon still scared me. I knew he wanted to do right by Evan, but I had my doubts he could do that when he was so confused himself. It was an emotionally rough read at times, but it ultimately left me content and completely satisfied. I really enjoyed it.