Title: Fierce & Fabulous (Sassy Boyz, #1)
Author: Elizabeth Varlet
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: June 27, 2016
Page Length: 246 pages
Reviewed by: Renée
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
The first book in a scorching new male/male series by Elizabeth Varlet. Behind the Sassy Boyz’s seductive smiles and sinful dance moves are desires that will leave readers breathless.
Fitch Donovan never thought a lap dance could change his life, but from the moment the gorgeous dancer’s lips touch his, his world comes screeching to a halt. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t shake the desire that rocks him to his core. He’s longed for this passion all his life—he just never dreamed he’d find it with another man.
Sharing a soul-shaking kiss with a straight boy is the kind of drama Ansel Becke just doesn’t need. Spotlights aren’t made for two and Ansel prefers to keep things on a one-night-only basis. So when Fitch shows up asking for an encore, Ansel knows he should send his gorgeous ass packing.
Though Ansel tries to pretend that what’s between him and Fitch is far from fabulous, there’s something about the big, burly contractor that makes Ansel’s world sparkle in a way no amount of glitter ever could. And Fitch will do whatever it takes to convince Ansel that when the thing you need most in the world falls right into your lap, you’d be a fool to let it go.
This book started fairly strong but wound up a big mess of contrived bullshit. The premise of the story was great. Ansel is one of the four Sassy Boyz, a dancing group who strips at a gay club, emphasis on the dancing. They all have long hair, wear sparkly clothes, and heels.
Fitch goes to this club with his sister, Meg, for her 21st birthday. He’s always identified as straight and can’t understand why he’s having such a strong attraction to Ansel when he’s never been attracted to a man before. There’s a lot of talk about this aspect of the book. Is it possible for someone to really be “gay for” only one person? I’m not sure I buy it, but I’m definitely not the expert, so I just shrugged and rolled with it.
Fitch has grown up with his sister coming out as a lesbian, so there’s not as much drama as there could’ve been around his new discovery. He has some internal struggles that seem fairly normal to me. And once he decides he has to pursue this incredible pull that Ansel has on him, he’s ALL in. I loved this about him. He’s steadfast, he’s loyal, he’s literally swoon-worthy.
Now, Ansel……..Sigh. Ansel is the definition of hot mess. Shitty childhood – check. But Ansel lets that shitty childhood define everything about him NOW. And this is not ok with me. He makes horrible decisions. He constantly lets his friends down. He constantly treats himself like crap. All because he learned throughout his childhood that he’s worthless.
I am completely sympathetic to Ansel for the way he grew up. I’d gladly be in a room alone with his parents. But he’s an adult now. And adults know better. Ansel doesn’t get to blame his childhood for his actions anymore. He makes his own decisions. Screwing his friends over, drinking to oblivion regularly, doing drugs……all because of a shitty childhood……nope, nuh uh, not gonna fly with me. So I had a hard time understanding Fitch’s continued attraction to him past the initial lust, to be quite honest. All he did, from the beginning, was let Fitch down. Who would want to deal with that shit???
Then we got to the part of the book that was an absolute deal breaker for me. It’s kinda spoilery, so read at your own risk. I have to include it in my review, though, because it weighed heavily on my final rating.
Ansel’s mother calls him and spouts the same shit she spouted to him as a child. So what does Ansel do? He buys a bottle of tequila, picks up a stranger, and brings him home – all while skipping a performance with the Sassy Boyz (knowingly putting one of the other boy’s parole at risk). And he’d agreed to be exclusive with Fitch at this point. Actual sex doesn’t wind up happening, not that Ansel stopped anything.
Then Fitch (calm thoughts, Renée, calm thoughts) blames himself!
And he’d walked away from all that wonderful energy without looking back.
He’d been a coward. A stupid, blind, jealous coward.
No, he didn’t deserve better. But Ansel did.
He chases after Ansel. Not the other way around! My GR friends know how I feel about Doormat Behavior in my stories.
I was done after that. Cheating has to be written really well in m/m to be ok with me. There has to be a larger purpose in the grand scheme of things. And there most definitely has to be groveling with extreme remorse. None of that was exhibited by Ansel toward Fitch. Add in Fitch’s doormat behavior, and I was D-O-N-E.
After that, I felt like the storyline started taking a dive too, in order to keep up the momentum toward the climax. Contrived drama started. A redhead approaches Fitch in the middle of a crowded deli and says all kinds of lewd things to him that I can’t imagine anyone actually saying in that kind of setting. And then people “happen” to find Ansel at his friend’s house where he’s crashing on the couch. How would they even know to look for him there? So the author could have some more drama at the end of her book.
There was a beautiful HFN to their story, not that I believe for a second that these two are solid. Not after all that. I wanted to see Ansel fight for Fitch in the middle of all that – just fucking once! Fitch deserved that.
I’m settling on 2.5 stars. I have to say that I truly enjoyed the writing style of this new-to-me author. I would read something by her in the future to see if her stories get a little more in line with my personal tastes. It’s the writing and the writing alone that saved this book for me.