Title: Secretly Dating the Lionman (Cowboys and Angels #2)
Author: Sue Brown
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 27, 2018
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin F
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.0 stars out of 5
Can a man burdened with family drama find his way into the arms of a happy-go-lucky stripper called Lionman?
Cris likes a drink at the Cowboys and Angels bar after his shift at the strip club—until one night when a trashed young guy named Mikey tries to kiss him. He’s not Cris’s type, but Cris is good enough to see the kid home safely. There he meets Mikey’s handsome older brother, Bennett, and there’s an immediate spark between them.
But Bennett might not be in a position to start a relationship, let alone with the carefree Cris. He’s trying desperately to hold his family together, with a younger brother who’s running off the rails and hostile parents who will never accept not just one, but two gay sons.
When Cris is unexpectedly fired and Bennett’s family drama escalates, they turn to each other for support. But can a shoulder to lean on develop into something much closer, something they both deserve?
Book blurb summarizes the plot succinctly without any spoilers so I won’t rehash. It does help to have read Speed Dating the Boss (Cowboys and Angels #1) to establish the setting and background.
I enjoyed this just as much as the first book, maybe even moreso. I thought the characters were engaging, realistic, and varied. Several favorite characters from book one make an appearance, as we are introduced to some new faces. And the characters that annoyed me in book 1 (Ariel) are relegated to background support in book two, which was a great relief.
My main contention with this installment is the speed at which Cris and Bennett go from “I despise the ground you walk on” to “insta-lust”. One paragraph they are growling at each other, the next they are playing tonsil hockey. It was a bit disconcerting, in my humble opinion.)
Once I settled down from that speed bump, I felt Bennett’s indecision about whether he was in or out of the closet was well written and as a reader I could completely relate to Cris’s frustration. When an author can push my emotional buttons like that, it is to be applauded.
Cris’s incredibly sweet moment in the laundromat with the older gentleman made me sniffle. Oh my gosh, just…oh my gosh. See? More emotions!
Basically, I felt engaged in the outcome of the story between Cris and Bennett and that kept the pages turning. Bennett’s love for his family was clearly evident. Mikey straddled the line between being the next Arial (first book reference) and adding just enough antagonism to keep the plot from becoming too sweet. The family issues toward the end were perhaps a teeny bit too pat, but, I can’t talk about that without spoilers. Overall, there was no big misunderstanding, there was no running to the tell-all bestie, it was, for me, my kind of romantic read.
Okay, enough reading my review. Go read the book.