Title: Redesigning Landry Bishop (Stars from Peril #2)
House Line: Dreampsun Desires #82
Author: Kim Fielding
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 21, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 220 pages
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Matic
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Stars from Peril Novel
Love never goes out of style.
Landry Bishop fled his tiny hometown and never looked back. Now his expertise in food, fashion, and décor has earned him all of Hollywood’s glittering perks. But with his husband deceased and his personal assistant retired, Landry has nobody to rely on—and no one to help him indulge his secret cravings.
Casual, plainspoken Jordan Stryker seems a dubious choice of a PA for someone as formal and self-controlled as Landry. Jordan’s questionable fashion sense and limited kitchen skills don’t exactly enhance his résumé. But as Landry soon realizes, Jordan has many attractive qualities too.
With a strong pull toward Jordan, new career opportunities on the horizon, and a persistent tug from family back home, Landry is in a quandary. He can advise others on how to make their lives special, but what should he do about his own?
When someone concludes a date by telling you, “I had a lovely time,” do you worry that it’s faint praise at best? Not always the correct conclusion! Redesigning Landry Bishop is easily classified as a lovely story, but it’s quite strongly recommended to the reader seeking a really enjoyable novel, the main characters of which experience well-structured social and sexual developments, leading to an anticipated HEA.
Landry, of the title, grew up in the back of nowhere, yet, surprisingly, never hesitated to express himself as a young, comfortably-open gay boy. And his hometown never gave him a hard time about it. Still, he set out to fulfill his dreams by escaping to the big city and establishing himself as a well-known arbiter of good taste. Along the way, and with some guidance of his late husband, Landry has created in himself a totally artificial construct – a public persona. Having succeeded, Landry always now is playing at that fabulous image. But, early on in this book, the reader gets to glimpse behind the facade, watching Landry rely on the needed organizational skills of his personal assistant, while periodically sneaking off to indulge in the aspects of an ordinary and non-glamorous life – such as gorging on fast food. Such lapses are literary arrows pointing to Landry’s inner sense of failure. Buried under all the fame, he has enough self-effacement to know he is only ordinary – just a man with the knowledge “to use clothing, posture and hairstyle to his advantage . . . like wrapping an ordinary gift in expensive glittery paper”
To continue functioning as a public figure, Landry needs to replace his former personal assistant. What a pain in the butt, especially as Landry is a man who prefers to wrap himself in solitude. Even when, occasionally, he became sexually frustrated, “he could take care of that solo. Hell, he could write a book on how to take care of it solo.”
Jordan is hired as Landry’s new personal assistant, a job in which Jordan is supposed to anticipate the wants of Landry. Jordan is close to Landry’s mid-30’s age, yet somehow remains incomplete in his own personal development – much like an adorable puppy whose house training hasn’t fully succeeded. In fact, Jordan’s life experiences have been somewhat discombobulated and he hasn’t succeeded at anything he’s thus far.
Somehow, these two incomplete men are drawn to each other, particularly the parts that are buried most deeply in the unspoiled souls. Unlikely much current erotica, when they finally “click’ physically, there is no lightening: the earth doesn’t open up. Author Kim Fielding does it better: their first kiss is only soft and sweet – but has enough erotic contact to awaken Landry’s long-neglected libido with promises for the future. With Jordan, Landry can acknowledge still missing a “bit of average and mass-produced” Middle America.
These are good men. In learning about each other, Landry Bishop realizes that the brand has caused the neglect of Landry Bishop the man. Veneers are tiresome. Landry more rediscovers himself, than redesigning himself. As described in my opening – this is a lovely exercise.
Thankfully, once our heroes finally expose their genuine inner selves to each other, the sex is hot and Author Fielding isn’t stingy. “Jordan was a willing feast and Landry was ravenous.” The appetite of most readers will be well-met.
Lastly, even the cultural abyss of Landry’s hometown is challenged when Landry accepts its basic goodness. Everyone should have a framed sampler that reflects Landry’s ultimate acknowledgment of his good roots: “The best thing you can do for your children – love them for who they are.”