Author: James Cox
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 03/08/2016
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance, Romance
Stealing his dangling jewels. Literally. This rich guy has five million dollar gems dangling from his pubic piercing.
Lucas Harper the third, made a name for himself by winning the lottery, a ticket that no one knows he stole. He bought his own private island, goes through men like underwear and wastes money on lavish things. Or so everyone thinks.
Phoenix is the sexy thief that not only sleeps with Lucas, but then drugs him and steals those little beauties. He didn’t expect to feel bad about it or Lucas coming after him personally. All he has to do is make it off the island and back home so he can use these overpriced rocks to get his mama into rehab.
Things don’t go quite as planned when Lucas catches up and they’re both trapped by a vicious storm…
This has quite an opening, I’ll have you know. Lucas, you lucky duck, you. Or… is he? I was ready to find out the answer and how he would handle such a life change. Before that could happen, though, things get heavy. Phoenix is dealing with a lot in his young life of 20 years, to say the least. I was riveted by the intensity.
Lucas is also dealing with some things, mostly internal struggles, rather than external like those burdening Phoenix. If one were to do a comparison of these two on paper, most would not give them even a small chance of one, meeting and, two, actually hitting it off. This is a big component of this story and one Cox handles so well, building these characters with traits that us regular folk recognize as regular life. In other words, imperfections, self-doubt, things we wish no one would ever find out, along with the wish that guilt over those things wasn’t a part of the equation, and many more. Thank goodness for the simple things. They often bridge the divide, creating a connection, or simply allowing an opportunity to temporarily set aside the difficult challenges of life.
Both Lucas and Phoenix initially think that’s what this might be, a temporary reprieve. But we know better, and eventually they do, too.
I’m an admitted fan of Cox’s ability to create physical place that makes me feel I could walk right into the scene myself. He excels again here. The various abodes of each of main characters, the beach, the water, the docks, everything described in ways that both allow me to picture it all so easily and connect it all to his characters. This in no small way contributes to the success of the sex scenes, as well.
I encountered a number of editing issues. In my experience, this seems to be the norm for Evernight. This is the main reason for four stars on this. A story this creative, with such well thought out characters, heavy subject matter included, with bits of humor here and there, and two guys who make me want to know more about them, they all deserve better treatment than this.
This one packs an emotional punch, too. More than one. Right along with that is this is a sweet story, too. Cox does well in balancing the tough subjects, their effects on these characters, and making sure the story remains honest by them by way of those sweet moments and the emotional surprises both Lucas and Phoenix experience.
I so enjoyed reading this story and spending time with these characters. When you’re looking for something different in terms of the building blocks but still with a recognizable story arc and hopeful ending, I recommend this. 🙂
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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