Author: Melanie Hansen
Publisher: NineStar Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 01/16/2017
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Gay Romance
Scott Ashworth is a beautiful man and the hottest club host on the Phoenix gay scene. He takes what he wants, does what he wants, and does whom he wants. It’s a good life, but the journey to local popularity and fame wasn’t an easy one. For all that Scott’s looks are a blessing, at the same time they’re a curse—the source of his alcoholic mother’s inexplicable hatred.
Rylan Mahoney dreams of photojournalistic glory. He’s in Phoenix looking for the story of a lifetime, but the project isn’t coming to fruition. Needing rent money, he accepts a gig at Phoenix Pride hawking lewd lollipops and edible condoms…all while wearing gold lamé hot pants and a matching bow tie. When Rylan’s house keys and street clothes go missing after his shift, he’s desperate, until a stranger in a convertible stops to help.
The man is absolute sex on legs, and Rylan is jolted when he recognizes him—his stepbrother Scott Ashworth, long missing but suddenly larger than life. Scott is affluent and successful now, light years away from his hardscrabble days living with Rylan in a double-wide trailer deep in the heart of the Florida Panhandle.
Reunited after six years apart, Scott and Rylan are determined to put their past behind them, but fate may have other ideas and leave their future in jeopardy yet again.
Word count: 90,400
Warning: Underage sexual interaction, mentions of abuse, cliffhanger ending. – As mentioned on publisher’s website.
A LOT of this book is not the story you expect when you read the blurb. To get to the present we have to look at the past and that is exactly what the first half of the book does and it has a distinctly YA feel to it. Life isn’t easy and there is a lot of verbal abuse and bullying to get through before there is even a glimpse of any happiness for Scott.
The only thing a young Scott Ashworth appears to have going for him is his looks. It isn’t about being vain but his pretty face gets him out of trouble a few times and saves him from a beating or two. It also makes him popular with the cool kids at school and with his home life being the way it is he needs every advantage he can get. Scott’s mother is an alcoholic and she hates her son – ironically for the way he looks. We do find out her story and yes it’s sad but her behaviour a lot of the time is inexcusable. When she up and marries suddenly Scott doesn’t only get an unknown man in the house he also gets another brother.
When Rylan’s father marries the town drunk with a reputation (justified) as the town slut he finds himself sharing a room with Scott Ashworth. These two young men are complete opposites but they find a common ground in supporting each other. Where Scott wants to keep who he really is a secret from his mother and fake friends Rylan outs himself almost on the first day of school and stands in solidarity with another pupil who is bullied. Rylan has a gentle caring nature where Scott is brash and uncaring of others feelings – or so it seems.
Scott’s life is painful but when Rylan arrives he finds something he has never had before – an ally. Rylan looks out for him and offers his support but when his mother lashes out yet again it all becomes too much and Scott finds a way to finally escape – although escape is relative given who he leaves with.
The second half of the book catches up with the boys in the present and it starts with them finding each other after six years. Both men have baggage and in his time working as a host in a high end gay bar Scott has perfected the mask he wears. Rylan is probably the only one that can see through it but will he ever get the chance? This book ends with a cliffhanger and I have everything crossed that we don’t have to wait too long. I already have my suspicions but now we must wait and see…
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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