Deep in the heart of the Florida Panhandle, Scott Ashworth’s bleak life stretches out before him with not much hope for the future. His hardscrabble days are brightened by the arrival of a new stepbrother, Rylan Mahoney, who quickly becomes the friend Scott so desperately needs. Their relationship has just started to deepen into more, when during the course of one terrible night, what Scott overhears sends him fleeing from his home, never to return.
Flash forward six years, and Scott is now 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 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. Reunited after six years apart, Scott and Rylan are determined to put their past behind them, but fate intervenes and leaves their future in jeopardy once again
Release Date: January 16th
I received this ARC from Ninestar Press in return for an honest review
To be honest, I waffled about what rating I would give this book as I read it. What tipped it from a 3.75 was that I could not put it down, particularly when we go forward six years and Scott and Rylan have a chance encounter and meet again. By the time the book finished, I literally yelled No! in a crowded public space. I could not believe it ended there! Of course, it might have helped had I realized this was part of a series about the same characters – I’ve become used to series that are about different sets of characters in the same universe so to speak. Despite the agony of impending wait, I am so glad these characters and this story are getting more than one book. There would be no way to do justice to these men, their history, their futures, and their complicated selves in one book.
The part I had the hardest time with was the first half when Scott is seventeen and Rylan has just come to live with them. I am not sure why, because I recognize that there is absolute truth to the situation Scott lives in: many children live in similarly abusive and toxic homes. Sometimes in this book though, it was being like hit by a 2×4 of tropes. That they felt like tropes at times (and less organic) affected the way I viewed Scott’s home life.
What really kept me going during the first half was Rylan. I do not have enough words for this amazing boy; his kindness and patience. His bravery, his capacity for forgiveness. What a gem of a character, and written so well! The initial chemistry between him and Scott was completely believable, and set the tone so well for their interactions as adults. The whole second half of the book I sat in breathless anticipation. Hansen gave us just enough to satisfy but also maintained a chemistry and desire that will keep readers wanting to read the next book, searching for that ultimate connection.
I love when authors can reveal the character traits of one character through another’s observation by showing rather than telling. Scott’s self perception is very skewed and formed by a history of survival through any means. Rylan’s POV shows us so much about Scott’s tenderness and sweetness, his giving nature, and in many cases, his willingness to do what is right by others even though it may come at a cost.
Also, I was excited to see that this series includes a trans character but that his introduction didn’t feel inorganic, or like he was being thrown in for diversity. I cannot wait to get more of G in the future books.
Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Bisexual Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Nine Star Press Review Tag: Celebrity / Famous Person Tag: coming of age Tag: Friends to Lovers Tag: Part of a series Melanie Hansen Pieces of Me Spectrum Nights series
Jude began her writing career at the age of eight when she immortalized her summer vacation with ten entries in a row that read “pool+tv”.
As a sucker for happy endings and well written emotional arcs and characters, Jude is an unapologetic bookaholic. She finds bookstores and libraries unbearably sexy and, to her husband’s dismay, is attempting to create her own in their living room.
She is a writer of many things that hope to find their way out of the sanctuary of her hard drive, and many that have found a home in a fanfiction community.