Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: November 20, 2017
Received From: NetGalley
Up-and-coming film producer Kyle Wakefield lives in the closet rather than risk the wrath of his influential, conservative parents. The only time he took a chance on love was a tempestuous teenage affair with Nathan Carnes. But when Nathan proved himself hell-bent on self-destruction and wound up in prison, Kyle closed off his heart.
Almost a decade later, Kyle’s production partner hires Nathan’s stunt company, Second Chances, to work on a big-budget action film in London. Nate is floored by his explosive reunion with Kyle. But he sure as hell isn’t surprised that Kyle still treats their mutual needs—and Nate—like dirty little secrets.
As the London holiday season casts its dazzling spell, the two men find themselves falling in love again. Kyle is one breathless kiss away from declaring himself to Nate—and to the world—but they cannot ignore secrets borne of youthful mistakes. To protect their bright new future, Kyle and Nathan will need all their passion and trust . . . and a little Christmas magic.
Publisher’s note: This is a lightly edited reprint of a previously published novel.
TROPES: second chance romance, enemies to lovers, class disparity, first love, hurt/comfort, workplace romance, out for you
TAGS: adult, contemporary, erotica, romance, queer romance, queer characters
WARNINGS: slurs, gendered slurs, ableism, sexual content, misogyny, cissexism / transmisia, physical injury, hospitalization
I’m so irritated because this could’ve been a good book! It had the basic groundwork needed to make an enjoyable novel (second chance romance, “I never stopped loving you,” reunited after nearly ten years apart), but it was executed in unsuccessful ways. There were some cute moments between the two main characters, but the rest was just a train wreck.
The first sex scene was where it started looking bad. First of all, it happens halfway through chapter two. Which. Okay, whatever. But it makes no sense, even as a angry/hate sex scene. Literally, the first chapter and first half of the second is both main characters just going on and on and on about how much they hate each other now after the other “betrayed” them nine years ago, and suddenly…sex? I mean, in no way do I think that you need to like a person to want to have sex with them, but this placing within the novel made zero sense. It’s a full length novel, not a novella, so there was plenty of time to build up to the first sex scene, especially as this is the first time they’re seeing each other in nearly ten years, so this was just really abrupt. They both harbor a lot of anger and resentment for most of the novel, so a angry/hate sex scene could’ve been placed elsewhere. (And do not even get me started on using LIP BALM as lube. Especially with no prep. GOODBYE.)
Speaking of their hatred and resentment, I don’t think it was handled well at all. Considering the circumstances, it was certainly understandable, but they are the most wishy-washy characters. One second Kyle is saying he doesn’t want anything to do with Nate outside of work and going on about how he could never forgive him, and in the next, he’s pursuing Nate, searching him out, and pining after the tender moments that come with a relationship. The same pretty much happens with Nate, too. He repeatedly says he doesn’t want to be back in the closet with Kyle and won’t be Kyle’s dirty little secret, but he still continues to initiate and partake in sexual encounters with Kyle for the whole novel. Stand your ground, dudes!
Also, the HEA was as abrupt as the first sex scene. Kyle and Nate, almost literally, spend the whole novel fucking. They never talk until the night before Kyle comes out in front of the whole movie set and tells Nate he loves him. HOW DO YOU KNOW? YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HIM ANYMORE, KYLE. Nine years is a long time! People change a lot! They spend basically no time actually getting to know each other again, and then suddenly Kyle is upending his whole life to come out for Nate? Nah. (And that’s literally what it is. He comes out because of Nate. Nate even says at one point “I made you come out.” Sorry but no. Coming out is a deeply personal and terrifying thing, and I hate the “out for you” trope with a fiery passion.)
I’m just. Ugh.
Also, I have never hated the word “prick” more than I do after reading this novel, and I hope I never have to see it ever again.
Katie Porter is the co-writing team of Lorelie Brown and Carrie Lofty, friends and critique partners of six years. Both are multi-published in several romance genres. Carrie has an MA in history, while Lorelie is a US Army veteran.
Generally a high-strung masochist, Carrie loves weight training but she has no fear of gross things like dissecting formaldehyde sharks. Her two girls are not appreciative.
Lorelie, a laid-back sadist, would rather grin maniacally when Carrie works out. Her three boys love how she screams like a little girl around spiders.
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