Dana reviews Between Loathing and Love by Andrew Grey (Published by Dreamspinner Press, October 12, 2015, 184 pages)
Tell Us About Book Conventions. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
I have been to a myriad of conventions over the past seven years. Most of them have been an amazing experience. However in that time I have been to hotels that had no idea what they were in for. Last year the hotel at a convention gave the organizers grief for the posters in the halls. Not that there were posters in the halls, but that they had shirtless men on them. What did they expect from a group of romance writers? Rainbows and unicorns? Maybe My Little Pony?
I have been to conventions in Europe that did an amazing job their first year out. I did a tiny convention a few years ago. There couldn’t have been more than 50 attendees, but I still have friends form that convention that I see all the time and completely adore. I’ve been to marge conventions and felt completely lost in the crowd. But I do have some advice for romance convention goers, each convention is what you make of it. Don’t complain, just have fun and if it’s a little dull, then make your own party and become the life of it. Everyone will remember you and that’s the name of the game.
Title: The Gift
Author: Andrew Grey
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Oct 12 2015
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Theatrical agent Payton Gowan meets with former classmate—and prospective client—Beckett Huntington with every intention of brushing him off. Beckett not only made high school a living hell for Payton, but he was also responsible for dashing Payton’s dreams of becoming a Broadway star.
Aspiring actor Beckett Huntington arrives in New York City on a wing and a prayer, struggling to land his first gig. He knows scoring Payton Gowan as an agent would be a great way to get his foot in the door. But with their history, getting the chance is going to be a tough sell.
Against Payton’s better judgment, he agrees to give Beckett a chance, only to discover—to his amazement—that Beckett actually does have talent.
Payton signs him but can’t trust him—until Payton’s best friend, Val, is attacked. When Beckett is there for him, Payton begins to see another side to his former bully. Amidst attempts by a jealous agent out to sabotage Beckett’s career and tear apart their blossoming love, Payton and Beckett must learn to let go of the past if they have any chance at playing out a future together.
“Claude would like to see you in his office,” Millie said as she passed with an armload of files. She was Claude’s overworked assistant.
I stood and relieved her of the files, carrying them to her desk. Then I knocked on Claude’s door before going inside. The one thing that always surprised me about Claude’s office was that it wasn’t much bigger than mine, just much more richly appointed, with two sculptures on the credenza behind him and lighted abstract paintings on the walls.
“Close the door,” he said without looking up. I did as he asked. “Since things didn’t go your way yesterday, I’ve decided to give you an opportunity.” He lifted a small stack of files from his desk, and I stepped forward to take them. “These are the clients of Jane’s that we will be transitioning to you. I have already asked Millie to notify them, and you can arrange to meet with each of them over the next few days to get acquainted.” Claude caught my gaze. “Now these,” he said as he handed me another small stack, “are the few people from Jane’s dog pile that I believe are worth pursuing further. Those are working actors.” He pointed to the first stack. “These are people with potential. The remainders are in the Seussian stack that Millie will send letters to. Like I said, these are your challenge, especially the one on top. He has real potential. Jane saw him in”—Claude wiggled his fingers in the air—“something, and said he was good. Reminded her of Schwarzenegger. If it’s too much, you can ask Garren for help.”
That guaranteed I would do whatever it took, because he knew I would never again give Garren another chance at anything that was mine.
“Thank you.” I looked at the folders I held in my hands. I wasn’t sure what else to say. Claude had already turned his attention back to his desk, so I left the office, closing the door behind me. I passed Millie’s desk—she was already sifting through the pile of files so she could send out the “we’re sorry” letters. The woman never stopped working.
I hurried to my office and closed the door. I looked over the call list for my new clients. I’d have to call each one and set up appointments. Then I picked up the file for the guy Claude had shown an interest in. I opened it and a head shot and then a name screamed out at me: Beckett Huntington. “Son of a bitch!” I groaned, grateful the door was closed.
I was tempted to throw the file across the room. I mean, fucking hell, it seemed I couldn’t get away from him, even though I’d moved halfway across the country. I was not going to take on that asshole as a client. This was my life and my chance to make something of myself, and Beckett Huntington was not going to be a part of it. Hell, maybe I could pass the file on to Garren. Of course that would also mean Claude would know, and I’d be in a world of hurt. He had given me the file, after all. I smiled and set the file aside. Maybe Mr. Huntington could just sit in my file drawer and rot. The bastard had made my life hell for months. I sure as shit wasn’t going to do a damn thing to help him.
My phone rang and I answered it.
“You were gone early,” Val chirped.
“And you got in very late. So much for that ‘I’m not a slut’ crap.”
Val snorted. “We stayed out, talked, lost track of time, and I got back just after midnight, thank you very much.” There was a definite dreamy quality to Val’s voice. “He was really nice.”
“Are you going to see him again?” I asked, playing naïve.
“We have a date for a week from Saturday. This weekend he’s competing, and I have to work second shift at the IT help desk during the week, but he already asked me out and said he would call me during the week just to hear my voice.” I suspected Val was dancing around his apartment like a ballerina at that very moment. I could almost see him. “What did you get up to?”
“Nothing much. I had to be in the office early. I got some new clients from Claude this morning, along with some prospects. And guess who’s at the top of the prospect list? Think gorilla.”
“No way!” His voice was so loud I had to move the phone from my ear. “That thing can act… well, something other than dumb?” He cackled, and I laughed along with him. “What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. I was so angry when I saw the file I nearly tore it to shreds.” Hell, I still wanted to. I reached for it, fighting the impulse to turn the fucking thing into confetti. “The last thing I want is to be anywhere near that piece of shit.” I kept my voice down, but I wanted to scream. I waited for Val to say something, but he was quiet. “What?”
“Don’t cut off your face to spite your nose, or however that saying goes. Do you think he recognized you?”
“I doubt it. There was almost nothing behind his eyes at all. I think his brains might have liquefied at some point. When I saw the file, I swear I had smoke coming out of my ears.”
“Okay. Calm down and think. You have a job to do, and you’re a good guy. Unlike me. I could throw him in the trash easy, but you’d always wonder if you did something wrong. So meet with him. If he has real talent, then make yourself a boatload of money off him. If he doesn’t, get his hopes up and then dash them so you can watch him fold like a house of cards.” Val laughed like the Grinch. “Either way, you win.”
“Remind me never to get on your bad side.” I chuckled, feeling a little better. “I need to go.”
When you read an Andrew Grey book, you are always in for a sweet romance. What I think is so cool, is how every story features such completely different characters from the one before. I’m not sure there is a profession he hasn’t written about yet. Between Loathing and Love is about a stage actor and a entertainment agent. It was a neat little peak into what kind of things an agent must do in order to get their clients out on auditions and get the notice of directors.
Payton and Beckett have a enemies to lovers thing going, but their conflicts are from years before they meet up at the beginning of the book. In high school, Payton was overweight and an easy target for popular Beckett to pick on. Years later, Payton was slimmer and a successful agent but the bullying has stayed with him, and it stings doubly when Beckett shows up as a potential client with the talent that Payton has always wanted to have.
Payton is professional though and takes on Beckett and reveals their past. Beckett is not the same either and is attracted to Payton. In every romance story there is usually a conflict that the characters must overcome in order to find their happy ending. In this book, the conflict is Payton. His need for professionalism and lingering hurts that make him feel like he’ll never be quite good enough. I really enjoyed Beckett’s change of character from what he had been in the past and his attempts to make Payton see himself as he is now and not his old self.
It was really a great story about loving yourself in order to really be able to love and trust the special person in your life when you meet them. In addition to the great characters of Payton and Beckett, I really liked Payton’s best friend, Valentine. He was always there to give Payton sage advice and he had a little story going on alongside of Payton and Beckett’s. He was a great secondary character. I definitely recommend this book.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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