Adrian DeSoto spent most of his time in high school being bullied and beaten up, simply because he was perceived as gay. Always slight, effeminate, he was the perfect victim for guys like Martin Cavanaugh, one of the high school jocks. When it all got too much, Adrian was faced with two options, one more devastating than the other. Eleventh grade saw a new Adrian, one who hid his fears and pain behind a mask in a bid to survive.
Eleven years later, and Adrienne is one of the top drag acts in Orlando. She’s fierce, funny, and exuberant. A face from the past gives her a shock, and after that there’s only one thing on her mind – revenge.
Marty Cavanaugh has a particular kink. He loves it when a drag queen goes down on him. But that’s as far as it goes. He won’t admit to himself what’s under that tight fitting dress. And then he meets Adrienne and his whole world goes into a tailspin…
Warning – Contains men in drag, honey! You have been warned.
As a fan of both the author and narrator, I jumped at the chance to review this book for the Audio Review Tour. As usual with Joel Leslie, the narration felt spot on. The softer tones used for Adrian were great vs. the harder voice of Marty.
The story itself was really good. I was thrown off a bit at the beginning when the pov was from a main character in the previous book and not one of the ones in this book. But it was good to see a glimpse of Adrian from a neutral perspective as he navigated the bullying years of high school. If I had heard it from Adrian himself, it might have been harder to forgive Marty for his actions, or rather, inaction during that time.
The main part of the story starts when the previous couples from the first two books double date at a drag club where they meet Adrian/Adrienne almost a decade after he left town. He is fabulous and fierce and there are barely any traces of the boy he’d been before. He’s kind of new at the club so he is slowly making friends with the other drag queens. After a few weeks a frequent customer comes in that the others all know and warn Adrienne about. All the warnings in the world can’t stop the shock at seeing his old high school crush and bully.
Marty is living a lonely life. His only excitement is going to the drag club, but he still hides who he is and what he really wants. His bullying of Adrian in high school was more watching his friends pick on the smaller guy, not taking any real action himself. He had his own share of problems at home. In an ideal world, he would have stood up for Adrian but we all know peer pressure is a real thing, and parental pressure too. It’s easy to be annoyed with Marty but especially after learning what he was struggling with it’s hard to hate him.
Adrian isn’t feeling the love right away though and through Adrienne he enacts a little bit of revenge. I don’t feel angry that he did it so much as some of the other people in Adrian’s life do at witnessing it. I admit to being a little petty at times. But I’m glad for those characters for making Adrian (and me) see what he did was wrong.
Both men have a few regrets about their actions in the past and the present. And when they get the courage to talk to each other, they manage to work through hard feelings to admit an attraction still exists for them. The story doesn’t really focus on their relationship after as much as it did the obstacles both needed to get past. Family still presents a few problems for Marty but it only feels like the issues were touched on and not completely resolved. That’s probably down to it being a novella vs a full length novel. A few loose ends didn’t feel tied up, but I really came to love Adrian and Marty. They were sweet and totally hot together. There are great side characters also, from the previous MCs to some of Marty’s co workers. I definitely recommend the story and the audio for sure. It was a great author/narrator combo.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
June 26 – Open Skye Book Reviews, The Geekery Book Review
June 28 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Bonkers About Books, RAM PA Group, The Power Of Three Readers
June 30 – My Fiction Nook
July 3 – Making It Happen
July 5 – We Three Queens, Alpha Book Club, Boy Meets Boy Reviews, Love To Read Romance Books, MM Good Book Reviews, Rainbow Gold Reviews
Born and raised in the north-west of England, K.C. WELLS always loved writing. Words were important. Full stop. However, when childhood gave way to adulthood, the writing ceased, as life got in the way. K.C. discovered erotic fiction in 2009, when the purchase of a ménage storyline led to the startling discovery that reading about men in love was damn hot. In 2012, arriving at a really low point in life led to the desperate need to do something creative. An even bigger discovery waited in the wings—writing about men in love was even hotter….
K.C. now writes full-time and is loving every minute of her new career. The laptop still has no idea of what hit it… it only knows that it wants a rest, please. And it now has to get used to the idea that where K.C goes, it goes.
And as for those men in love that she writes about? The list of stories just waiting to be written is getting longer… and longer….
K.C. loves to hear from readers.
Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth. A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds. Among the m/m series he records are NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart, Haley Walsh’s Skyler Foxe Mysteries, Sloane Kennedy’s Protectors, Adam Carpenter’s Jimmy McSwain Files, Perie Woolford’s Sam Dorsey’s Gay Popcorn, and Smith and LeNoir’s Blackballed trilogy. His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.
He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre. He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world. When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs. He records projects outside of the m/m genre under the name Joel Froomkin. Visit www.joelleslienarration.com for more and friend him on facebook at Joel Leslie Froomkin.
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