Sparkle ( Passions Book 2) by Jerry Cole

Title: Sparkle                          Word Count: 226 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Sparkle Jones is a rising star, with a cult following, and a closet full of great shoes. Life is good in the limelight. Now, all he needs is somebody to share it with. Despite the glamorous trappings of his life, Sparkle can’t escape his fear of living and dying alone. When the self-proclaimed diva agrees to accompany a friend to an upscale bathhouse, he never expects to run into the one man who will change his whole world and teach him what love is all about. 

Simon Burns learned early in life how to thrive as a good-looking gay man. His well-earned reputation as the ultimate one-night stand and his skills as a lover are legendary. The straight-acting player has lived a double life for decades, keeping his private sexual escapades casual and anonymous. When tragedy hits close to home, he finds himself wondering if it’s all worth it. Is the player finally ready for love? 

When these two worlds collide, sparks fly and neither man can deny their feelings. But the road ahead will not be easy. The bonds they build are put to the test, and they must decide if they are willing to sacrifice the lives they have built for themselves separately for the chance at something permanent together. 

Please Note: This book contains Adult Language & Steamy Adult Activities, it is intended for 18+ Adults Only. Novel, approx. 50,000 words+ in length. HEA (happy ever after ending). Does not end with a “cliffhanger”.

My Review: Sean ‘Sparkle’ Jones is definitely a diva. He is very sassy, likes to be pampered and lives to sparkle. When he meets Simon Burns in a bathhouse, he is certainly not expecting anything to come from it, even though he is impressed by Simon’s business acumen when he explains that he owns the bathhouse and some of the visions he has in store for the future. When they meet by chance for the second time later that day Simon knows he cannot let Sparkle get away from him again. Simon is the kind of guy who only does one night stands, but something about Sparkle intrigues him and leaves him wanting more. Simon gives Sparkle an indecent proposal he can’t resist ; be his exclusively for as long as it feels good and live in the lap of luxury. Sparkle decides to give Simon a try and he thinks he might have met his match.

Things are not smooth sailing between the two, but they have great chemistry in and out of the bedroom. Simon claims that Sparkle help him to forget and he relishes that after a hard day’s work  at his day job in the financial district. It turns out that Simon is actually Sparkle’s  best friend Jerrod’s boss. Sparkle doesn’t want to rock the boat since he knows Simon wants to keep his professional and private lives separate, so he keeps this tidbit secret. It soon becomes clear that Simon doesn’t trust easy, when he thinks that Sparkle might be poisoning him. Sparkle is outraged that Simon has come to all the wrong assumptions and conclusions when he finds his laxative. Sparkle is hurt that Simon doesn’t trust him and immediately thinks the worst, that he might be a gold-digger.

Sparkle leaves with a broken heart, but affirms to follow Jerrod’s advice to remember what makes Sean happy. For the first in a long time Sean takes out his art supplies to try to find the boy he once knew . He got down on his knees and prayed and cried. There were still remnants of Simon in his life and it came in the form of a package. Simon had paid for an expensive kitchen  appliance that Sparkle could use at ‘their’ house. Sparkle calls Jerrod to vent , but doesn’t get the chance when Jerrod is too busy to talk because his boss has taken a few weeks off to deal with a family crisis.

Sparkle sets his pride aside to go see his man and ascertain the nature of the crisis. Simon isn’t quite unwelcoming, but he is at his emotional breaking point. He breaks down and tells Sparkle how bereft he is that he is about to lose his mother.  Sparkle comforts Simon and lets him know that he missed him. He swallows his pride and suggest that they delve into their relationship together and stop pretending. Simon accepts as he is tired of being lonely and Sparkle is the only one that fills that void. Sparkle was able to meet Simon’s mother and get her stamp of approval before she died. He was able to find a little bit more of Sean when he sang a soulful song at Mrs. Burns graveside. It was definitely heartfelt and the perfect balm to soothe his lover’s soul.

This tragedy drew them closer and things heated up for them in the bedroom. Simon slowly starts to embrace being in a relationship with such an effeminate man. When he sees how proud Sparkle is to show him off, he realized that he needs to do the same. When Sparkle begs him to go out to a big shindig for the financial sector Simon agrees. Sparkle reveals his secret about knowing Jerrod and Aaron. Simon is a little bit surprised, but other than that the night is going great. 

That is until Simon ends up in the emergency room. It turns out that he has a perforated ulcer and that’s why he has been feeling sick and in pain. Sparkle is very supportive and the perfect boyfriend, while Simon turns into the worst patient. All of his insecurities about the age gap in their relationship comes to the surface. He sees Sparkle as someone who is far too vibrant to be wasted on an old man like him. Sparkle sees that Simon is a little bit down , but he just thinks its because he is in pain. He tries to over-compensate by being upbeat.

Simon starts pushing Sparkle away and he definitely notices the difference when their sex life plummets into the abyss. A misunderstanding further compromises their situation when Sparkle walks in on what he thinks is Simon receiving a blowjob. Sparkle is very upset , but he remains confused at the look of resignation he saw on his lover’s face. Jerrod is the one that steps in and has a chat with Simon. Simon confesses the truth and Jerrod explains that he has never seen Sparkle so in love with anyone. This gives Simon hope for their future. He shows up at Sparkle’s apartment ready to grovel and win back the affections of his sweet man. He is very open and vulnerable when he approaches Sparkle and tells him the truth. Sparkle wants to give him a hard time,but it is that vulnerability that convinces him to give him another chance. He sees a cinch in Simon’s armour and realize that he is not infallible. Simon   suffers from the same fear of loneliness and not being enough for his partner. Sparkle decides to forgive the big man , but lets him know he has a lot of groveling to do. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

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Men of London 3 : Suit Yourself by Susan Mac Nicol

Title :  Suit Yourself             Word Count : 57,000

Genre : Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb : Scarred both physically and emotionally after a motorcycle accident, twenty-five year old ex fashion model and porn star Oliver Brown is about to be stripped bare by flamboyant twink Leslie Scott—and they’ll rebuild love from the bottom up.

BARING THE BEAST

Twenty-five year old Oliver Brown is addicted. Two years ago, he was at the height of his career as “Nicky Star,” fashion model, porn actor, partier without peer. Then came the accident. Hiding his scars, both emotional and physical, he’s gone into hiding. But fine clothing is some solace. A new suit by Debussy? Better even than a ride on his motorcycle Hulk or all the things he used to give and take on camera.

Enter Leslie Scott, the flamboyant, dark-haired, heel-and-tiny-short-wearing twink sent to deliver Oliver’s newest fix. A firecracker, Leslie is dapper, generous, in touch with his feminine side but all man, and as gorgeous as any garment ever made. He makes Oliver dream of ending his reclusion, of recapturing a future forever denied him. But for that to happen, Leslie would have to strip him to the bone. Only then will they rebuild life from the bottom up.

My Review :  I truly enjoyed this book.  The uber flamboyant Leslie has absolutely no brain to mouth filter. He is too cute for words, such a kindhearted sweetheart.  He definitely makes his interest known when he meets the reclusive, scarred ex-porn star Oliver. Leslie soon realizes that Oliver is a pretty damaged soul who needs to be handled with kid gloves. 

Oliver is definitely attracted to Leslie the first time they meet, but it is hard for him to express that because his scars have left him with a whole bunch of insecurities. Soon , he realizes that Leslie is harmless and accepts Leslie’s offer of friendship. Once they start hanging out as friends, Oliver gets pulled into the light casted by Leslie. He is fun to be around and Oliver quickly falls under Leslie’s spell. 

They finally admit to their attraction  and decide the sexual side of their relationship is worth exploring.  They jump on the sexy train together and boy what a ride it is. They have an amazing connection and this makes for some really hot sex scenes especially with Leslie wearing his thongs and high heels.  Leslie drives Oliver crazy wild. Although he is an ex porn star, their is nobody who can measure up to the  feelings that Leslie inspire in him.

Oliver’s insecurities put forth a dimension of fear that is used against him and rips apart the tenuous hold of their newfound romance. The secondary characters are Leslie’s friends Taylor and Eddie and their significant others Gideon and Draven. They all help Leslie to put back the pieces of his shattered heart when Oliver breaks off their relationship,  despite loving him. Poor Leslie is flabbergasted,  because he thought everything was going great. Little did he know that  there were other forces at work. Oliver’s ex had preyed upon his low self esteem about his looks, making him feel lower than dirt. Oliver gets it in his head that he  is holding his sexy lover back socially and dimming his glow.

When there is a serious accident  close to Leslie’s workplace,  Oliver is going out of his mind with worry. He finds Leslie shell-shocked and helping a friend who is seriously hurt. Oliver tries to patch up their relationship,  but he realizes that he just might be a little too late.

It takes Leslie a few weeks to put the pieces of information together about what really happened when he runs into Oliver’s ex and he brags about tearing Oliver down mentally. Armed with that information and knowing that maybe Oliver hadn’t given up on the relationship because he didn’t want Leslie, led him to find out the truth. The truth leads to them repairing the damage to their unfolding love story and them having wild hot monkey make up sex. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear. 

Favorite Quotes : 1. He shuddered as he climaxed, his loud cry of satisfaction echoing in the bedroom as he shot his load into Leslie’s waiting and greedy mouth, the rush seeming never to end. He was drained, sated, and as Leslie crept up his body to find his lips and kiss him with a hunger that promised even more, Oliver tasted himself, and the residue of his own fluids in Leslie’s mouth. “Lift your legs up, honey,” Leslie murmured. “I need in you so badly.” He did as he was told and gasped when fingers breached him, already sticky with lube—and when had Leslie done that? Probably when he’d been passed out with the force of his orgasm. Oliver pushed his hole up to those questing fingers, desperate to impale himself deeper. ( It was great to see the effeminate Leslie take charge  and be all manly with Oliver.)

Boyfriend For Rent by Jamie Lake

Title: Boyfriend For Rent             Word Count: 91pgs           Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:When Casey’s long term boyfriend suddenly locks him out of the house, he thinks his world has ended. Who would have known after everything they’d been through together Father McDermott, a Catholic priest he has secretly been dating would do something like that to him?

Then he meets Hunter, a slightly older, slow-talking, smart but simple country boy who takes him in and teaches Casey to believe in himself, what true love is, and how to please a real man in bed (or on his knees).

My Review: This book is a very light, comfortable,  short read. After four years of hiding with his closeted pastor boyfriend,  Casey gets a rude awakening when he is kicked out for touching the pastor’s arm in public. The pastor lashes out at Casey and points out all the things he hated about him and puts him down for his effeminate ways. Casey is distraught and devoid of all prospects without any money to call his own and nowhere to go.  He sees an ad in the paper for a room to rent in the country and decides to check it out. When he gets there he is faced with a big mountain of and man. Hunter takes pity on Casey and allows him to stay and help him out on the farm even though he can’t afford the rent. Casey gets to know Hunter and realizes that he is one of the kindest , sweetest person he’s ever met who willingly stands up for others. Hunter is not the most educated and he is a little bit rough around the edges and he is straight. Casey really starts falling for Hunter and Hunter finds himself attracted to Casey. Casey and Hunter balance each other’s insecurities. This was a sweet read , not a lot of drama or a lot of sex. There is only one sex scene and it’s very tame. This one for me was just ok. I’ll give it my ratings of 3- give it a try.