Title: No Tea, No Shade
Author: Clancy Nacht
Publisher: Loose Id.
Characters: Hank, Lindsey
Sub-Genre: Contemporary Romance
When Hank’s father catches him in a not-so-innocent childhood embrace with the neighbor Hank’s older brothers refer to as “Ladyboy Lindsey,” he forbids Hank ever to see his best friend again and sends Lindsey home in tears. Later, despite landing on opposite ends of the social and sexual spectrum in high school, neither can forget the boy who gave him his first kiss. While Hank becomes a sports star and bully, Lindsey throws himself into an elaborate sexual game played from afar for Hank’s benefit. When Hank’s football scholarship takes him away to college, their tenuous bond seems severed for good.
After Lindsey finds his calling as drag diva Miss Anne Thrope, embracing both his male identity and the natural androgyny of his intersex body, he’s finally in control of his world…until the night his first love disrupts Miss Anne’s show after a decade of silence. Hank’s dysfunctional behavior, crazy father, and their bittersweet history together threaten to destroy their fragile new romance before it’s truly begun. Should they let go of the past, or is this unique love one worth saving?
There is something about Clancy Nacht’s books that I really love. I love her interesting and sometimes snarky characters and her stories always keep me reading from start to finish in one setting. Ms. Nacht’s stories are always a fresh, sexy read to me. She’s not afraid to tackle stubborn characters who are far from perfect, but are somehow, despite their flaws, are perfect for each other.
I’m a sucker for the reunion/childhood friends-to-lovers storyline. I’ve read many of these books, but I thought this one had an interesting spin on a well-loved genre.
Right off, I loved Lindsey. I thought he was a strong character and even though he’s been through a lot, he’s still got a zest for life that I really appreciated. Although Lindsey is male he has an extra chromosome in which makes him have more feminine than masculine features. He makes a good living being a popular drag queen at a local bar. Lindsey is smart, funny and has a soft spot for his childhood best friend, Hank, despite that their relationship has not been a good one since junior high.
Even though Hank’s behavior towards Lindsey has been borderline stalker-ish and bully-ish at times, Lindsey can’t help but remember the good times they used to have with one another. So, when Hank shows up at one of Lindsey’s shows and begins to hackle him while he’s on stage, Lindsey feels an array of emotions that range from mortification, anger and a surprising desire to be loved and accepted by Hank.
Hank was a harder sell for me. He’s definitely an unhappy man. Because of an old injury, he cannot play football *which is a game he loved* and is caught up in what he believes is a dead-end job. The only light in Hank’s life has been Lindsey. When Hank’s father forbid him to see Lindsey when they were children, Hank’s world basically fell apart. He not only lost his best friend, but he also lost his first love and frankly, Hank’s life had begun to spin out of control since. So, to keep but his feelings at bay, he began to bully and stalk Lindsey in High School and off and on since.
Even though Hank has allowed his life to almost spiral out of control, what I liked about him was that there is so much more to him than meets the eye. He’s actually tormented by the fact that Lindsey is no longer in his life and although he hasn’t handled the forced separation well, as I got to know him, like Lindsey, I began to feel empathy for him. I also liked how much his character did a lot of self-growth and how it evolved as the story progressed. In the end, I wanted him and Lindsey to work things out and stand together at a strong couple, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The story showed how these two men really loved each other…oh it isn’t an easy ride, that’s for sure! There were times I wanted Lindsey to push Hank away and to get on with his life. Hank’s behavior could be appalling, but he ended up redeeming himself and I ended up really liking him and Lindsey together. In the endd, I liked how they were able to work through their differences and become a couple who became a force to be reckoned with.
If you are looking for a well-written, unique romance in which the heroes have to work for their happy ending, No Tea, No Shade is definitely the book for you. I know fans of this author will love this book as much as I did and I can’t wait until her next release.
Reviewed By: Gabbi