Title: Bastards and Pretty Boys
Author: K.Z. Snow
Publisher: Liquid Silver Books
Characters: Charlie Larkin, Hosea Booker
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Erotic Romance
Charles Larkin is finally happy with his life…for the most part. He’s happy with his new summer getaway—a rustic cottage he just bought on a small Wisconsin lake. He’s happy that his ex-wife, whom he divorced because he couldn’t play straight anymore, has become one of his best friends. He’s happy he can breathe again.
It’s only Kenneth, Charlie’s boyfriend of five months, who makes this new life less than completely satisfying. Charlie feels they’ve never been quite right for each other, and Kenneth cements that conviction when he makes a disturbing confession. Charlie knows their time together is quickly coming to an end. Problem is, Kenneth doesn’t know it. And he tends to be rather possessive.
Planning to spend a quiet, relaxing two or three weeks at Cloud Lake—fixing up his place, reading, even attempting to overcome his fear of water—Charlie is less than thrilled to discover his next-door neighbor is one hell of a looker. He doesn’t need that kind of distraction, especially since his issues with Kenneth haven’t yet been resolved. But there’s a ninety percent chance the neighbor is straight, has a wife or girlfriend, and could be leaving the next day. Charlie clings to those probabilities.
Only, Booker isn’t going anywhere, and he isn’t that easily ignored. And neither is his unexpected, none-too-savory baggage. And neither, for that matter, is Charlie’s. But when two people care enough about each other, they figure out how to help carry each other’s baggage…or cast it aside.
For a novella with first person perspective, this had surprising depth. We get the story from Charlie’s point of view, but we learn a lot about Booker too. Charlie has a possessive dick for a boyfriend and Booker has a powerful stalker, but when Charlie and Booker come together, they are stronger for it. Both are wonderfully realistic, flawed characters, with Charlie’s fear of water and Booker’s jailhouse past. Together they are better, stronger men.
The plot is thick with suspense and introspections, and the dialogue, so casual, yet meaningful is effortless to follow. In fact, I liked this story quite a bit, though the ending was a bit abrupt and Charlie and Booker a bit too understanding and forgiving. The two bad guys are really bad, while our heroes are sweet and good, and the sex is hot. The pace flows easily, not getting bogged down with too many irrelevancies.
So, all in all, a good suspenseful erotic romance novella of two men with secrets to reveal and issues to deal with—and falling in love for the first time. Recommended.
Reviewed By: Susan