By Kristine Cayne
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
A straight firefighter discovers an irresistible attraction for his best friend’s younger brother–one that could lead to complete disaster.
A perpetual bachelor, firefighter lieutenant Hollywood Wright hops from one woman’s bed to another, searching for something he never finds. Has his father’s emotional and physical abuse somehow damaged him? Or is something else going on, something that involves the intense and uncomfortable feelings aroused by his best friend’s little brother?
Sexy-as-sin paramedic Chad Caldwell has always been out and proud. Sure, some gay-bashers are harassing him, but he’s determined to be true to himself. There’s just one problem: he’s hung up on Hollywood, his older brother’s straight best friend. When Hollywood’s apartment is damaged by fire, Chad reluctantly takes him in. Will Chad’s heart survive such close proximity to a man who’s both unattainable and everything Chad wants?
To their mutual surprise, Hollywood finds Chad and his world fascinating–and much hotter than anything he’s ever experienced. But with a rabidly homophobic father, is Hollywood doomed to die in the closet? Chad won’t accept anything less than a public relationship, no matter how amazing the sex is. Can Hollywood ever accept the man he has always kept buried deep inside?
I have to say that I liked Chad and Hollywood, and the 11-year age difference was actually quite refreshing. Chad, though younger, appeared more mature, but he also enjoyed a supportive family environment, unlike Hollywood, whose dad wasn’t father-of-the-year material, and was a homophobic alcoholic on top of it; his mother died when Hollywood was very young. Hollywood just happens to be Chad’s older brother Jamie’s best friend, and Chad has just so happened to also have had a crush on Hollywood since he was in high school. The two end up becoming roommates when Hollywood accidently sets his kitchen on fire and needs a place to stay while his apartment is fixed. Jamie could offer him a place to stay, but he and his pregnant wife are into BDSM and that’s not common knowledge. So even though Chad is hesitant about having his crush within such close quarters, the two become roommates and things take off from there.
Chad and Hollywood gradually get to know one another as friends, and the flavor to their conversations/dialogue as their relationship evolved was both realistic and fun (absolutely loved the one about giving up condoms, and planning their future), and the witty banter between the family/friends was endearing. The emotional drama plaguing Hollywood as he battled against his feelings along the way was realistic – do I or don’t I, it must be caused by something else, how can this be happening – from denial to acceptance to fear and panic, it was all there. Not to mention the fear he held of his father, resorting back to a young boy when Hollywood’s dad roughly brought up buried memories as well as physically abused him because he was homophobic.
There were several sub-plots, and the author wasn’t afraid to touch upon some pretty serious issues, including homophobia and what can result when someone is willing to go as far as committing murder. The story promises a few unexpected twists and turns, and author Kristine Cayne does a solid job of tying together all the loose ends.
In places, the pace seemed to slow down to a crawl, but I never became bored.
The scene when they decided to give up condoms and committed themselves to one another – classic!
“Still straddling his hips, Chad straightened. “Giving up condoms is a big deal. A commitment. Are you ready for that, Nate?”
“I’m about to let you put your giant c*ck in my *ss. I’d say I’m committed.” Hollywood squeezed his stomach muscles and sat up so he was at eye level with Chad. “I want to be with you all the time. And not just in bed.” When Chad continued his dubious stare, Hollywood drew Chad into the circle of his arms and kissed him tenderly, trying to express everything he was feeling. “This is more than sex. I love you, and I can’t imagine a future without you in it. I want to be your boyfriend. Hell, someday, I hope to be your husband and even f*cking have babies with you.”
Chad laughed and choked on a sob. His eyes glistened as he leaned his forehead on Hollywood’s. “We’ll need help with the babies part, but, h*ll yeah, I want that too.”
“So no condoms?”
Review originally posted on Amazon and Goodreads on July 3, 2016.