Top critical review
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3.5*. This review covers all three books, which do need to be read in order. May contain spoilers, as I cover events in all 3...
on 21 February 2014
...books, which make up one single tale.
This author was unknown to me til around 90 mins ago, when I read the freebie that is book 1, which ended on a cliffhanger, forcing me to find book 2, which ended on an incredibly painful moment, forcing me to find and read book 3, where the characters begin their HEA.
So, what's great about the series: the non-typical tale in that the stripper/dancers are all gay men, whose love for each other is more than that of brothers, but less than that of a lover and his beloved; there's a true sense of family between them. The guys all care for each other, even though that caring sometimes crosses boundaries that felt a little unclear. There is a lot of loyalty, caring and love in this tale, showing that you can find family as well as being born into one.
What's not that great and so loses the tale a *: there's no character development. We're told Abel is an angel, and almost everyone repeats this, but we find out nothing about what makes him so angelic to everyone. Yes, he has the body of a sexy twink and dances like a (wet) dream, and he has incredible love and loyalty for his sister, and in fact, she's his every driving force, but it still doesn't explain why he's an angel. We get told Devlin is Dr Grant, but this doesn't become apparent immediately, and makes for some confusing reading (I was wondering whether Cole was Devlin Cole or whether Gabe was Devlin Gabe, but eventually the author clarified things). We get told that Devlin has fallen irrevocably in love with Abel, and it is apparent that there's an attraction between them, but it felt more like initial lust, as they did not know each other and didn't get to know each other - though they found out about the connection between them - even really by the end of the tale. We found out nothing about Abel, other than his past, his motivation and his selflessness and love for his sister. We found out nothing about Devlin other than that he had a brother called Craig. Shockingly and stupidly, there is no safe sex whatsoever practiced in this tale, and, yes, I went back and checked....
OK, so Abel, Gabe and Cole are lap dancers and pole dancers, and yes, they offer private dances that supposedly stop around 80%. Of what I'm not sure, as that's all we get. It stops at 80%. But, Gabe and Cole are f-buds only, yet don't use any protection. They have what is a very healing menage with Abel and none of them uses condoms, and yes, there's 3-way penetrative sex. Abel doesn't use a condom with Devlin, and he, supposed doctor that he is, should not have been thinking only with his little head. Abel also goes on to be saved by someone he has unprotected sex with, and this guy is a sophisticated man of the world, so author, please tell me, why no-one had safe sex? And, why lube only appeared in one scene as a stimulant, not as an aide to MM sex?
I couldn't make out if the author was male or female, as though the sex scenes felt right, the lack of condoms and lube, especially between people who weren't monogamous, and who were strippers/lap dancers +, didn't ring true. Perhaps if this tale was set in the 70s, before HIV and AIDS became prevalent, yes, but not in this contemp tale, and especially not as Abel's sister was found to be HIV positive, and possibly on the verge of developing AIDS...
The author did create a tale of an unloved, abused boy who found love, lost/rejected said love and then found it again, so yes, I liked that. But, there was no explanation for this love as there was no character development. We were just told that they saw each other, fell in love with each other immediately, without knowing anything about each other - and that was that. I'd have liked to have seen the romance between the side characters develop over the tales, or for the author to have revealed this in a short freebie read. I liked the fact that the sugar daddy/saviour had loved and lost, and wondered who his lost love might be, which was revealed at the very end, but I felt a bit disappointed that there's not even a suggestion that these guys would find their way back to each other. I think at the very least they need a short side tale of their own, which hopefully would show Abel and Devlin living their HEA, with Abel's sister winning her battle against HIV.
Overall, this had great potential and simply needs an editor to go over it, fill it out a little and polish it up. I will go back and re-read the tale a some point, and hope that once the author has seen how many people have read the series, an updated version of each instalment gets uploaded (which then updates directly on a purchaser's Kindle) to turn this into a 5* read.