Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Thriller/Suspense
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
Reviewer: Ulysses, Paranormal Romance Guild
About The Book
Romeo Preminger’s new smoldering romantic thriller has a reveal you will not see coming.
Erik Odegaard is beautiful, successful, and runs with an A-list Hollywood crowd. He’s the aggressive bedmate of twenty-eight-year-old Mason’s dreams. Their whirlwind romance turned into a picture perfect wedding in Maui and a new home for the two of them on the beach in Malibu. Sometimes it feels like everything Mason ever wanted, though Erik’s intense and private personality has drawbacks outside of the bedroom.
Then Erik’s twin brother Lucas shows up at their doorstep needing a place to crash while he rebuilds his life after serving time. Erik calls his brother a walking train wreck, but he’s actually everything Mason hasn’t been getting from Erik. Lucas is kind and adorably playful, and he doesn’t take himself so seriously. There’s an undeniable physical attraction, and when Erik starts giving signals he wouldn’t mind if Mason and Lucas explored that, Mason has got a lot to reevaluate about the kind of life he imagined for himself. But a slow drip of secrets from the past sheds a new light on the Odegaard brothers and their true intentions.
What I was increasingly worried about as I got deeper into this book was how the author was going to make this into a classic m/m happy ending.
Well, he didn’t; and that’s good.
Romeo Preminger created this “guilty pleasures” series to be sexy and exciting—not necessarily in the same way. It’s a sort of Hitchcockian romance/thriller, in which a fairly naïve young (under 30) journalist finds himself in over his head, emotionally and physically.
Mason Early is a regular, all-American boy from a working-class family in Ohio. Having gotten scholarships, succeeded at college, and found a good job and a cadre of gay friends in Nashville, he settles in; only to find himself swept up in a whirlwind named Erik Odegaard. Erik is a Los Angeles lawyer; tall, powerful, and model-handsome. Suddenly, Mason’s teenage fantasies seem to be coming true all at once, and he finds himself in a Malibu beach house, living the dream.
It is only when Erik’s ex-con brother Lucas appears at their door one night that Mason begins to wonder if things are exactly as he thought they were.
Lucas is Erik’s identical twin, a detail Erik failed to mention during their courtship, wedding, and honeymoon. And, of course, things begin to evolve (devolve?) from there.
Preminger pulls the reader along, as Mason sees the distinctive personality differences between these otherwise identical men, and starts to understand the complicated dynamic between them. He also learns secrets that both men are keeping from him, transforming his fairytale romance into something altogether darker.
The author’s device of having Mason be an innocent, dazzled and flattered by the attention of a rich, stereotypically beautiful man, is well played. We want to be frustrated with Mason’s credulity, but (at least for me, even at my age) we can also remember when we were easily swayed by things beyond our previous experience. How do we not get caught up in circumstances when it seems like all our wildest dreams are coming true?
Mason finds himself trapped in a web of power and privilege, everything he thought he knew crumbling around him. Preminger takes us deep into the dark heart of an unhappy family, letting us wonder all the while if Mason will make it out of that web in one piece.
Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.
Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.
By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.
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