Hi there! Today I”m sharing my review for an anthology of contemporary M/M romance novellas. LIMELIGHT is a collection that will satisfy all lovers of M/M romance. It’s got friends-to-lover stories, reconnection, and coming out, and it’s got heat…
(This is an adult read.)
About the book:
Some dream of fame and fortune, but it isn’t always everything one might think it will be. It doesn’t matter what entertainment industry you’re in, you have to sacrifice, and when it comes to love, well that brings on a million other issues.
Inside you’ll find three stories about men in the limelight. They worked hard to gain the fame they’ve found, but in doing so, they all have longed for one thing — Love. Some things might come easy for these men, but when it comes to sharing their hearts, things are never simple and either are the men they desire.
Jon is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. The fame and fortune he has is like nothing he ever imagined, but he left behind the only man he’d ever loved to achieve it.
Wyatt thought he’d put the past behind him and moved on, focusing on his career as he hides the truth about himself from those who are closest to him. Why should he risk his family and friends with being honest when his only reason left town six years ago?
When fate throws the two men together again, they are forced to confront things from the past that they both don’t want to admit, but the passion and desire for each other is stronger than ever, proving that no matter how much time has gone by, the heart knows what it wants.
This is a very tender reconnection story. Jon and Wyatt were childhood friends who became closeted teen lovers. They were each others first, and only, love. Six years have passed since Wyatt told Jon he couldn’t move to LA with him, and they haven’t spoken until Jon returns to their hometown after his father suffers a heart attack.
Wyatt is one of the nurses on the CCU, and they reconnect. When Jon is crushed by the grief, it is Wyatt who he turns to, but Jon is a celebrity, known for being “out” and Wyatt still remain in the closet–his parents are extremely homophobic.
Wyatt and Jon spend time together and it’s as if no time passed for them, their passion is still as hot, but their hearts are tentative. Jon wants a full partnership, and Wyatt to be with him always, anywhere. Wyatt takes some time to convince…
For a novella it packs a serious emotional punch.
Dante Moretti has a big problem. His acting career has hit the skids and he’s desperate to land the lead role in the next Hollywood blockbuster. It’s his last chance to get back on the superstar track.
But, his personal life is a train wreck. No sane director will work with him any longer. Solution? Bribe his best friend and former co-star, Chris Parker to play the role of his long-term boyfriend. Showing the world he’s in a committed relationship will hopefully convince casting agents he’s reformed, stable and trustworthy.
Even if it’s a lie.
What Dante doesn’t count on is the public’s reaction to the announcement that Chris and he are a couple…and his own feelings for Chris spiraling out of control.
Under the merciless cameras of the paparazzi, Dante is forced to choose–his leading man status or the man he thought was just his best friend. Who ever thought that pretending to be in love would be this hard?
Dante and Chris have been friends for years. It was Chris, a child actor now grown, who took Dante under his wing years ago and taught him the ins-and-outs of TV acting. Now Chris is going through a rough patch, and staying at Dante’s home.
Dante’s job prospects aren’t great. He’s on the callback list for a big part, but he’s a Hollywood pariah due to his off-screen relationship issues. If he were in a stable committed relationship, even a gay one, the studio would be willing to take a chance, so Dante enlists Chris to be his boyfriend. He had an initial crush on Chris way back when, but the Friends Zone is where Chris resides in Dante’s heart…or does he.
Chris is (mostly) heterosexual–what happened in college stays in college!–but he’s not really keen on Dante’s plan. Sure, it may help Dante, but at the expense of his own career? Still, he agrees to go along.
Both men struggle with this arrangement, Chris because he’s never been with a man in public, and Dante, because he’s not sure where the fantasy ends–behind closed doors he and Chris do continue their “relationship.”
It seems as if they are really poised to become that power couple their fans had clamored for for years, but Dante’s not good at relationships, and he needs a few kicks in the pants to get it right this time. Not only for his career, but also for his friend and lover.
It’s a fun little story, with a lot of heat and heart, combined. I loved Chris, and how he never took Dante’s crap. Dante was a delightfully oblivious, in the good way. I’m glad this friends-to-lovers story worked out.
Center Stage by Sara York
Country music is Slade Pepper’s first love and he can’t walk away from the stage, but being gay and in country music doesn’t allow him to have a personal life. Slade takes the month off to decompress and search his soul. He meets Corbin Branford and can’t say no to a passion filled night.
One night turns into more, but Corbin has no idea who Slade is, and Slade tries to keep it that way…until a fan blows his cover. Corbin is angry enough to leave, but Slade Pepper won’t give up without a fight.
Slade is a well-known country singer with a big secret. He’s gay. Being in the spotlight has been rough on him, physically and emotionally, and the lack of any romantic involvement for the past two years has left his creativity well run dry. At the end of his tour, he takes four weeks on vacation to a quiet South Carolina island home of a friend.
While staying there he meets Corbin, owner of a local pub, and the attraction is immediate. Still, he’s nervous about revealing himself–he’s afraid that Corbin will only see his fame, or won’t want to be in his spotlight.
As it turns out, Corbin is very attracted to “Matt” the super helpful customer who volunteered to help man the grill when his regular cook called in sick. Corbin and “Matt” work well together! but the bedroom menu is far hotter and spicier! with a dash of sweetness than either man predicted.
Slade knows he needs to come clean, and makes a plan to, but his identity is revealed before he has a chance. Corbin is upset, for different reasons than Slade had expected–he’s been betrayed by men in his past. Through some very candid conversation, they decide to continue, but this all may end in a few weeks, anyway.
It’s not like Slade’s ready to risk his career in country music to come out publicly…right?
This is a really sweet coming out story. Slade and Corbin may fall for each other a tad to quickly, but both men had been without a partner for years leading up to their meeting. I liked the level of support on both sides, and the touch of bad blood from some of Slade’s band mates added to the realism.
About The Authors
Emma Marie Leya, aka E.M Leya lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her daughter, two dogs, a cat, and two birds. When she isn’t writing, she is an avid swimmer with a passion for the mountains. She’s often found playing outdoors.
Writing is Sara York’s life. The stories fight to get out, often leaving her working on four or five books at once. She can’t help but write. Along with her writing addiction she has a coffee addiction. Some nights, the only reason she stops writing and goes to sleep is for the fresh brewed coffee in the morning. Sara enjoys writing twisted tales of passion, anger, and love with a good healthy dose of lust thrown in for fun.
H.L. Holston & Eleanor Bruce met when a friend put them in charge of the writing awards at a local sci-fi convention, but bonded over their mutual love of Bruce Springsteen. In real life, after many years of teaching social studies at the high school level, Holly has now semi-retired to Florida where she tutors reading and writing in between scrapbooking and reading romance novels.
Eleanor has been a professional business writer since 1989 and an amateur fiction writer for over fifteen years and dreams of following the E Street Band around once she retires, unless Holly talks her into buying a condo on the beach in Costa Rica.
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