Hi there! Today I’m sharing my review for a book voted one of the Top 100 romance reads on Amazon: Damon Suede’s HOT HEAD. And, coincidentally, it’s on SALE for $1. Yep. I ponied up my buck for this delicious M/M firefighter romance. A small caveat, the book was published in 2011–which was the ten year mark following the Sept 11th attacks on the World Trade Center in NYC. The plot reflects living through this horrific experience and the ten year gap.
About the book:
“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…”
Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.
Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there-“together.”
Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?
This book is a head rush! Grif is a lonely man. His mother died when he was a child, and his father, a Fire Inspector, is not a demonstrative man. Grif essentially raised himself, and in high school got sucked into the large and lively Anastagio family. They became his surrogate parents and siblings, with Dante his best friend since fire school. He was married shortly before the attacks on 9/11, but his grief and PTSD from being a first responder rendered him moody and uninterested and his wife left him.
Since then, Grif has been a shadow brought to life with the Anastagio’s, Dante in particular. For years now, he and Dante have caroused, “satisfying” NYC’s plethora of willing women wishing for the thrill of bedding FDNY hunks. Dante is a vibrant love-’em-and-leave-’em guy–with the face and bod of an Italian god. He’s generous to a fault, always opting to help a friend in need, and rehabbing a run-down brownstone that’s way too expensive for his three job income.
Grif’s hunger for Dante develops over years, but at this point in the story it is enormous–so much so that, when Grif learns Dante’s plan to do a bit of solo porn for cash, well, Grif’s about to explode–with lust. He thinks finding another man, on the SUPER down-low, will help him get over the lust for Dante. (He’s super guilty about this attraction, BTW, constantly thinking: How messed up is he that he lusts for his pseudo-brother, right?)
The hard truth Grif must face is that he LOVES Dante, and that is in the biblical sense. Dante’s money troubles are so great that one “shoot” isn’t enough–and he begs Grif to “help him out” on camera. Grif cannot say no. What remains is a love story that captivated me. The sexytimes are so hot. The firemen are so hot. There are gorgeous subplots, and jealous lovers. Coming out in the FDNY is a dangerous prospect, but so is loving your best friend, as Grif learns. I almost died in the big fire scene–and so did one of the characters!
The language of this book is bold, brash and in-your-face. Grif pulls no punches about FDNY, 9/11, fire bunnies, Dante, and even his emotionally distant father. He also has some of the funniest in-head swearing I’ve ever read. And about 800 euphemisms for male self-pleasure. I adored all of them! Even if Grif wasn’t a 6’3″ Scots-American who wears his kilt while bouncing the door at his local watering hole, I’d have loved him to pieces. The fact that I have THAT visual only makes me love him more…
It’s no doubt that I’ll be recommending this book for long time. It is all the best of romantic fiction, with great leads I cheered for the entire book. Definitely a Top 100 pick!
About the Author:
Damon Suede grew up out-n-proud deep in the anus of right-wing America, and escaped as soon as it was legal. He has lived all over and along the way, he’s earned his crust as a model, a messenger, a promoter, a programmer, a sculptor, a singer, a stripper, a bookkeeper, a bartender, a techie, a teacher, a director… but writing has ever been his bread and butter. He has been happily partnered for over a decade with the most loving, handsome, shrewd, hilarious, noble man to walk this planet.
Though new to gay romance, Damon is an award-winning author who has been writing for print, stage, and screen for two decades, which is both more and less glamorous than you might imagine. He’s won some awards, but he counts his blessings more often: his amazing friends, his demented family, his beautiful husband, his loyal fans, and his silly, stern, seductive Muse who keeps whispering in his ear, year after year.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!