Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M romance from Kristine Cayne. LOVER ON TOP is a love story between a straight fire fighter and his good friend’s gay younger brother. There’s a guarantee that this book is a hot read.
About the book:
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’s always kept buried deep inside?
How about a little taste?
Hands gripping his head, Hollywood paced back and forth between Chad and the neighboring building, like a caged lion. “I’m confused. It’s your fault. You and your tight ass. Your tattoos. And don’t get me started on your little twink boyfriend.”
“My boyfriend?” There was no way Chad could follow Hollywood’s leaps of logic.
“Fucking cowboy told me about it. You slept with Blondie. It was that same night with Candy, wasn’t it?”
Chad clenched his jaw. “Sandy.”
“Who the fuck cares?” Hollywood shouted.
“Why are you so upset?” Chad asked. “You’re straight.”
“I don’t know what the fuck I am. You’ve got me watching gay porn. Fantasizing about—” Hollywood gritted his teeth together and rubbed his face with both hands. The sound of his stubble scraping against his palms had Chad’s heartrate shooting up. Even when he was a mess, Hollywood was hot.
“What do you fantasize about?” Chad couldn’t help asking any more than he could help the rasp in his voice.
Hollywood stopped his pacing, hesitated, then advanced on Chad. Each step slow and deliberate. Chad sucked a breath into suddenly deflated lungs. Oh God. He was so fucking turned on. And what kind of slut did that make him? He didn’t know if Hollywood was going to kiss him or beat the shit out of him. All he knew was that he needed to find out.
With rough movements, Hollywood gripped the sides of Chad’s head. “I can’t think of anything except kissing you. Your lips, are they soft or hard? How would your stubble feel against my skin? What do you taste like? It’s driving me crazy.” He stared into Chad’s eyes. “You are driving me crazy.”
Chad is a 25 y/o paramedic in Seattle. He’s had more than a fair share of run-ins with homophobes who’ve attacked him, defaced his ambulance and stalked him, but he’s not about to stop living his life out and proud. Even if it means for persecution. He harbors a major crush on his elder brother’s best friend, “Hollywood” who is most-assuredly a straight man. This Adonis of a firefighter has got a different woman all the time. Hollywood’s apartment gets torched in a poker-night fried chicken experiment gone way wrong, and is temporarily homeless, so Chad offers him the spare room in his condo.
And things get sexy.
Just kidding. Things kinda do get sexy, in that Hollywood has no boundaries, and Chad comes home after a night looking for a quick trick (to get his mind off Hollywood) to find Hollywood getting it on, in plain sight, with a random gal who isn’t opposed to opening up the equation from 1+1. From that experience Chad knows he’s got to stay way clear of Hollywood, and Hollywood is startled by the odd and inexplicable feelings he gets whenever he catches sight of Chad in, for example, sweaty workout clothes. Or, wet from the shower…
Because of Hollywood’s long friendship with Chad’s brother, Hollywood attempts to smooth things over with Chad, and they develop a strained friendship–and a growing attraction. Hollywood wants to experiment with Chad, and Chad is unwilling…at first. I liked how resolute Chad was regarding Hollywood’s drinking and the need for sobriety if they were to even engage in small-scale carnal activities. Hollywood has been terrorized since his youth by his abusive, alcoholic, homophobic, widower father, and the truth behind that comes out in one big whiskey-fueled rant: Hollywood had been caught in a compromised state with a friend, and it nearly cost Hollywood his life that fateful day. He’d blocked the memory after such a brutal beating, and Hollywood has tried to be the macho straight man his father praises ever since, and had no success finding a true love. What is growing between Hollywood and Chad, this friendship that includes tenderness and affection, is the most real love he’s shared with another person in years. It makes him ashamed to hide away, and keep Chad from sharing his joy with his tight-knit family. Coming out becomes an imperative, but delays and life get in the way.
There are other issues at play here, with Chad being a very real target for some nasty homophobic elements. Hollywood makes serious missteps with Chad, which cost him both love and friendship, and there’s a larger plot arc that spans the entire Caldwell family, subject of this book series. All of that played very-well here. I picked up the book, third in the series, and didn’t feel lost. The two preceding books are M/F romances,
and the next two likely will be as well. That said, this book isn’t a throwaway in terms of series and plot. It’s clear that Chad’s stalker had been problematic in previous books, and had a major impact on both Chad and Hollywood–whose first name we actually learn in this book. The threat against the Caldwells seems to be quelled, but there’s ongoing tension and a long recovery for one of Chad’s brothers who was severely injured in the line of duty.
As for this book, I felt it was interesting and a good effort on the author’s part to include a lot of perspective on same-sex attraction in a previously straight man. I did enjoy Hollywood figuring out what truly mattered in his life, for the first time, really. He and Chad are very sweet together, and their love story was tender. I wished there wasn’t quite so much break-up-to-make-up in the book.
About the Author:
Kristine Cayne’s books have won numerous awards and acclaim. Her first book, Deadly Obsession, was an RT Book Reviews Top Pick and won Best Romance in the 2012 eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards. Her second book, Deadly Addiction, won two awards at the 2014 eFestival of Words and 1st place in the INDIE Awards, Romantic Suspense Category (a division of Chanticleer Book Reviews Blue Ribbon Writing Contests).
Her book Under His Command won Best BDSM Romance at the 2012 Sizzling Awards and was a finalist in the 2013 eFestival of Words and 2013 RONE (Reward of Novel Excellence) Awards, and her book Everything Bared was a finalist in the Erotic category of the I Heart Indie awards.
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!