Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Aaron “Chance” Dumont, owner of Chances Are bar and restaurant, doesn’t know what to do. Chance has just retrieved his missing boyfriend, Rory, who disappeared after a huge argument. Granted the argument was about Chance and his old flame, Cannon, who returned determined to reclaim Chance as his. Plus Rory, still trying to recover from his rape, is uncertain of their relationship and his status in Chance’s life. But now that Rory is home and Chance is sure that Rory is the one he loves, things are still unsettled.
Why do things never stay the same? Even his sanctuary, his bar Chances Are, is going upscale because of his new bartender and his chef.
While Rory agreed to come home, it was also on the condition that there was to be no sex between them. That this was their chance to really get to know one another before a deeper commitment could be made (and sexual relations resumed). Now Chance is determined not to screw up a second time, to show Rory that he is loved and treasured above all.
But fate has a messed up sense of humor. Cannon appears, shaken and badly needing Chance’s help. Someone is stalking him and making threats. Is there a connection to other unresolved deaths in the area? Soon Cannon is sleeping on their couch, and a killer is circling around the bar and his friends. Chance is determined to save his new relationship but feels obligated to help his first love. If there is a chance in hell that someone can keep them all safe, then Chance is the man for the job.
Chance in Hell, the fifth book in the Chances Are series, finds Chance finally committed to his love, Rory, but unsure of everything else in his life. Everything is changing and Chance is the last person in the world who likes change even when it is for the better. Lee Brazil does an outstanding job of making the reader understand just how flustered and uneasy Chance is over the changes in his life. He is happy Rory is home but is tentative about moving forward in any part of their relationship, afraid to make a wrong move. His bar, Chances Are, has always been a haven for Chance, no matter the circumstances in his life but that is changing too as his bar has become popular with everyone, not just his old friends and the gay scene.
Even Chance’s band of brothers, his non blood relation family, is at its most variable, with new members and expansions of relationships. With each description and scene, Brazil makes Chance’s new life seem incredibly authentic and real for the reader. We feel his unease and the tension that all the changes are bringing about. We understand that Chance knows just how fragile his second “chance” at love with Rory is. The author also takes the character of Rory and makes him into a warm, intelligent and yes, endearing young man, a far cry from the troubled, passive “twink” he was portrayed as in the previous stories. Rory is that person that we love unconditionally. The growth of his character brings out the best in Chance. Finally, even those readers who were not committed to this relationship, can understand the attraction and root for their love to succeed. We even feel for Cannon, a less than relatable personality whose broken relationship with Chance almost destroyed him and almost demolished Chance’s new one with Rory. Now Cannon becomes someone worthy of our sympathy and concern, instead of someone we disliked and was disconnected to, a very nice turnaround by Brazil.
By the end of the story, things seem, at least on the surface, to be settling down. I love Chance Dumont and his singular voice, all gravely, sarcastic, and knowing. Rory is a wonderful complement to him and he knows it. But a mystery is lurking around the edges, and the clues are to be found in the other series. A Chance in Hell is well named indeed.
This is how it all starts:
The flamboyantly sexy Sin mixed drinks with smiles and laughter and his usual flirtatious banter behind the bar. Gerry cast him a dark glance every now and then, but seemed too busy with the harried waiters, managing the kitchen, and rubbing up against Darrin to actually approach the bartender.
It was Friday night and the crowd of boys in blue and the quiet gentlemen of the neighborhood had been replaced by a bevy of gay men who ranged from suave to eager, all drawn by the lure of our sexy new bartender, all spending big and most having to be sent home at the end of each night in cabs. Tomorrow was weekend brunch, and tonight’s crowd would seem even more incongruous when compared to the tourists and families who came for the brunch buffet.
Chances Are was changing, and I wasn’t sure I liked it. Gerry couldn’t be blamed for all of it either. It began with me hiring Blake, who should have been working in a grand establishment, to cook. A trained chef who’d once prepared food for the elite of New York society, he was out of place in my bar. He’d amped up the food, which had seemed safe enough. Then Gerry hired Sin, who despite his vibrant attitude behind the bar, I had yet to see actually follow through on the promise in his name, and crowds came, drawn by his personality. The bar was no longer a refuge, and I really needed one right now.
Why the hell doesn’t anything ever stay the same?
If you are new to the series, then return to the beginning and start there. Here are the stories in the order they were written and should be read to understand the characters, their relationships and the events that occur:
Cover art by Laura Harner is perfect for the story and to brand the series.