Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
After being written out of his current movie project, semi-successful actor Bryce Edwards decides to use the free time to get out of Hollywood for a holiday visit to his former home in rural Minnesota. Determined to make peace with the past that has haunted him, he seeks out the ex-boyfriend he left behind ten years before. Rather than the second chance with Cody that Bryce had half hoped for, he encounters Dion who may be just what he needs to open the curtain on his life’s second act.
This book appealed to me right away since I live in California and have a family member in the movie industry. The author painted a very realistic picture of what its like trying to make it in acting. It’s not easy, even when you’re doing well enough to have a few credits to your name. I found it interesting that Bryce was out in Minnesota but mostly in the closet in ultra-liberal California. I can see how that could feel necessary, but was glad that his agent was not pressuring him into the closet but was instead quite supportive and caring. Bryce’s acting scenes, and his thoughts as he went through them, seemed so real.
I found the contrasts between Bryce and Dion irresistible: Bryce all pumped and manly, frugal, mostly closeted and very career focused, and Dion all sleek and beautiful with his family money, out and proud, and temporarily helping out his half brother. What an excellent mix.
Unfortunately, communication between the two was at a premium from the start.
Bryce was always taking responsibility for their misunderstandings. I tend to be like Bryce, never thinking that I have the right to be upset. I found myself wanting to see him just get mad at some point instead of always being so damn understanding all the time. Didn’t seem to me that Bryce was the only one responsible for their misunderstandings–far from it in most cases.
I adored Bryce. How could you not love a big, sweet guy who doesn’t even know that others see him as a star? And it felt so right how despite being an excellent actor, he had trouble sometimes with expressing himself using his own words. The way he sometimes searched in his head for past roles to bolster himself through difficult real life situations pulled at my heart.
The very out and proud Dion nearly stole the show with his humor and in-your-face carefree lifestyle. But I very much wished for some bits from his POV as I was often wondering what the heck he was thinking when he said and did some things. The fun epilogue highlighted Dion wonderfully and left me all smiles.
Overall, the sex was hot, especially the frotting scene. I find that very sexy and don’t see enough of in m/m. My only disappointment was that Bryce’s stray thought about whether Dion would be open to topping never made it into reality. I’d really like to read that scene.
On another note, Cody and Jacques provided an unexpected, sweet bonus romance. Adored those two together. The proposal scene was one of my favorites in the book. Loved seeing the self-assured Jacques’ vulnerable side.
For being on the short side, the author brought plenty of depth to all the characters in this story. Each felt real, flawed yet strong in their own way.
While this book took an entirely different track than what I’d initially expected, I was in no way disappointed. Not a reunion or second chance story at all. True to the title, it’s the opening curtain on the second act in Bryce Edward’s life. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
Cover Artist: BookCoverMasterClass.com
The cover photo nails the different looks/classes of the two MCs and captures the theme of snowy Minnesota small town meets Hollywood and the movies. It’s almost a synopsis all on its own.
ebook, 144 pages
Published January 4th 2015 (first published December 27th 2014)
original title Second Act
edition language English