Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
This story overlaps the action that took place in Desire’s Guardian, the previous one in the series so I would highly recommend reading that before starting this one. Dal Sayer, cop and brother of Rhys Sayer (Desire’s Guardian) meets a gorgeous young man at the local LGBTQ center. The man, Alexander James Noble, introduces himself as Alex and tells Dal he’s the chef who volunteers there to prepare meals on Saturdays.
A personal chef for a businessman, Alex, who Dal nicknames Lexi, is gender fluid, switching back and forth to his female persona as the mood strikes him. However, Dal is unaware of that until one night he surprises Lexi when he drops by to see him. Lexi opens the door in his female wardrobe, and with the shock of seeing Dal there, he runs into his bedroom, locking the door behind him. It takes a while, but eventually Dal gets the story of heartbreak, pain and abandonment at the hands of his family who rejected him when they found out he liked to dress in his sister’s clothing. Dal slowly but surely wins Lexi’s trust as he remains supportive and faithful to him and assures him he accepts Lexi completely.
Throughout most of this story, the author weaves in the events that occurred concurrently in Desire’s Guardian, so much of what we learn is repetitive. However, one fresh piece of information is the arrival of Lexi’s twin sister, Lyric, and her family, including her husband who used to spout hatred toward Lexi when they were in high school. Apparently Ly is moving away from their hometown due to her husband’s job, so she arrives to share her good news with Lexi. What I found odd is it appeared that these twins had not kept in touch after he was dumped in front of a hospital by his father years before, and yet when she shows up, she’s fully supportive of his life and embraces both his male and female personas and her husband is as well!
The overused trope that disturbed me the most was the pressure Dal’s parents put on him to find a female, marry, and reproduce in order to give his father grandchildren so he’d want to survive his cancer and be happy. This issue was present in the previous story, but there was more time spent on those conversations in this one. And to be honest, I found the whole situation quite bizarre and sickening. Dal is not a teen—he’s a professional man in his thirties, and having to listen to the whole ridiculous argument from both of his parents was distasteful.
During the last twenty minutes of the story, we finally get fresh information as this is the point where Dal had been injured by helping Rhys rescue his lover. And though what happens with the couple is sweet and worthy of several sighs and “Ahh” moments, it doesn’t save the rest of the book. Topping all this was the ever-speedy narration by Jeff Gelder, who gave both Lexi and Lyric the same voice and narrated the book as if he was reading it for the first time. The narration did not add to the story at all, so I can’t honestly recommend it in audiobook format.
If it didn’t seem as if the whole story was just a rehash of the second book, I believe I would have liked it much more. I love cross-dressing men, and there were a few glimpses of “manties” so there was some redeeming value there. And I really liked Dal, until his way of dealing with his demeaning parents left me feeling ill. Lexi was a sweetheart through and through, and by the end I wasn’t so sure Dal deserved him. I’d recommend the e-book to those who want to complete the series, but as I said previously, it’s not a standalone.
The cover by Reese Dante is done in the same soft watercolors as the others in the series and features a set of scarves and multicolor bracelets—both symbolic of Lexi and very beautifully done.
Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes
Published June 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published September 22nd 2014)
SeriesDesires Entwined #3