Rating: 3 Stars out of 5
Told in alternating first person point of view this is the story of Swish, a man who has a traumatic past who has been staying with the Hedonist bike club for the past two years. He shares a room with Dante, the biker who found him in a restroom and saved him. The fact that Swish is in love with Dante is incidental because Dante is a huge player and sleeps with everyone, male or female, usually where Swish knows what is happening. Swish is starting to feel like a freeloader and needs to change. He is developing a pet grooming following and he also works with Gus, an elderly man who runs an animal sanctuary. It isn’t just a shelter because these men love and care for the animals they take in. “His generosity was one of the reasons I wanted to take him up on his offer for me to move into the shelter. He was pretty old and didn’t have any help.” Swish is a gentle, giving person.
Dante is another story. I have to say, he was pretty disappointing all the way through. He found Swish and saved him, yes, but he is really dismissive of Swish’s feelings for a lot of it. I just couldn’t understand the whole family thing either. Dante’s family is very wealthy and he is expected to work for his father’s companies when he turns thirty. This is something he absolutely does not want to do. His parents, especially his mother, don’t even seem to like him and he is a constant disappointment to them yet he is willing to hurt himself and people he cares about to try to win some kind of approval from them.
Swish moving out causes some angst for Dante and he gets a job working for Gus, fixing up the sanctuary, and starts to realize how little he actually knows about Swish and how little effort he’s ever put into getting to know him.
“How come you never told me you real name’s Isaac?”
“Did you think it was Swish? You never asked.”
“I hadn’t and I didn’t know why.”
This is not, however, enough to make Dante actually do right by Swish and it was so frustrating. I wanted Swish to find someone else – Hugh would have been awesome! He doesn’t bother to say goodbye to Swish the day Swish moves out and then is surprised when Swish is hurt by that. “Dante had left without saying goodbye? Tears pricked my eyes and I wrapped my arms around my middle, reminding myself I was used to being thrown away. But somehow it hurt way more coming from Dante.”
Dante starts to find out things about Isaac that he never bothered to before. Like why Isaac was in that restroom. What he wears under his clothes. “Hell, lately it feels like I never knew you at all.” Well, he didn’t really. “Swish frowned. “You’ve never tried to get to know me.”
“I didn’t want to admit to myself I’d been so dismissive of him, or that he might have been reluctant to ask me about myself.” That is how things were, though. It got worse for me when Dante starts to date Felicity, a high society woman that his parents chose for him and yet continues to see Swish and sleep with him. I wanted to cheer when Gus confronts Dante on it because Swish needed someone who’d care enough to want the best for him. Gus, just loved him. Swish has Ax as well, another member of the Hedonists who is a good friend and tries to shake some sense into Dante. Who doesn’t listen of course. Honestly, this book was a four star read for Gus, Axel, Caleb and Isaac, and a one star for Dante so I averaged it. He just didn’t redeem himself for me at all. There was a feel of too little, too late, and I couldn’t help wondering if Dante hadn’t had the revelation about his parents what would have happened.
The supporting characters were great, even Felicity who I was prepared to hate. I am seriously hoping that the next story will be Axel and Caleb. Blaze needs one as well so we know what is up with him. While this isn’t a book I would read again, I would definitely continue the series to see what happens.
Cover art by Reese Dante shows Swish and Dante. While the image of Swish, long brown hair, cross earring and pretty face, is very close to how I thought he would be from the book, Dante is not, other than the long blonde hair. There is a leather jacket but he looks a little young and too soft to be Dante for me.
AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2KDP9w0
AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2ucScQz
Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published July 7th 2018
Original TitleThe Pet Stylist and the Playboy (The Hendonist, #2)
SeriesThe Hedonist #2