Posted by gaylistbookreviews
Author: Xavier Mayne http://xaviermayne.com/
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 276 pages
Rating: A List
Blurb: A Brandt and Donnelly Caper: Case File Two
Jonah Fischer’s high school wrestling career has been stellar, but now he’s the unwilling star of a series of videos that have hit the web. The whole world may have seen the evidence that his best friend turns him on. Jonah’s conservative family wants him cured, and his conventional town and school want him normal. The only person who still wants him just the way he is is Casey Melville, the same best friend who turned him on for all the world to see. Meanwhile, Casey begins to wonder if there’s more to his feelings for Jonah than he thought.
Officers Brandt and Donnelly—lovers as well as partners on the job—have been assigned to find the culprit who posted the video. While investigating the case, they also help Jonah and Casey find their way through their feelings, and steer them toward refuge when Jonah’s family turns against him. But the mystery remains: who wants to hurt Jonah badly enough to post those videos, and why? Thank goodness Jonah and Casey have found friends—they’re going to need all the help and support they can get.
Review: This is a fantastic series. I really enjoyed the first installment, Frat House Troopers. And like with the first story I underestimated the book. I thought cute, sexy, fun, silly. And it was all of those things, but there was an emotional depth to the characters, plot, scenes, and writing that was a wonderful surprise.
Gabriel and Ethan share the story and POV’s with Jonah and Casey, two young men who have been best friends since they were little littles. They take a predominant role in the telling of this book.
This story continues with our intrepid duo from the first book in the series with guest moments with the hilarious Bryce and Nestor.
“Bryce is unbelievable,” Jonah said.
“Yeah, I think if we tried to explain what he’s like to the people back in Woodley, they wouldn’t believe us. He’s like a big gay unicorn—no one would think he actually exists.”
It was great to see Ethan and Gabriel again. I love the dynamics of their relationship, they are true partners in every sense and in every aspect of their lives. They are a well balanced couple and are deeply in love.
Donnelly, who had been reaching for the door, stepped back from it and stood toe-to-toe with Brandt. “Ethan, you know perfectly well you have ruined me for other men. No one will ever make me feel the way you do. You are the only man I have ever loved, or ever will. Got that?”
Brandt blushed and grinned. “Yeah. But it’s nice to hear sometimes too. I love you, Gabriel.”
Since the odd circumstances of their coming out as a couple created a bit of a sensation, and as some of the only “out” gay men in their area in the state troopers they tend to catch some odd cases. Cases that need some special handling and discretion. When they receive a call for help from the rural area that Gabriel comes from they find themselves traveling to a town that seems determined to remain in the 1950’s when it comes to social awareness and acceptance.
Jonah is a skilled wrestler with plans to use that gift to get into college and out of his small town. When some compromising videos wind up on the internet his future and all of his relationships are in jeopardy. As the hits keep coming and things seem to only get worse Jonah begins to despair. Luckily his lifelong best friend, Casey is in his corner and keeping him sane. When the worst happens and his secret is revealed Jonah is going to need Casey more than ever.
Casey is amazing. He is the best friend ever. When it comes to Jonah and Casey saying that they will do anything, be anything, can survive anything together, they are not just spouting trite lines. They have been through so much together and they are facing some serious challenges and yet there is no question that these two friends will weather the storms. And if they can be smart enough, strong enough and stay true to themselves and each other, they just might find that they are victorious in the best ways possible.
With a stifled sob, Jonah slumped as if the head-shaking refusal had exhausted him. He closed his eyes, forcing tears from them, and then nodded slowly. He looked over at Casey. “I’m sorry,” he said. Casey came to Jonah and pulled him into a hug. “No. You’re Jonah. Never be sorry to be who you are.”
The relationships that are built in this story are ones that can last lifetimes. The way that people rallied behind the young men was heartening. Especially in the face of so much anger and prejudice. One of the things that I truly appreciated about the author’s take on the overly religious and bigoted views of some of the people in this story was that it was balanced. While there were no pulled punches when it came to the vitriol and insanity that can arise when religion and sex mix, there was also time and credit given to people’s need for faith and that there are many options when it comes to finding acceptance in religious communities. Not everyone was looking to destroy. There was hope and acceptance when they looked for them.
Jonah was silent for a moment. “It was awful. I don’t think I can really describe it.” He gathered his thoughts, then continued. “It was like they had shaped God into a club they were going to beat me with until I told them I was straight. And the whole time they kept telling me they were doing it because they loved me and just wanted what was best for me.”
I can only hope that Brandt and Donnelly will continue to give us awesome cases and loving romance for many books to come. I would love to be able to see more of Jonah and Casey as well, and of course Bryce and Nestor. I so enjoy this world and all of the people that I have met here. It is a sweet, charming, romantic, loving, emotional, insightful and funny time every time I come here. I think it is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to visit.
Reviewed by Nina
Posted in Nina
Tags: A List, Acceptance, Athletes, Awesome, Best Friends, Bullying, Changes, Choices, Coach, College, Coming Out, coming-of-age, Community Pressure, Competition, Contemporary, Cops, Crazy Family, DSP, Family, Family Pressure, Finding Yourself, First Love, Forgiveness, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Healing, Hidden Videos, High School, Internet, Loss. Hope, Love, love triumphs over all, Loyalty, Making a New Life, Making Your Own Family, Nina, Parental Rejection, Partners, Peer Pressure, Pep Rally, Rejection, Religios Bullying, romance, Second Chances, Secrets, Series, Sexy, Shamed, Small Town, Social Pressure, Star Athlete, State Troopers, Support, Supportive Parent, Sweet, Team Loyalty, Teens, Wrestling