Cover Reveal Dark & Dazzling and Review Fierce & Fabulous: Elizabeth Varlet

Fierce and Fabulous (Sassy Boyz #1)
Elizabeth Varlet
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Released June 27, 2016
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The first book in a scorching new male/male series by Elizabeth Varlet. Behind the Sassy Boyz's seductive smiles and sinful dance moves are desires that will leave readers breathless.

Fitch Donovan never thought a lap dance could change his life, but from the moment the gorgeous dancer’s lips touch his, his world comes screeching to a halt. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t shake the desire that rocks him to his core. He’s longed for this passion all his life—he just never dreamed he’d find it with another man.

Sharing a soul-shaking kiss with a straight boy is the kind of drama Ansel Becke just doesn't need. Spotlights aren't made for two and Ansel prefers to keep things on a one-night-only basis. So when Fitch shows up asking for an encore, Ansel knows he should send his gorgeous ass packing.

Though Ansel tries to pretend that what's between him and Fitch is far from fabulous, there's something about the big, burly contractor that makes Ansel's world sparkle in a way no amount of glitter ever could. And Fitch will do whatever it takes to convince Ansel that when the thing you need most in the world falls right into your lap, you’d be a fool to let it go.

I find it a little amusing that for the second time in under a week, I’m reviewing a book where one of the main characters wears make-up and women’s clothing. This time, it’s Fierce & Fabulous, my first exposure to author Elizabeth Varlet. Men in drag typically do not appear in my fantasies, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned since starting reading M/M romances, it’s that I never can tell what sort of well-written character is going to get my attention.

Interestingly enough, that happens to be the case for one of the main characters in Fierce & Fabulous too. On the occasion of his little sister’s twenty-first birthday, Fitch Donovan finds himself trying (and failing) not to be uncomfortable as a straight man in a gay bar. But when the four sexy women who are the night’s entertainment begin their stage act, he and his body definitely take notice, particularly to the hot blonde’s dance moves. But wait… they are men wearing women’s clothing. And his sister has paid for the blond man to give him a lap dance. One kiss later, Fitch’s life is turned upside down. It’s a kiss that Ansel Becke feels with the same intensity, but there’s no way his one-night-only policy will let him chase after a straight man, no matter how big and sexy he is. He knows nothing good could come from such an act. Besides, happily ever after doesn’t happen for people like him. Even though it feels like maybe he’s wrong about that after spending the night with Fitch.

Let’s start with the good. And in this case, it’s the very, very good. The pairing between Fitch and Ansel has some of the best chemistry I’ve read recently. From the very first kiss during the lap dance, it’s impossible to miss just how electric the pairing is going to be. Here’s a tip for you when you read this book—I’m only doing this so you can’t say that Jay guy didn’t warn you—when the book leads up to the first sex scene, put the book down for a moment, go powder your nose, refill your drink, grab a couple cookies…and make sure your boyfriend/spouse isn’t planning on leaving the house for a while (or at least make sure a box of tissues is handy.) And finally, make sure you won’t be interrupted for at least half an hour or so while you read it. Yeah, it’s a long sex scene. And it is hot. Fuckin’ A, I’m surprised it didn’t set my tablet on fire, it’s so hot. Just thinking about it again is distracting the fuck out of me. Holy… Where was I? The intensity between them doesn’t let up for the rest of the book either. Good stuff, I’m tellin’ ya.

Yeah, I can hear what you’re thinking already: Jay, why did you rate this book as a 4 then? Allow me to explain. Things happen at a nearly breakneck pace in the story. At the beginning, for example, in spite of the fact that Fitch’s mental-speak states the phrase “I’m not gay” more times than I could count, it didn’t take him long to succumb to his need to know Ansel intimately. The way it was written, I was expecting his sexual confusion to be a source for more angst, but it turns out Fitch is rather progressive. Perhaps it’s because the sister who bought him the lap dance is a lesbian. But this isn’t the only place in the book where something was set up to be angst-promising but was then resolved rather quickly and/or in a relatively easy way. I’m not going to go into details on any more of them because they would be spoilers, but I can point to Ansel’s past in particular as looking deliciously angsty. Yeah, there’s a little angst that comes from it, but it’s nowhere near what I was expecting based on the set-up. While low-angst, easy resolution may be your preference, I feel a little robbed when things look like they’ll rip my heart out but instead turn out to just require a Band-Aid. Trigger alert: if alcoholism in a story is problematic for you, you’ve been warned.

The mechanics of the book are quite good as well. The writing style lends itself to the book being a quick read, mainly because there are no point-of-view issues, even in scenes where many secondary characters are also present. The character development worked for me, and it’s pretty clear the other three men who are in the dancing group with Ansel will each be getting their own stories as the series continues.

In spite of the speed and easy-resolution issues I had with the novel, Fierce & Fabulous is a fun read that I strongly recommend. It’s an emotional story with characters who were easy for me to connect with and who had a palpably strong connection between them. I felt the heat when things were good, and I couldn’t help but feel bad when things got rough. And that made the ending all the sweeter, and it’s a pretty darn sweet ending.

The author generously provided me a complimentary copy of Fierce & Fabulous in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Check out the cover and synopsis for book two!

Z doesn't need a hero...

Azariah “Z” Hayes is a diamond. Equal parts strength and sparkle, he’s more than capable of standing on his own stilettos. So if waiting tables and stripping at The Vibe are what it takes to keep a roof over his head, well, there are worse ways to earn a living.

Connelly is a white knight with a badge…

For NYPD Detective Connelly Reid, to serve and protect is just another day at the office--even if that means protecting himself from his own true desires. He’s been curious about Z, his waiter, for months but it’s not until he sees him in his makeup & heels that the curiosity becomes a fierce attraction. Z, despite all his over-the-top dazzle, might just be the man Connelly has been waiting for his entire life.

But when Connelly investigates underground porn and drug activity with ties to The Vibe, one thing becomes very clear –acting on what he knows will hurt Z, financially and emotionally. And though Connelly would love nothing more than to fix all of Z’s problems, no amount of mind-blowing sex can make Z comfortable becoming dependent on his lover. Yet if there’s one thing Connelly knows from his years on the force, it's this: when things go bad, you need a trusted partner to have your back.

Elizabeth Varlet
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Elizabeth Varlet is a thirty-something, newly-married, world-traveler who devours books like they were candy. A nerd at heart, she spends way too many hours binging on episodes of her favorite television shows and dreaming of the day she can adopt a dog—whom she’s already named.

She started writing stories in high school and hasn’t stopped. Now, her characters like to get frisky under the covers. Or the stars, or in a car, or up against the wall—they’re not picky.

Elizabeth believes in love of all shapes and sizes and wants nothing more than to share the beauty in the form of stories.

Visit her at http://www.elizabethvarlet.com for updates.

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