Released November 2014
Published by Cat Grant Books
Copy obtained from author for review.
All three books in Cat Grant’s EPIC Award-winning series, available together for the first time in this special edition boxed set. Set in the glittery world of Manhattan nightlife, the men who work at the Icon bar share friendships, family, laughter and heartache on their way to happy endings.
The First Real Thing
Cameron is the best—and most sought-after—escort in New York. He has only rule: never let anyone in. But when he picks up ad man Trevor Barclay in a hotel bar, Trev’s shy smile and soft green eyes have Cameron forgetting all the rules. Their steamy encounters leave Cameron shaken, breathless – and falling in love for the first time in his life. But how can he tell Trevor the first man he’s been with in sixteen years sells himself for a living?
Diva Michelle is the hottest drag act in the Manhattan bar scene. But behind the diva is Mike, a lonely man nursing a crush on the Icon’s hot new employee. Ryan’s not just another pretty face – the skittish, fearful young man’s holding back secrets. He may find comfort in Mike’s bed, but he’s not sure if he can trust Mike with the pain of his past.
A Fool for You
Brian Barclay is trying to make it in the New York music scene, but he doesn’t count on his boyfriend Kit stealing all the songs they wrote together. Kicked out of his own band, Brian has no choice but to ask his estranged father Trevor and his partner Cameron for help. Brian and Cameron quickly clash, and when tensions at home escalate, Brian finds himself leaning on sexy blues guitarist Chase Aubrey. Chase and Brian make beautiful music onstage and off, but when Chase’s past threatens their newfound happiness, Brian fears he’s about to be played for a fool yet again.
The First Real Thing
Cameron is the most sought-after escort in New York. He has one hard rule: never let anyone in. When he picks-up ad man Trevor Barclay in a hotel bar, Trev’s shy smile and soft green eyes have Cameron forgetting all the rules. Their steamy encounters leave Cameron shaken, breathless – and falling in love for the first time in his life. How can Cameron tell Trevor that first man he’s been with in sixteen years sells himself for a living?
I love the way this book was showcased. Cameron is an escort and he starts a blog to share what his life is like. He talks about how he came into the business, what to expect and how he copes. As with most escorts, he takes the good the bad. Some clients are easy to please and generous, others are pushy and take as much as they can. When it comes to sex for money, Cameron has to deal with a lot of gross men. The money keeps him going, along with the regular customers that make it worthwhile.
Cameron is off to meet a client at a hotel bar when he mistakenly picks up the wrong man. Trevor is discovering his sexuality. He spent years married to a nice woman and has a teenage son. Their marriage is breaking-up and Trevor decides to take a chance and see if he really is attracted to men. The chemistry between Trevor and Cameron is intense and sensual. So much so, Cameron freaks out a bit.
It’s just the beginning of more dates and getting to know each other Cameron realizes he’s falling for Trevor. He doesn’t do that with tricks, but then Trevor wasn’t there for his services, was he?! As their relationship builds, Cameron feels the pressure to make as much money as he can so he can quit. He needs to make bank so he can live for a few months until he decides what his next steps will be.
That’s why Cameron does one more getaway as an escort. So many things go wrong on this last weekend away. Trevor isn’t happy. He has no idea where and why Cam left. One of the clients was a sadistic jerk and caused some severe harm to an escort. It’s just a downward spiral that leads to Trevor eventually finding out what Cam does and where he was.
Can their relationship survive this or will Trev cut ties for good? Cam finally finds love and as he feared, his profession takes it all away. Can a closeted, divorced gay man step out and take on a former gay escort as his boyfriend?
You know you want to know what happens!
I loved this story! Mitch is co-owner of Icon with Cam. He’s been there five years and eat, sleeps and breathes the place. Without Mitch Icon would just be a shell. He’s bartender and conducts business and once a week he also let’s out his inner drag queen, Miss Michelle! She’s strong, witty and sings her heart out on stage. No lip syncing, honest singing.
Ryan is a new employee at Icon, brought in by Cam. Ryan was on that last weekend getaway with Cam when things went bad. Ryan was the recipient of the horrific scene and Cam felt a sense of responsibility to help him out. That’s how Ryan came to wait tables and inventory stock at Icon. What Ryan didn’t expect was a 6 foot stud with an inner diva in the form of Miss Michelle.
Mitch is the sweetest man but he intimidates Ryan. Is it his size, his drag queen or is it something else? Mitch doesn’t know but he feels bad that he makes the kid flinch every time he approaches him. Over time they begin to form a cohesive team at Icon. Ryan quickly realizes he is turned on by not only Mitch but also his inner queen. He’s still damaged goods. When Ryan becomes homeless, it’s Mitch who picks him up and saves him. Thus begins a mad dash from coworkers to lovers.
Thing is, Ryan still has all his secrets and Mitch is wounded when they start to emerge one by one causing cracks in their foundation until a gaping hole is left. It will take resolve and some groveling to fix this rift between them. Can Ryan open up and trust Mitch enough to share all his horrors? Can Mitch find it in his big heart to forgive Ryan and accept all his past mistakes?
A Fool For You
This is a sweet story about moving on, growing up and finding home.
Brian Barclay, Trevor’s son, is pursuing his musical dream. Brian is in New York with his band, playing the Metronome. His attention is captured by an enigmatic performer with a blues style. Music completely different from their own ‘in your face’ punk style.
Kit, the lead singer and also somewhat boyfriend to Brian, has brokered a deal with a manager to get them to LA and eventually into the studio. All Brian has to do is play their songs so Kit can get every note on paper. Just like that, Brian is out of the band, his songs are stolen by Kit and he’s in jail for an assault charge against Kit. Out of desperation Brian must contact his father to bail him out.
It’s been five years since Trevor and Cameron became a couple. It’s been a solid two since Brian saw Trevor. Brian still has issues with Trevor and Cameron being together. He’s never gotten over his parents divorce. He holds a lot of animosity toward both Trevor and Cameron.
This precarious situation Brian finds himself in forces him to reevaluate what he’s always believed. Maybe Cameron isn’t so bad. Maybe his father isn’t to blame for the divorce. Maybe, his dad deserves to be the happy, gay man he’s always been but couldn’t let free. Maybe Kit and the band wasn’t really his destiny.
Chase, that talented singer with the twelve string and beautiful voice takes an interesting in Brian. He’s older and his calming influence is the positive turn Brian needs in his life. Chase makes Brian want to get a job, be a better son and start to grow-up.
Things are going really well for Chase and Brian the parents love Chase and Brian is accepting Cameron and even working with him. Then information from Chase’s past is revealed and the beautiful balance Brian had is shattered. Brian can be pretty uptight and he has this ridiculous righteous view about sex workers. He never gave Cameron a chance because of his past and that same view could cost him his relationship with Chase.
What set this Icon Men story apart was the youthfulness. Brian is so young. He is all in or all out. He lives in extremes like most young adults do. He’s eager, vivacious and naive. Chase was a calming influence, the voice of reason and a sensual lover. Chase rocked Brian’s world in the bedroom. Kit was never doting or one to offer soft caress. Chase is more than willing to worship Brian’s body!
The cameos from Trevor, Cameron and Ryan brought in an element of fun, familiar antics. The musical elements made for an interesting story and softened it at the same time. Overall, I thought this whole series was stellar! Spend some time with the men of Icon. You won’t regret it!
OVERALL RATING: BAD ASS (MADE FOR PERFORMING AT THE ICON) BOOTS!!