Friday, August 07, 2015

Pre-Release Review: Resist: Gavin (Sphere of Irony #3) by Heather C. Leigh

81Dsr0gqjDL._SL1500_Title ~ Resist: Gavin (Sphere of Irony #3)

Author ~ Heather C. Leigh

Published ~ 9th August

Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance





All Gavin Walker, bass player for the multi-platinum selling band, Sphere of Irony, wants to do is surf, play music, and occasionally get laid. The problem is that Gavin has a stalker. A potentially deadly one. The threats he receives always mention something about Gavin being gay, which isn't public knowledge since the record label wants to keep it quiet.
Mitch Hale used to track serial killers for the FBI. A live-changing incident led him to quit the bureau and start his own company providing computerized security for Los Angeles' wealthiest people. Mitch doesn't know anyone when he moves across the country from D.C. to California, and all he has for companionship is a pathetic string of failed relationships with women.
When Gavin's manager hires Mitch to find the stalker, the men instantly hate each other. Despite the constant fighting, attraction between the two blazes hot, confusing the former FBI agent. Spending time with Gavin forces Mitch reflect on what he's denied about himself for the last ten years. Listening to Mitch's plan to catch a madman thrusts Gavin's personal life out in the open for the entire world to see.
Can Gavin and Mitch stop fighting long enough to stop a stalker before someone gets hurt? Or will they stubbornly resist the feelings that develop when they're forced to work together?
This is book 3 in a 4 part series. It is a spin-off of the Famous Series. These can be read as standalones.

Alan’s Review

This is my first Heather C. Leigh book, and this lady can certainly write. As far as I’ve been able to ascertain, Ms. Leigh is primarily a straight-romance writer. In fact, Resist: Gavin may be her first gay title. And if it is, you’d never know by reading it. The prose is assured, the relationships (both open and closeted) ring true, and the sex, though sparing (thank Heaven!) is quite hot without subjecting the reader to excruciating detail. These are all good things, and I was suitably impressed.

The only downside to this novel, for me, is that it’s not particularly novel: gay rock star, stalker, hot detective/bodyguard who saves him from imminent death. Even the relationship between Gavin (the rock star) and Mitch (the former FBI Agent/Profiler, now private security consultant) is somewhat less than original – the two hit it off like oil and water until (it is a gay romance, after all) they fall in love, both for the first time.

I’ve read this plot and its various permutations more times than I wish to remember. The only saving grace about this iteration is that Ms. Leigh writes it so well that, even though I knew, in advance, what was going to happen, it was great fun to watch the particulars unfold, and follow these two attractive and empathetic characters as they opened up to one other.

What makes this story different from similar efforts by other authors, is how deeply the author goes into the family background of both men. Usually, it’s the rock star who has the “issues”. In Resist: Gavin, both men do. In fact, the book starts out with a suicide on the beach, a sad teenager who swallows enough pills to end his suffering, permanently. Fortunately, we soon find out that the attempt didn’t work, or there’d be no book. The attempted suicide was Gavin, age 17. Distraught over his macho military father who constantly upbraids him and tortures him for not being “masculine enough” for the short-haired drill sergeant who is his distant and unloving father, he can no longer endure his life. They live without the balancing weight of Gavin’s mother’s love, as she decamped to London, when Gavin was young, and divorced his repugnant father. He only sees her on his international tours when his band (Sphere of Irony) plays London or nearby.

Mitch, on the other hand, is a strapping, oh-so-masculine, geek-cum-athlete, closet case who has been living a life of quiet denial since puberty. And there really wasn’t much reason for it, aside from his own fears. Unforgivably, he used women, knowing that he couldn’t sustain a relationship with one, but determined “not to be gay”, at all costs.

The son of a diplomatic security officer and his wife, Mitch worked for the FBI as a successful profiler/agent for six years before suddenly walking out and setting up his own firm. As it turns out, his partner had been playing a mind game on him, teasing, tempting, flirting non-stop for all the years they were partnered, and then turning on him viciously when Mitch finally tried to reciprocate. A week later, Mitch was gone.

Now, through a friend, Mitch is asked to help out the hit band, Sphere of Irony, whose gay (but publicly closeted, at the insistence of the record label) guitarist, Gavin, has been receiving letters and “gifts” from a stalker for more than a year - letters and gifts that were becoming more and more threatening.

The two meet, and clash on sight. Though the sexual tension is thick enough to cut with a knife, Gavin doesn’t want anything to do with the restrictions his “security employee” will try to impose on him. And Mitch doesn’t want anything to do with the hot but spoiled, self-indulgent rock star who refuses to cooperate in saving his own life.

I must say, the one thing that annoyed me in the book was the bitchiness of Gavin – who repeatedly gives away their secret locations, slips out without his bodyguards, gets pissed at Mitch for irrational reasons and sneaks away, leaving him terrified that his charge is kidnapped or dead. I mean, the guy is being stalked by a serial killer, and the one thing he cannot bring himself to do is listen to his security consultant? In the end, it almost costs him his life.

But Mitch can neither quit Gavin, nor abandon him to his fate because, finally, he has fallen in love, and despite their constant back-and-forth, just can’t bear to be without him. Of course, that’s Mitch’s issue too – it’s not professional to be involved with a client to the point that it compromises both of their security.

I won’t spoil Resist: Gavin by giving away the twists, turns, guilty-parties and those who turn out to be surprisingly supportive, but rest assured there is a Happily-Ever-After in the cards for these two, not to mention at least a pair of Grammys for the band.

If you’re looking for a fun read, a few hours with an attractive couple and a bit of a fun thriller, you can do much worse than Resist: Gavin. I sincerely enjoyed this book. It’s a great summer read from an obviously accomplished author. To be honest, were the story just a bit more unique and creative, this would have been a definite five-star read for me.

I look forward to much more from this author. I sincerely hope she’ll continue writing for the gay fiction genre – she already does it incredibly well and there’s already so many authors writing straight fiction, it would be a terrible shame to waste the insight and affinity for gay characters she has demonstrated so well in Resist: Gavin.

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