As most of you know from my other blogs I have recently discovered the world of ménage and reverse harem and this new book series focusing on gay male relationships, with a straight guy unsure of his sexuality, was recommended to me. I am always a little unsure if I am going to enjoy branching out to a new genre but if this book is anything to go by then it is absolutely a type of book I will enjoy in the future particularly if written by Alessandra Hazard.
This book will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions and you will not know if you want the characters to reach a happily ever after or not. The taboo professor and student plot line is something that can be done in a very sleazy way or in a way that is not very believable but that’s not the case here. When they begin their relationship there is an agreement to hide it from the outside world and they fall in love in their own little bubble. Some people may have an issue with the age gap or the idea of a ‘person in a position of power’ entering into a relationship even though they are of legal age. If these themes are an issue for you then this book may not be for you but I feel that the idea was handled well and that this book should not be dismissed just based on the theme alone. As the great saying goes don’t judge a book by its cover!
Shawn is a 20 year old college student on a scholarship, but is struggling to maintain his grades. Since the death of his parents he was left not only with their debts but also his two young twin sisters who he became guardian to. Struggling to find the balance between going to his classes, studying, caring for his sisters and then working to pay for their childcare for when he is at work or college, Shawn reaches a point where he faces losing his scholarship if he does not pass one of his hardest classes. That class is taught by the meanest professor in the college Derek Rutledge but there is a rumour that he is quite partial to a nice young boy and a bit of flirting might just persuade him to award a better grade.
Professor Derek Rutledge is hated and feared by his students and this is for a very good reason. He is strict, ruthless and doesn’t have any patience for teaching people who are not clever enough or who are not willing to work hard and this is makes his class the hardest to pass. He has heard the rumour that all it takes for him to change a grade is a bit of flirting from a good looking boy but this is not the case, despite the amount of people that try. Which is why it is so surprising that when Shawn walks in and flirts to get a better grade Rutledge unexpectedly agrees and this leads to a deal that will change both of their worlds.
Initially I found Rutledge very difficult to like but as his character developed you realise that he is wonderfully flawed and as his relationship with Shawn grew he softened allowing the more caring and better aspects of his personality shined through. It was also very refreshing to see that Rutledge knew what he wanted and was not afraid to go after it despite knowing how difficult the situation was. Nevertheless it was not just Derek who grew as a person in this book, Shawn had the biggest personal journey to go on. His entire life he has identified as straight and this has never even been questioned until he started entering into a sexual relationship with Derek and he realised how much he enjoyed it. After getting over their initial feelings of hating each other because of their situation, it became obvious that there really is a fine line between love and hate, which is when Derek begins helping Shawn to discover who he really is and allows for his sexuality and confidence to grow. This was beautiful to read and initially I thought that the plot line would be a little sleazy but it very much was not. Despite the age gap and professor/student status there was not a power imbalance and at some point during the story they both held power over each other. While Derek taught Shawn about his sexuality and discovering himself, Shawn returned the favour and taught Derek what it means to be in a relationship and how to fall in love.
As I mentioned before the book will take you on a rollercoaster of emotion as it is full of drama and angst. The background stories to both protagonists and their family life could not be more different whilst both being equally heart breaking and they are both missing something in their life until they discover each other. I really enjoyed watching the relationship develop and despite the scenario it seemed so natural. The sex scenes were very hot and a clever mix between sweet and sizzling which seemed just right for the character development and the relationship progress.
I started reading this book with a low expectation with it not being the usual genre that I enjoy but this book had me hooked and I could not stop reading. This is book one of a series and I cannot wait to start book two and am downloading it as I type this. If book two is as good as this book then I will be downloading the whole series and throwing myself into the world of hot bi/gay men who lust after and then end up sexually corrupting straight men in a deliciously sexy way. Alessandra Hazard definitely pushes the boundaries with taboo subjects which some people may not enjoy and I think you have to start reading this with and open mind but if you do then I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised.