These Violent Delights by Jess Whitecroft
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Ballet Dancer, College Teacher, Age Gap, Wickedly Witty, Contemporary
Length: 332 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Purchase At: amazon.com
Flunking English, short on cash and trying to keep up with the demands of dancing a principal role in Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet; Milos has a lot going on right now. The last thing he needs is his English teacher riding him about his poor class performance.
For teacher Tom, still raw from an ugly breakup, the last thing he needs is a new romance, especially one that drags him into the thorny ethical issues of dating a student.
When a chance encounter opens the door on unexpected lust, Tom and Milos plunge headlong into an erotic, all-consuming affair, but can the violent delights of new love survive secrets?
This is one of those books that makes me love putting together our Weekly Book Deals which, incidentally, tends to be more fortnightly now. Anyhow, I saw this in my search for book deals, read the blurb, although that title alone was good, and I thought – Kazza, it’s ballet, that blurb, it has a great cover, a great title, it’s a freebie. Grab it! Then I nearly psyched myself out of reading it because I’m not particularly into contemporary romance nowadays. Then it looked like being a GFY, it sort of is but it isn’t, it’s more a sexually fluid thing. I nearly pulled out, pun intended, but I’m glad I didn’t.
Milos Waxman, pronounced Milosh, is twenty, he takes English lit as part of his arts degree but he hates it and it’s dragging his GPA down. Ballet is his heart’s calling and he’s secured a principal role of Tybalt in Madame Levonian’s production of Romeo and Juliet. But Milos’ mother wants him to have a backup plan, maybe a forefront plan, and that means he can’t fail English. It cannot just be about ballet because that requires the utmost dedication and even then it’s a hard gig to get at a professional level. Between rigorous ballet classes, which he loves, webcam jerk-off sessions, which he likes the exhibitionist side of and the money from, and now a make-up English class, Milos is more tired in all of the things he has to do and more of a smart arse than normal. He also thinks about women when he’s camming. He’s dated women, had sex with women and he likes women, but it’s mostly guys that tune into his webcams. All of that is about to change for Milos when he has the most bizarre first guy-on-guy sexual encounter. When his English professor has had a bad day and is in his office looking for a confiscated baggie, and Milos has a deadline paper on Edward II to drop off and they coincide, well, it’s an interesting midnight collision.
Poor kid was just trying to sneak his schoolwork in on time and ends up with his teacher sobbing all over his shoes for no reason.
His breath hitches as he thrusts, like he can’t help himself, and then I feel him – against my cheek – hard behind his fly. “Oh my God,” he whispers, in a voice like he can’t believe it, and I know just how he feels. This is crazy. This is wrong. And I’ve never wanted anything so much in my life.
Tom Moore is thirty two, a Brit, and a college professor of the English class Milos despises. On campus he’s known as Saint Thomas Mo(o)re because he nursed his partner though cancer, the kind that seemed awfully terminal but thankfully God helped him survive. No? Well, no, that would be good practitioners and doctors his body and luck. So about God… He found a church and pastor who helped exorcise the gay from Simon and that means Tom is a sin, the chief sin, and he’s tossed aside post Simon’s recovery. It hurts. It stings bitterly that the poster couple for recovery and love and hope is no longer a couple at all, and to top it off, power bottom Simon is now marrying a woman.
I never, ever – even at my worst – deserved to be treated this way. And that woman, whoever she is. She’d have to be some special kind of monster to even begin to deserve marriage to an incorrigible pig bottom like Simon.
Of course, Simon keeps hanging around, supposedly hoping Tom will forgive him for being a born again arsehole, but you know there’s more than that. Tom is understandably left angry at being thought of as a “sin” and shunted so easily aside once Simon was well, because Simon became part of a fundamentalist, homophobic religion. Simon is also very self absorbed and expects Tom to just meet him where and when he wants and to say he forgives Simon – for dropping him so easily, for deciding to marry a woman. It doesn’t help that his best friends tend to cut Simon a lot of slack for his ongoing behaviour because he was so sick before, but Tom isn’t having it.
“Besides, Simon isn’t some child whose parents took him to Jonestown to drink the poison Kool-Aid. He’s a grown man who made his own decisions, and one of those decisions was to exclude me from his life, because apparently the things we used to do in bed together make the Baby Jesus cry. And that’s fine. All I ask from him is consistency in his decision, because I’m over it. I’m moving on.”
The young and tattooed ballet boy, Milos, and the Elizabethan scholar, Tom, fit very well together, and I bought their incendiary connection and love. Tom cannot believe the gift that is a young and gorgeous Milos. Milos loves the kindness and caring that Tom shows him. The man-lovin’ is a huge bonus. I thought this book was clever in the way the title wraps around the ballet Milos is in and the English lit that Thomas teaches, the quick, passionate and unlikely connection that Milos and Tom forge – these violent delights, indeed. The use of classics is enjoyable and apropos. The book is also laugh-out-loud funny. The banter between Milos and Tom is worth its weight in gold, as are their individual thoughts, touching words and moments, as well as some very current social commentary and pop culture.
There were some personal hurdles for me to overcome with this book. There’s the skirting of a GFY plot, not a favourite of mine. Milos can be vein and appear a bit haughty, it took me a little bit to warm up to him. The word bi should have been more visible, but, anyway, the book made short shrift of the obstacles. I got to see a sweet force of nature that is Milos, and Tom, who is hurting, gets to stop worrying about what other people think and like who he is. They each get something they never thought likely. I also found myself laughing in the best possible way through things that might have been ridiculous in someone else’s hands.
The book hits some minor turbulence but all books have something you can say that about if you’re looking. There could have been a slightly tighter edit around the latter part of the book, nothing major, just little things, a word here or there, a sub plot that could have been neater and more deft in its handling. I’m not terribly fond of anything strictly romance being more than 250 pages – which is personal – but the things I mention are more than outweighed by my sheer enjoyment of Milos and Tom, bits of ballet, including the feet and dedication, and extra points for naming the talented ballet bad boy Sergei Polunin. Oh, and the Rose Adagio, which is as beautiful as it is difficult. I can understand why Milos wanted to dance after watching Margot Fonteyn dancing in Sleeping Beauty. Then there’s the easy acceptance of his fluid sexuality by Milos, there was no drama around it. I liked the crazy moments, just the guys overall, and their passionate burgeoning relationship – screw the moderate approach to love, Friar Lawrence, give me passion and give me unbridled joy, life is too short. I loved how quickly I ate this story up. The pages flew on by.
Both MCs get a POV.
It’s set in a smaller no-name New England town
There are secrets on both sides. Because some readers need to know, Milos webcamming is one. It isn’t on page a great deal, mostly the beginning. He doesn’t do much with it after he’s met Tom. However, it’s there, but there is no sex with anyone else. Just adding this for readers who need to know.
These Violent Delights is an absolute delight and I hope the author continues storytelling, I really do. This is their first book, to my knowledge, and it’s so, so good. There’s much to like about Jess Whitecroft’s general writing style. I can’t help but think had this been released through a publisher, or maybe with some fanfare, it would be whipping up a bit more reader interest than it currently is. It deserves a decent readership. If you like a funny, age difference, smooshy, super sexy, happy-endings contemporary gay romance, then here’s your book.
I had so much fun reading this, it’s entertaining, it’s super hot, and it’s a definite re-reader. Milos and Tom were three dimensional, witty, sometimes acerbically so, charming – but not without flaws – and they made me care for them both a great deal. Secondary characters, particularly Milos’ friends, value-add. I was more than pleasantly surprised at how good These Violent Delights was. If you like the sound of the book grab a copy and give it read. It entertained me from the beginning until the end and I read it in one sitting, a rarity nowadays. For the sheer entertainment, for this book’s fun, irreverence, intelligence, heat, and joie de vivre – 5 Stars!