Tricks, Rick R. Reed
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Age Difference (Arliss is 21 and Sean is 37), Contemporary, Opposites Attract, Porn Industry, Romance, Male Stripper, Thriller
Stop by On Top Down Under between October 29th and October 31st when Rick R. Reed will be stopping by with a giveaway of an e-copy of Tricks to help us celebrate our 3rd blog-versary! You can find the giveaway here.
Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three.
Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.
But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.
First Edition published by ManLove Romance Press, 2010.
I have to get this out of the way first – it’s stories like Tricks that keep me going back to Rick R. Reed’s books. You may think you know what’s going to happen, but the author always throws the reader for a loop before it’s all said and done. I gave this book 5 “Edge of My Seat” Stars. If you read this, you’ll know why. You really don’t know what will be happening next and you’ll find yourself scared to turn the page. That was me completely with this book once the second part began.
With that being said –
Arliss is a popular dancer at a bar appropriately called Tricks. Good looking and hung, he always gets loads of tips, and if it makes him feel a bit sleazy at times, what of it? It’s good money and the customers at the bar seem to love him. It’s also all he’s good at, in his opinion. He didn’t have the best of childhoods (that’s an understatement, to put it mildly) and he has no real education or skills. Why not give the pervy men their kicks while pretending to get off on all the attention? He shares a tiny apartment with a couple of other guys, but he’s never felt at home there. It’s pretty much just a place to lay his head after a long night dancing at the bar. His roommates also get into a lot of things that Arliss shies away from… with drugs being one of them. He may screw around with a lot of guys, but he doesn’t do drugs. This was learned in his childhood.
Then we meet Sean. Sean is thirty-seven and has just been dumped by his long term boyfriend, Jerome. While Sean was thinking that he and Jerome shared the same dreams in regards to their relationship, Jerome was thinking he wanted to get out and do his own thing. A few days after the break-up, Sean steps inside Tricks. He’s passed the place before but he’s never even been tempted to walk inside. It’s not exactly the kind of place that straight-laced, somewhat nerdy (in a good way) Sean would be patronizing. He orders a drink at the bar and watches the young, blond man dancing only feet in front of him. There’s something about the guy that sucks him in. The dancer definitely gets him aroused. He’s beautiful and from the bulge in the front of his g-string, it’s pretty obvious the much younger man has been blessed by the cock gods. (Sorry… couldn’t resist…) 😉 The dancer notices Sean too, but he has to finish his routine before he can attempt to speak with him. Unfortunately one of the other customers does something to Arliss that disgusts Sean and has him rushing out into the night. This, of course, saddens Arliss in a way because he had felt something when he looked at him before he took off.
At the end of Arliss’ shift, he goes where he knows he can have some peace. Unlike the other dancers, he doesn’t get wound up after a set. He gets depleted. The last thing he wants to do is go back to his apartment where there are probably a lot of guys doing things he’s not in the mood for. When he shows up at his favorite place to unwind, he sees the man who’d run out of the bar not long before. The other guy looks as if he lost his best friend. Knowing that seeing the same man again – in a big city full of a lot of people – could only be a sign, he makes a move. This begins Arliss and Sean’s unique story.
Sean and Arliss are as different as night and day. While Sean was raised in an accepting home with loving parents, Arliss was treated as scum by those who should’ve loved him unconditionally. Sean is a businessman where Arliss does (and has done) whatever needs to be done to survive. Sean wants the white picket fence (so to speak) and a faithful partner. Arliss wants those things too, but what happens when he’s offered an opportunity to follow a dream he’s had since he moved to Chicago? Does he risk losing the man he loves or does he take a chance and hope things work out in the end? Unfortunately Arliss trusts the wrong person and gets involved in something he might not be able to get out of. This is where the story became a huge rollercoaster ride and I was scared to turn the pages of the book to see what would be happening next.
Sean had a few bonehead moments that had me shaking my head. Arliss is so naive that he couldn’t see what was right in front of him a couple of times. In the end, the two turned out to be perfect for each other. I love books with characters who have a substantial age difference and I really love how the author brought these two very different men together. The first half is a ‘getting to know you’ type of story. As for the second half, get ready because you’re taken on a ride that will have you hoping for the best but expecting the worst.
Outstanding book. Highly recommended.
I love the cover. Throughout the entire book I could picture this model in my head as Arliss. It’s perfect.
This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange for a fair and honest review.