Clare LondonChase the AceAmber Allure, December 16, 2012 | 90 pages
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Newly single in his late twenties, and looking for more fun than he gets from his boring job, Daniel Cross soon discovers the lure of social media. After a few hiccups, he's excited at the chance of tracking down his old mates from the Scorching Summer Sports Club of 1990. He lost touch with his "Gang of Four" after that summer, but now he launches a personal quest to find out what kind of man each boy has become.
It starts well with a link to the first boy's current address, through a mutual friend on Facebook, until Dan realises he's been chatting online to the wrong man–Nick Carson isn't an old school friend at all. It's a genuine mistake, and Nick isn't offended. He offers to accompany Dan on the trip to find the others. It's the first step to friendship and something more for both of them.
For Dan, the reunions with the "Gang of Four" range from startling, heartening and disturbing. Nick's company is a constant support, though neither of them are prepared for the exposure of personal secrets that they'd thought were long-hidden. Dan begins to suspect that he's really looking for a direction in his own life–and the excitement and purpose he craves may be closer to home than a quest with its roots in a boyhood dream.
Genre & Keywords: M/M Romance, Contemporary, Road Trip, Self-Discovery, Drag Queen, Gay Bashing, Denial, Reunions, Old School Friends, Quest, Secrets, Sexual Dominance, England
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 2.5 out of 3 flames
This is an engaging novella about a quest, a journey of self-discovery, that had me intrigued from the first to the last page. Main characters are Dan and Nick, who didn't know each other but hooked up by mistake via Facebook and decided to start Dan's personal quest together. Their road trip takes them to three old school friends with whom Dan formed a 'Gang of Four' during Summer camp years ago when they where all still young. Dan wants to find out how the lives of his gay friends have turned out, especially since his own life has come to a crossroad after he broke up with his boyfriend (and other boring habits). Nick turns out to be on his own personal quest too.
The three little reunions get us introduced to a drag queen performer, a happily married man (albeit to a suffocating husband) and an aggressive gay guy in denial who is married to a woman. These side characters were portrayed very well and in a colorful manner. All three represent some sort of unexpected scenario for Dan, none of them seem to be very idealistic to him. His quest started out as an attempt to find some answers about these guys and especially about what happened one day during that summer when they were playing the card game Chase the Ace. And although the three men don't seem to have the answer for him, their life stories make Dan realize that he is really looking for a direction in his own life anyway. And in that sense his road trip turns out to be rather successful.
Not unimportant is Nick's presence during Dan's journey of self-discovery. There is an undeniable attraction between the two from the start, on which they act too. This leads to very hot nights. Nick's dominance in bed is unexpectedly sexy and I would've loved to see more of that. But they have great chemistry outside of the bedroom as well. Their interactions are pretty entertaining and I liked their heated disagreements too. As I said, Nick turns out to have his own discoveries to make during their road trip as well, which all leads to a gratifying wrap up for both of them.
This story is set in England, in the area of London, although I can't say that the characters strike me as typical British. But this might be different for an American reader perhaps. I really like the writing style of this author, and she outshines in writing dialogues and three-dimensional characters. It makes this novella not only an entertaining but also a pleasant read. This, combined with the engrossing plot, the hot chemistry and the well-executed topic of the quest, definitely results in a recommended read!