Publisher: Totally Bound Publishers
ISBN: 978 1 78430 0951 1
Genre: Romance, Thriller, M/M, Novella
Book Format: E-book
Obtained via: Publisher
Reviewed by: Helena Stone, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam is an eighteen year old comic book geek from a wealthy family and doesn’t have a real care in the world. Good looking, smart and working for his father, the world is his oyster. While in Las Vegas with his friend Dean to finalize a real estate deal, Adam’s only concern is his virginity and how best to lose it.
Javier Campos is exactly the type of man Adam’s attracted to. The fact that he’s a hustler doesn’t make a difference for Adam. In fact, Javier’s experience makes Adam’s first time a lot better than he could have hoped for.
Adam’s time in Vegas is perfect until he and Dean fall foul of two men who rape and rob them. Their subsequent run in with two corrupt cops leaves Dean dead and Adam on the run. When Javier comes to Adam’s rescue it gives the two young men an opportunity to get to know each other without money exchanging hands. The attraction is clear. But will it be enough to overcome the fast differences between them?
This has been one of the harder books to review. I gave it sometime after finishing the book but still find myself very much in two minds.
On the one hand this is a sweet and thrilling story. I loved Adam and Javier together. Their backgrounds and life experiences are completely different and yet the hustler Javier is exactly what Adam needs when he decides to lose his virginity. When Javier later turns into Adam’s safe-haven and rescuer the differences between them, while still there, don’t appear so big anymore. And the optimistic ending made me smile. Writing a happily ever after for two eighteen year olds would have been over the top. Giving them the opportunity to discover if they could work as a couple was just what the story needed.
But then there is the other side of the coin, which can basically be summarized as: this book was too short for all the story elements it contained.
First allow me to make clear that I do not have an issue with short stories or novellas in general. In fact, shorter pieces of fiction are often exactly what I’m looking for. I do however want those shorter books to give me the full story. In Vegas Shuffle I had the feeling a lot of story had been left out to keep it short. This issue becomes very clear when Adam more or less forgets about Dean dying once he is with Javier. He tells his story and then just gets on with life and his sexual awakening. I didn’t need him to wallow in grief but one or two references to a pang of pain when he remembers his friend would not have gone amiss.
A lot of the story felt rushed and could have done with more detail. In fact, the timing only seemed right in the sex scenes. They gave all the detail you’d expect, were well written, beautiful and at times touching. Almost every other story element – the encounter with the two men who rob Adam and Dean, the situation with the cops when Dean dies and the final confrontation with those cops - deserved to have more story dedicated to it in my opinion. I would also have loved a better insight into Javier’s motivation, especially when it comes to his final decision.
Overall, and despite my reservations, this was an easy and quick read. In a roundabout way my wishing there had been more to this story is a compliment to the author. This is a decent story that could have been very good if it had been given about twice the number of pages.
This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.