Book Reviews

Second Star to the Right by A.F. Henley at JMS Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 07-November-2019

Book Blurb

Be it unrequited fascination with his straight best friend or impossible fantasies of rekindled interest with his heartbreaking ex, Mason has no clue why the perfect connection seems to keep slipping through his fingers. When another lonely holiday seems like too much weight to shoulder, Mason gives up on romance and seeks out the next best thing -- rented company. Jack is everything a person could want in an escort: willing, hot, and built like an angel.

Mason can't resist. After all, who wouldn't be interested in a guy who loves kid's movies, is a self-professed Peter Pan, and has no problem throwing caution to the wind at a moment's notice. But then interest quickly blooms into a whole new emotion -- an emotion that Mason knows far too well, especially when Jack has no interest in returning it, preferring to keep his heart safely tucked away in Neverland.

First edition published by Less Than Three Press, February 2014.

Book Review

“The second star to the right, shines in the night for you. To tell you that the dreams you plan really can come true...The second star to the right, shines with a light that's rare;...Lead me to the land I dream of and when our journey is through, each time we say "Goodnight", we'll thank the little star that shines, the second from the right.” ~ 'Peter Pan' - Music and Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Sammy Cahn

To the casual observer, it would seem that Mason has it all; he's handsome, accommodating, owns his own company, and is wealthy—but as John Lennon sang: “Money can't buy me love.” Mason is tired of casual hookups and yearns for someone he can settle down with, but no matter how hard he tries, he can't find someone like that. It may be because he's looking at the wrong men, ones who are unavailable in one way or the other, like his straight friend, Greg, who talks him into hiring an escort. It's not perfect, but at least he won't be taking another vacation alone.

My heart went out to Mason immediately. Mason is kind, sincere, generous, and has a heart of gold. He's a bit old-fashioned in the very best of ways, i.e., courteous, nurturing, and considerate. I love that he didn't rush into bed with Jack even though that is obviously what Jack expected him to do. Even though Jack is a rent boy, he treats him with respect and gratitude, to the point where Jack feels he has to remind Mason that he's the one paying for Jack's services not the other way around. Mason wants to get to know Jack first which goes against Jack's rules. Mason watches Jack and sees what he is doing by trying to keep his distance and refuses to let it interfere with his desire for closeness. It's not just the sex with Mason, it's companionship and closeness he wants. On the other hand, Mason's self-esteem is surprisingly low, particularly for a man of his status. He has a bad habit of putting other people's feelings before his own, letting other people decide for him whether he agrees or not.  He's also forgiving to a fault, even when the circumstances don't warrant it. Being considerate is nice to a point, but when it undermines what you want and need, it's self-destructive.

From the moment Jack spoke to Mason, he's obnoxious and rude. When he starts spitting out his rules, I wanted smack him. Hot or not, I seriously wondered why Mason didn't thrown Jack out on his ear and tell him to just forget it. I didn't understand why Mason took the abuse without complaining.  Jack is trying way too hard to be obnoxious, putting distance between himself and Mason, particularly when it came to anything remotely emotional. He shoots down every attempt Mason makes to treat him with respect by calling himself a whore. He likes his life, his freedom, and his job, but shows by his actions that he's conflicted and scared of what's going to happen when he can no longer continue as he is now. That's when I decided that someone must have hurt him badly for him to react to kindness in such an atypical manner.

One of my favorite elements in this story is the fact that neither Mason nor Jack is stereo-typed. Mason isn't portrayed as the ruthless, cold-hearted businessman and Jack is not shown as bowing down to whatever Mason's wishes are. I loved Mason right away. He's is a wonderfully damaged character, as is Jack, although it took me a little longer to warm up to him. The sex scenes were tastefully written, showing the vulnerability of two very sensual men in a way that words could not have done. I recommend this book to those who like to read stories with great character development and love hard-won. Thanks, A.F., for the emotionally satisfying story.





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 42969 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 06-November-2019
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link