Title : Stray
Author : Ash Penn
Publisher : Loose Id (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Contemporary
Length : 243 pages (e-book)
Published : June 29, 2010
Rating : ★★★★1/2
Bar worker and serial slut Terry Seymour is hardly charm personified when it to romance. In fact, he doesn’t believe in love at all despite his latent desire for his best friend of fourteen years, builder Marc Pierce.
Dan Hutchinson is a young homeless man living in a derelict house Marc’s halfway to renovating. When Marc announces Dan’s moving in for a while, Terry is understandably miffed. After all, it hasn’t been that long since Marc split with his boyfriend of a year, so why is he intent on bringing a total stranger into their home?
It seems to Terry there’s more to this arrangement than meets the eye. Marc must be providing Dan with food and lodgings in exchange for sex. And with the lusty vibes Dan sends his way, it’s not long before Terry succumbs to the boy’s talents between the sheets. But carrying on with Dan behind his best friend’s back is not easy. Or desirable. And when Terry’s plans to oust Dan fail, he’s the one who finds himself out in the cold.
Have you ever read a book that you have loved – but cannot pinpoint what, exactly, you loved about it? This book is that book to me. For a big part of the book I hated ALL of the MC’s. It also has one of my most hated tropes – cheating. Yet… at the end of the book, looking back at the story arc, I find that I loved the whole damn story – of course hindsight is a wonderful thing … and, sure, reading the back page when you are only 32% in kinda makes a mockery of hindsight, per se. But still.
First up is Terry, and he is a dick to the nth degree! Normally I like a bit of swagger, a bit of “prickery” if you will 😉 but he really takes the cake, and licks his lips after eating it! He is a slut that gives in to his wanton whims all the time, (again, a trait I normally love in my fictional fellas). He has been sharing a house with Mark who has had a real bad run of late, both romantically and on the family front. So Terry is there for him, helping him get through it all. Sure, he hopes to get the ultimate reward of Mark being upgraded from bestfriend to boyfriend – but that doesn’t undermine the fact that he genuinely wants Mark to be happy. One morning Terry comes downstairs to find Mark mauling a cute young boy on the kitchen counter; oh Hell no! This is not going to happen! Terry is not going to lose Mark again! So he determines to end it before it has a chance to start, by (you guessed it!) bedding the cute young boy himself, just to show Mark how Dan aka Goldilocks cannot be trusted, of course. This is where I got kinda pissy with the author and the characters and just about stopped reading! I hate cheating and even the premise of cheating puts me off. I felt so bad for Mark at the mere thought of his so-called best friend making a play for someone he brought home – irrelevant of whether it was a one night stand or not. Anyway enough of that for now . . .
Next we have Mark, and he is just so sweet and loving and trusting and you know that means he is also a wee bit thick! Seriously. Anyway he had his heart broken by Bradley – and I would love a book that fills in all the nitty gritty details of that story! Mark is a bricklayer and he finds this young lad in this derelict house he is refurbishing, and Mark being the sweet lummox that he is brings Dan home with him. Does he expect some sexual favours in return for his kindness? Does he just want to fill the void that Bradley left? Does he see a bit of his dead brother in Dan? You will have to read the book . . .
Finally we have Dan. And he truly is a conundrum. He is so young and sweet, with big eyes and curly blonde hair – as cherubic as cherubic can be ….. appearances can be so deceiving 😉 He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth – but Mother is not happy that her only son is gay, so the spoon has been ripped from poor Dan and all kinds of awful thoughts placed in his head – he tries so hard to not be gay. To convince himself it is wrong, and it is just so sad. Another reason for Terry to up his game, and convince Dan that there is nothing wrong with enjoying being with a man. Especially when it’s him. This is also just to show Mark what a mistake he is making by taking Dan in. Of course. The sex is plentiful that’s for sure, and really very well written. Smexy as hell!
So without giving away too much of the plot – that’s your lot! 3 guys – but NOT a threesome. One prize – but who is it? Terry wants Mark. Mark wants Dan. Dan wants Terry. It was almost farcical in places, and at times it read like a Carry On Movie script…. “Carry On Coming” 🙂 But I really loved it. Go, Buy the Book!
Rated 4.5 stars by Barb