ARC Review: Lou Harper – Secrets and Bow Ties (Secrets #3)

secretsAuthor: Lou Harper
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Mm Contemporary
ISBN: 9781619226289

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Release date: 5/19/15

Summary: Who said nerdy can’t be sexy?

Self-confessed gold digger Dylan Price is cooling his heels as a waiter at a trendy West Hollywood restaurant, waiting for the sugar daddy of his dreams to walk through the doors. Someone rich, sophisticated. Preferably old.

Bookish Simon Wainwright couldn’t be further from Dylan’s ideal. Aside from his terrible fashion sense, Simon suffers from a glaring lack of a Beverly Hills mansion. And he’s barely over thirty!

Dylan, however, isn’t made of stone. Coincidence, an obscene candle, even Simon’s dorky cardigan compel him to give the shy academic a very special birthday gift, which Dylan files away as a one-night stand. But when Dylan’s quest lands him in hot water, he runs to Simon to hide.

The two take off for Las Vegas, where Dylan takes upon himself to give Simon a complete makeover. For reasons he can’t comprehend, Dylan begins to reevaluate his life—and what he holds most dear. But with danger not far behind, he might be too late.

Warning: Contains a nightclub where the staff is as hot as the food, a waiter with a smart mouth (in more ways than one), a nerdy college professor, Vegas “boylesque” shows, and lots of smexy times.

Review: This is the third installment of the Secrets series but is easily read as a standalone. I myself have not read the first two and felt I was missing nothing.

Dylan is a waiter who chose his restaurant for a specific reason. To find a man. So Dylan is very upfront about what he is looking for in a man. He wants someone rich and old so that after he puts in a bit of time, the old guy will kick off and leave Dylan set for life. Just in time for Dylan’s looks to fade. As you read Dylan’s philosophy on life, it’s very easy to think he’s an opportunist. But Dylan is more than that – he’s got a past that makes this plan seem the best thing ever.

When he meets Simon, he really shouldn’t even be considering talking to the man. Simon isn’t rich and isn’t much older than Dylan. He favors bow-ties (loved that!), has an “unfortunate haircut..and glasses that were totally wrong for his face”, and he’s sort of shy and quite a bit of a nerd. The man has a bow tie collection for heaven’s sake. But that doesn’t stop the spark between them, even though Dylan knows it can’t really go anywhere. The dinner where they meet, Dylan is the waiter and he flirts, then is encouraged by Simon’s friends to flirt more. Yep, he does. Turns out, it’s Simon’s birthday and they want him to enjoy it. He and Dylan definitely do.

Being Dylan though, he has to move on and it’s his unfortunate luck (or unfortunate choice) to target someone who looked the part, Ed. Dylan should have trusted his initial instinct when meeting the guy at work, which were “a peculiar sensation of dread”. But he didn’t and so the bad stuff begins. Dylan ends up in a precarious situation and he can’t stay where he is.

He goes to Simon for help and they end up going off to Vegas, which was such a great read. Dylan has a Simon makeover and we get to see the stuff Dylan hides inside. When he tells Simon he reminds him of Mr. Rogers, well, that was the sweetest. Especially since Simon is just the loveliest of characters.

As the suspense builds, the story becomes more of a thriller tied in with the romance. The author manages to make the bad guys bad without going over the top. I was worried once or twice how it was going to work but it did. I liked the way we get to see the “real” Dylan and his reasons for being like he is. Secondary characters, especially Teague, are strong. The evolution of Simon and Dylan’s relationship makes for a good time and the criminal aspect keeps you on your toes. I had a good time reading it. Recommended.

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