Review: Rick R. Reed – Tricks (2nd Ed.)

1893793Author: Rick R. Reed
Reviewer:Barb
Publisher:DreamSpinner Press
Genre:M/M Contemporary
ISBN: 9781634761031

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary:
Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three.

Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.

But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.
Review:
When Sean ‘s lover of two years dumps him just when he thought they were going to move in together and cement their relationship, his low self-esteem bottoms out. Knowing he’s not the handsome type and that he’s more likely to be referred to as a geek or a nerd, he decides to go out alone anyway, and he finds himself at Tricks, a Chicago club where male dancers make their living flashing their junk in the faces of eager bar patrons and collecting the bucks the customers stuff in their jocks.

Arliss is one of those gorgeous male dancers but he’s not quite the same as the others. Arliss has dreams of becoming a porn star, and he knows what he needs to do to stay on the path toward his dreams so he doesn’t dabble in drugs, and he doesn’t hookup with the bar patrons, at least not unless there’s more to it than cash. He spots Sean one night and thinks the guy looks cute but lonely, but before Arliss gets done working the room, Sean disappears.

Later that night, Arliss happens upon Sean along the shoreline as Sean had paused there to assess his life. It’s one of Arliss’s favorite after work rest spots, and the two end up talking and then going back to Sean’s apartment where Arliss blows Sean’s socks off. It may seem odd, but there’s a strong attraction between the thirty-something nerd and the twenty-three-year-old dancer. Within a few weeks they are living together, and it’s not until someone offers Arliss a chance to make his porn star dreams come true that Sean is horrified, angry, and unable to continue their relationship.

This isn’t a simple story, however. There are dark, sinister forces at work and the plans the film producers have in mind if they can get Arliss to sign with them are much worse than what they seem to be on the surface. I found myself trying to read while holding a hand in front of my face. Yes, I am a chicken. I don’t like scary movies and apparently that carries through to scary books. The problem here is that I did like the story so I didn’t want to stop, but I was still afraid to keep reading. What a quandary. Of course I continued, and I’m so glad I did, but there were some pretty frightening moments when I feared that Arliss was going to be severely hurt before he managed to find his way back to Sean. The good news is that even geeks and nerds can perform some heroic moves, and Sean displayed that clearly in this story. I don’t want to share any spoilers, but I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by Sean’s support and even though I had to read in between the openings in my fingers as I held my hand to my face, the story was certainly worth finishing.

If you love age-gap, love at first sight, and sweet underrated main characters, you should like this one. And if you are a fan of thrillers, or at least nail-biting suspenseful M/M romance, you will definitely like this one. And as a bonus—THAT cover. Oh my!

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