Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dark & Dazzling by Elizabeth Varlet

Z doesn't need a hero…

Azariah "Z" Hayes is a diamond. Equal parts strength and sparkle, he's more than capable of standing on his own stilettos. So if waiting tables and stripping at The Vibe are what it takes to keep a roof over his head, well, there are worse ways to earn a living.

Connelly is a white knight with a badge…

For NYPD detective Connelly Reid, to serve and protect is just another day at the office—even if that means protecting himself from his own true desires. He's been curious about Z, his waiter, for months, but it's not until he sees him in his makeup and heels that the curiosity becomes a fierce attraction. Z, despite all his over-the-top dazzle, might just be the man Connelly has been waiting for his entire life.

But when Connelly investigates underground porn and drug activity with ties to The Vibe, one thing becomes very clear—acting on what he knows is going to hurt Z, financially and emotionally. And though Connelly would love nothing more than to fix all of Z's problems, no amount of mind-blowing sex can make Z comfortable becoming dependent on his lover. Yet if there's one thing Connelly knows from his years on the force, it's this: when things go bad, you need a trusted partner to have your back.

Add to Goodreads

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The second book in this series firmly establishes Varlet’s Sassy Boyz as some of today’s sexiest, most original m/m characters. Sadly, in this story, there is a little less dance and a little less camaraderie between the Boyz than there was in the first book. I was once again mesmerised by the Boyz and I easily fell in love with both Azariah and his cop.

There are possibly a few too many similarities between the first two books in the series. Like Ansel, gender fluid Azariah is matched with a solid alpha male who isn’t exactly flying the rainbow flag. In this story, Connor is a vaguely closeted cop. While the romance between Connor and Z is darker and more difficult than the relationship between Fitz and Ansel, Ansel and Z struggle with many similar issues with their families and finances.

This book is very intense, very angsty, and very dark. Connor and Z’s relationship pushed me out of my comfort zone with some dubious consent and behaviour that could be considered abuse. But alternately, there are some really beautiful scenes between these two men. Varlet is a wonderful writer and it is only her skill with words and characters that keeps this story from being overwhelmingly heavy. Despite some chilling themes and difficult scenes, I finished the book remembering some very sweet and quirky moments.

I am really enjoying this series and I love the author’s writing. And the Sassy Boyz are fantastic. I’ve been fangirling over Yanis Marshall and Matthew Bourne videos since the first book came out and I went to see the Ballet Boyz after reading this story. I have to recommend this series to anyone who loves dance and the idea of beautiful boys in stilettos.

This is the second book in the series – and book one was very good too, so I would recommend that you read them in order. However, this would still be an excellent read on its own.

Azariah is a really interesting character, with a difficult past, and thanks to his roommate bailing on him, he may be losing his fairly comfortable present. I love how he is described, and it is easy to imagine him on stage dancing with his flowing mane of dark hair. He is a caring guy, and risks his own safety to solve the problems of others. When he sees Connelly at The Vibe, rather than serving him in the diner, little does he expect that this will be the beginning of something big – because he doesn't do relationships. However, the heat between them is something neither want to let go. As the two men face a number of challenges on top of Z's reluctance to take help, we get to see the seedier, underground side of life in NY. There are some quite tense moments facing both men, and things could easily spiral out of control. And both men are all about control – so it gets pretty messy.

This is a sensual, sexy read, with a good level of drama and miscommunication – I recommend it to you.

Also Available in the Sassy Boyz Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca

For reviews & more info, check out our Fierce & Fabulous post.

Elizabeth Varlet is a thirtysomething newly married world-traveler who devours books like they were candy. A nerd at heart, she spends way too many hours bingeing on episodes of her favorite television shows and dreaming of the day she can adopt a dog—whom she’s already named.

She started writing stories in high school and hasn’t stopped. Now her characters like to get frisky under the covers. Or the stars, or in a car, or up against the wall—they’re not picky.

Elizabeth believes in love of all shapes and sizes and wants nothing more than to share the beauty in the form of stories.

Connect with Elizabeth

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Google+  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Dark & Dazzling (Sassy Boyz #2) by Elizabeth Varlet to read and review.

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