Throwback Thursday Review: Icon Men series by Cat Grant

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-iconmenboxsetthefirstrealthingappearingnightlyafoolforyou-1682029-166.htmlRating: 3.75 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Icon Men contains three short novels that were previously published separately and are now being sold as a set. The stories are intertwined and set in the nightlife of Manhattan. There is friendship, heartbreak, and laughter to be found on the way to true love.

 

The First Real Thing
Rating: 4 stars

throwback thursdayCameron has been an escort, a prostitute, for the past five years. He is the best at what he does and charges accordingly. He is professional, discreet, and never picks up the wrong guy. Until, he picks up Trevor. Trevor was just having a drink at the bar, but the envelope he had laid out on the bar was a signal, or thought Cameron thought. It’s not until after an apparent date and a trip to Trevor’s hotel room that Cameron realizes his mistake. Cameron knows he should not agree to see Trevor again, but that first night called to him in ways nothing has in years.

Trevor is on a business trip to New York. He is separated from his wife, adjusting to living as a gay man, and he wants to see Cameron again when he is back in town. Cameron is the first man Trevor has been with in sixteen years and he may just find out what Cameron does for a living before Cameron can work up the courage to tell him.

The opening style of this story is a bit different and unique as Cameron is writing on his blog. His successful career has garnered him followers and he talks out to the page as he writes. His blog entries give insight into how he turns off his feelings, gets his job done, and he has a personality that makes you want to keep reading. He finds something one night with Trevor that he has not felt in a long time, real and true desire to be with someone. Cameron carries this story as we see him start to look at his life and try to figure out some other options. Trevor was a bit harder for me to embrace and what it was about him that captivated Cameron so much was harder to feel. The way they meet and then subsequently how Trevor finds out about Cameron’s career (because you know he  has to find out) were aspects that were a little harder to believe. Overall though, Cameron intrigued me and his story is a great start to the series.


Appearing Nightly
Rating: 3.5 stars

Mike, or Diva Michelle, as he is known on the weekends, now officially owns The Icon Bar with his best friend Cameron. He likes to dress up, sing, and stroke his inner diva, but it’s men he has always been interested in, and the man he is interested in now is Ryan. Stolen looks and glances are all Ryan will give Mike and Ryan becomes flustered each and every time he is in Mike’s, and especially Diva Michelle’s, presence. Ryan will keep denying his feelings, until there is no room for denial any longer. The heat between Mike and Ryan ramps up each night they are together, but Ryan is holding back talking about the physical and emotional scars he cannot seem to shake. But the past has a way of coming out and when it’s taken out of context, the relationship Mike and Ryan are building goes up in smoke.

This second story in the series shows Cameron and Mike taking ownership of The Icon. We all know Ryan’s story from the first book, but Mike has no idea what Ryan has been through. The story centers a lot on Mike and his alter ego Diva Michelle. We also see how life is for Cameron and Mike as they struggle to make a go of owning The Icon.

While I enjoyed continuing along the story, I had a harder time fully embracing Ryan or Mike. It becomes clear they are attracted to each other, but Ryan’s attraction to men remained on the periphery for me. He is really lost in life, but his attraction to Mike is not really defined. I was not able to really get a handle on who he was and what his needs really were. Mike is more clearly drawn and the aspects of him and Cameron running The Icon were the parts that drew me in the most. There are POV shifts in the book that are clearly defined and that also creates a more in depth story for me. Sometimes, however, during an inner dialogue the POV character would refer to himself as “I,” and other times he would refer to himself by first name, which was inconsistent. This story overall moved the series forward, but character-wise was harder for me to gravitate toward.


Fool For You
Rating: 3.75 stars

Watching Chase Aubrey play guitar on stage is like nothing Brian has ever seen before, both for Chase’s talent and his looks. However, Brian is faithful to his long time boyfriend Kit. That is until Kit cheats on him and steals the songs they have written together. After a confrontation with Kit, Brian has no choice but to contact his estranged father, Trevor. Trevor is living with Cameron and Brian has a whole lot of anger toward his father and never felt any reason to be civil to Cameron.

Brian seeks out friendship in Chase, but their attraction heats up quickly. Soon they are spending all of their time together until Brian finds out what Chase is hiding from his past. The same past that Chase has tried to bury and forget. With Chase’s past resurfacing, all Brian can think is that once again he’s being played for a fool.

It’s been five years now since we have met Cameron, Trevor, and Trevor’s son Brian. While this is Brian’s story ,there is plenty of time to visit with Cameron, Trevor, and even a bit of Mike and Ryan. The third story ties everyone back together again. The musical aspect of the story is enjoyable. It is also interesting to see, after meeting Brian in the first book as a teen, that he could carry his own story. His life has been centered around Kit for years and then Kit betrays him in so many ways all in the same night. There is a great story line here. We have Brian trying to navigate his relationship with his father and Cameron, the legal troubles he finds himself in, his new relationship with Chase, and then the fall out over Chase’s past. The main issue here is that the length of the story is shorter and there is not enough time to properly address all of the issues and offer closure, most notably the aspects involving Kit. Trevor here still is hard to embrace as he knocks down Brian and his musical aspirations. Brian is fairly immature at the start of the story, but there is evidence of him growing up and moving on with life throughout the story. It is a great wrap up to the entire series as Cameron once again is a center focal point and all of the guys get their HEA.

 

The Icon Series offers diverse characters and the men they love. What is great about the series packaged together is that you can move from one story to the next and there is no loss of continuity and the stories really flow well into each other. The series offers contemporary stories that are easy to read and a familiar setting that continues to evolve as much as the men themselves.

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