Rating: 4 stars
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Kai is a go-go dancer and a porn star with Blue Boy Studios. He is sweet and well liked and a popular bottom, but he is finding himself out of sorts lately. Although he hasn’t quite realized it, his boss and some others have figured out that Kai is just bored with his scenes, as all seem to follow a familiar pattern of being a sweet bottom to a big, power top. When his boss, Jude, and friend, Cam, suggest Kai shake it up and try topping in a scene, he is at first surprised, but soon intrigued.
Matthew is also a dancer at Silver and a model with Blue Boy. He doesn’t usually bottom, but he is interested in working with Kai to try out his topping scene. Cam and Jude suggest Kai and Matthew take their time, get to know one another, and think about their scene. Kai finds himself definitely drawn to Matthew and soon the guys are spending almost every night together, between planning for the scene and Matthew helping Kai study for his GED. As they get to know one another, there definitely seems to be more growing between them than just the camaraderie of the guys at Blue Boy. The men are definitely attracted to one another and begin to act on their feelings, though they are saving the big event for the screen.
While Kai recognizes Matthew’s attraction to him, he is still insecure about Matthew’s feelings. He is beginning to really care about Matthew and want more with him, but he worries Matthew doesn’t want the same. Kai is hoping they can build something together, but he must be sure his insecurities don’t get in the way and ruin everything.
Bold is the third in Garrett Leigh’s Blue Boy series and features the likable Kai who we have met in previously. Kai is cute and blond and adorable and everyone pretty much loves him, but here we see he has a lot more going on. Dyslexia led to him dropping out of high school and he is definitely sensitive about his lack of education and his self perception of not being smart. He lives in a dump of a place and has a mother who doesn’t care much about him. I do wish we got to know him a bit more, so we could really understand some of his insecurities that show up later in the book. But I liked that we see how Kai has a lot hidden underneath his shiny surface. Matthew is sweet as well. He is newer to scene but is a nice guy and kind of geek, which I love. We don’t get to know him as well, but I liked these guys together and I like how Matthew gives Kai the confidence he really needs.
We also reconnect here with some other folks from previous books. Mac and Jude play a big role as mentors to Kai in their new jobs as studio/club owners. I like how they have taken Kai under their wing and are helping him with not just the business side of things, but personal as well. We also see Cam, who is still undergoing his cancer treatment, as well as getting a little time with Sonny and Levi. All three men are close friends with Kai so we get to see their friendship as well as catch up with them a little. I am still finding myself frustrated with the Levi/Sonny plot line, however. For the last two books, we know something is up with them. They seem to be fighting, but we don’t ever see it. We get a lot of meaningful looks between characters that suggest something is up, with no explanation. Sonny shows up late for work or misses it all the time and we don’t know why. All these signs are there that something is happening, but we are getting no real information and nothing is progressing. I feel like two books of these hints with nothing is just too long to drag on the uncertainty and I found myself frustrated that there is no payoff yet or even any real growth on this issue.
I definitely enjoyed this story and really liked Kai and Matthew, but I think the conflict was a little flat here. Much of the book is focused on these guys dealing with their scene. I am not sure that Kai topping for the first time is enough of an issue to really hang so much of the book on, to be honest. I mean, these guys need to spend weeks on figuring out the details of one scene? Is that how they prepare other scenes? I have no idea how this all works, so maybe. But as a reader, I needed something a little juicier. Now the book does cover a lot more than that. We see the growth of the relationship, issues with the other guys, Kai and his GED, and even a bit of conflict toward the end when Kai jumps into misunderstanding mode and freaks out. But I would have liked the central plot to have a bit more to it than just planning a new scene.
Overall I am continuing to enjoy this series, however, and actually think this one felt the most romance-like of all of them. Whereas the first two focused much more on one character than the other, here we spend a lot more time with these guys as a couple. I really liked them both and I am enjoying the community of people involved with Blue Boy. I wished for a bit more zip here plot wise, but I do think this is a nice series and I am looking forward to more.