As Trevor Hardball, Evan Day is a porn star. He enjoys it, he’s good at it, and it’s a good job. And it’s the reason he’s been surviving the past five years, ever since the Marine Corps kicked him out after his sexual orientation was discovered. Evan carries a lot of baggage, and he knows he has some issues. But he likes his job and he’s almost happy. When Evan meets Riley Yeats in a bar, there’s something about the man that catches his interest, even though Riley is not his usual type. Riley sees him home, and invites him out the next day. But after they sleep together, Riley shuts down and Evan leaves.
Evan can’t get Riley out of his head, but he goes about his life. He does some porn shoots and meets with friends. He wants to see Riley again. When Evan reports to a shoot in Florida, he’s shocked to discover that the man he is supposed to shoot his scene with looks an awful lot like the lover and best friend he lost to an IED. Evan thinks he can muscle through, but tragedy strikes and leaves Evan reeling. On the heels of that, an attempted reconciliation with his mother goes horribly wrong. Evan leans on his best friend Cory, and tries to see Riley again. But Riley has his walls up, and even though they manage to connect again, Evan points out some truths Riley isn’t ready to hear.
Things go from bad to worse when Evan meets with his parents and finds out they’ve been keeping a huge secret. His anger leads him to lash out, and his father moves to strike him, but his mother gets in the way. She’s injured, and even though it was truly an accident, Evan feels responsible. He makes a bad choice in the next job he takes, and it goes horribly wrong. Evan is terribly injured and ends up in the hospital. But it is the catalyst that starts to set Evan’s life right again, with his parents and with Riley.
All right, you guys, I have to be honest here and tell you I’m not exactly sure how to review this book. It was very good, the writing was tight and sharp, the pacing rather good, and the story intriguing and engaging. But I can’t classify it as a traditional romance. And I definitely had a few quibbles with it.
This is Evan’s story, through and through. He’s on a journey toward healing, though he doesn’t even realize it. He’s been existing for the past five years, and fairly content, if not entirely happy. His life crashed down around him and he lost everything: his family, his military career, and his lover. Fortunately he had Cory to shore him up and look after him, and Cory’s boyfriend Jimmy to introduce him to porn. Evan is a complex and well-crafted character. This man has layers like you wouldn’t believe. I loved him, and I loved watching him expand and learn and grow as the story progressed. Talk about character growth; this guy has it in spades.
I loved the way Connor portrayed Evan. I appreciated that he liked his job, and that he was good at it. It was just a job, one he did well, and was proud of. I liked that he was broken, but still strong and solid underneath. Evan will capture your heart and have you rooting for him from the very beginning.
But I didn’t have a few quibbles. Riley is Evan’s love interest, but we don’t see a whole lot of him. We barely get to know him. Because of their limited contact, I really appreciated that there were no big love declarations here. At the end, you know these two guys are going to give a relationship a go. But I’m not sure how they will continue to work together. The story ends with them feeling like it’s very much at the beginning. Though I do feel they have a solid foundation now to build on, I would have liked to see more of their romance on page.
The sex in this book is blistering hot. But most of it is Evan in scenes at work, and not with Riley. In fact, the more descriptive scenes were porn scenes, and Evan and Riley together were not shown as much. This both worked for me, as it showed the differences in Evan and really added depth to his character, and didn’t work, because I felt it detracted from the romance building between Evan and Riley.
I also felt like a lot of bad stuff happened to Evan, some of it fairly tragic. It dipped into the unbelievable realm for me, and pulled me out of the story just a bit when yet another thing happened. Again, some of it definitely added to the story. At the end, it really served as a catalyst to move things to a happier place. There were just occasions when I wished it didn’t have to be so severe. Though the ending felt a tad rushed to me, I did end the book feeling like a complete story had been told.
Overall, I enjoyed it. And with certainty I can say Unfortunate Son is aptly named and worth a read. Moreover, it’s the first of a series and I will definitely be picking up the next book.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.