Frank Sinclair is all about pleasure. He’s into hot, no strings attached sex and there’s a different man in his bed every night. He’s convinced love does not exist, and that’s fine by him. Frank also has a thing for bad boys. When he sees those men in orange jumpsuits picking up trash along the highway, he gets very excited. There’s one man, though. He’s the hottest man Frank’s ever seen, and when they lock eyes, Frank has fuel for every future fantasy he’ll ever have. One day, at gas station across from his apartment building, Frank sees his mystery man in orange (only he’s not wearing orange this time…just a pair of skin tight spandex bike pants). Well, Frank being Frank drives up next to his bad boy and propositions him.
Roy Ingalls is that bad boy…only he’s not really bad. He just did something stupid that now affects everything in his life. Poor Roy, he isn’t sure about his sexuality. He’s dated and had sex with women, but he just doesn’t understand the big deal his buddies make out of it. He thinks he might be gay, but he’s not sure about that either, and if he is, he fears what society (and his family) will think of him. When he sees the gorgeous guy in the Miata convertible, and when that gorgeous guy propositions him, Roy decides to go for it…just to see if he is indeed gay.
The two men head to Frank’s place and they have magnificent sex. The best they both have ever had. After Roy leaves, he and Frank can’t stop thinking about each other…so much so that Frank decides to break his “one and done” rule. Soon, they begin to develop feelings for each other, and that leaves them confused. Also, a series of events tear them apart, and now they need to get past that and decide if it’s worthwhile to be together.
I quite liked Orange. What’s not to like? A naïve man who’s just out of jail, a man slut you just know will be reformed, a little angst, dreadful families. It’s a veritable gold mine. The story begins with a bang and takes off at breakneck speed and I was along for the ride.
Frank and Roy were good characters and they were written well. I do have to confess, I didn’t care for Frank at the beginning at all. I didn’t like his attitude toward relationships (there is a reason, of course). He was jaded and that most certainly came through in spades, but he grew on me. Roy, on the other hand, was sweet and confused. Is he gay? Is he straight? Is he somewhere in the middle of the Kinsey scale? He’d been taken advantage of by a former girlfriend and he paid for that mistake. I immediately felt sorry for him, and at least in the first few chapters, I thought he was too good for Frank.
I loved their slow fall for each other. There was a lot of amazing sex, but it took Frank and Roy awhile before they realized they were falling in love. Roy was more accepting of that than Frank. Both men had family issues. Roy was afraid he’d let them all down if he was gay. His homophobic uncle and cousin made him especially afraid. Frank was raised by a single father after being abandoned by his mother. He was a serial womanizer and didn’t care what that was doing to Frank. Frank was torn between love and disgust for the man. As we get closer to the end, both Frank and Roy each have a pivotal experience that makes them question everything about who they are. Frank’s was especially emotional. I don’t want to give a lot away, but I will say things aren’t all they seemed to be as far as his mother is concerned.
As far as background characters, there were Roy’s mother, aunt, grandma, the homophobic uncle and cousin, and one more cousin who was kind of a bitch (well, maybe more than kind of). Also, his ex girlfriend, the one that led him to jail, made an appearance. Man, was she a piece of work. Frank had his friends, Cody and Harry, a married couple who lived in the apartment building. They served as a bit of comic relief. Frank’s father, Glen, and his mother were very important to the story. They were all well written, and as fleshed out as could be without them getting in the way. Once again, I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say Roy walks in on something that leaves him so flustered, it was really funny. However, it’s the most helpful thing that could have happened to him. You’ll just have to read the book to see what I mean.
All in all, I really enjoyed Orange. It was exactly what I needed on a sleepless night. I didn’t want to put it down, and I read it in one sitting. I’ve read other books by B.G. Thomas and liked them a lot. This was no different. I highly recommend it, especially for fans of redemption. I thought this one was worth it.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.