Victor Newcomb is 24 years old and runs a multibillion dollar company. He feels incredible pressure to be the best son and the best executive and it’s stressing him out to the point that his health is suffering. When Vic’s friend books him a massage to help him relax, Vic isn’t prepared for his reaction to the gorgeous masseuse, Amani Idrissi. Vic has never been interested in men before (though to be honest, he is so busy he doesn’t have relationships with women either), but something about the beautiful, elegant man just draws Vic in.
Vic is just the kind of man that Amani hates — rich, privileged, and seemingly unaware of how the rest of the world lives. When Vic inadvertently insults Amani, that should be the end of things, but Vic’s apology, and their subsequent realization of their mutual interest in cello, leads to the men reconnecting. Amani was a cello prodigy, but hasn’t played in years. And Vic would love to learn more about playing and offers to pay for lessons. Amani doesn’t really want anything to do with Vic, but he and is mother are struggling and he needs money for college tuition, so he reluctantly agrees to give Vic lessons.
As the men meet for cello lessons, it is clear that there is an attraction between them as well. Vic would love to explore more with Amani as he is finding himself with unexpected feelings toward the man. Amani also recognizes how much Vic is craving submission and his desires fit perfectly with Amani’s dominant side. However, there is no way a relationship between them could work. These men are too different and Vic represents the kind of person Amani has always resented. But when Vic offers to pay Amani for his sexual services, Amani realizes this could be the solution to his money problems, as well as helping to keep things between them strictly transactional.
Of course things don’t work out quite that easily, as the men turn out to be a perfect fit in the bedroom. Each man is also facing some personal demons and as they get to know one another, they each help the other grow and work through their issues. But while Vic is clear he would like something real with Amani, Amani is still holding Vic at arm’s length, uncertain if Vic can ever be the right man for him. Now that these guys are falling for one another, they must figure out if they can bridge the gap between them and make a real relationship work.
His Cocky Cellist is the second book in Cole McCade’s Undue Arrogance series. It follows His Cocky Valet, which I didn’t read, and I had absolutely no problem jumping in here. The books connect in that Vic is best friends with one of the MCs from that first story, but other than a cameo at the start, this book totally stands alone so you can easily begin here.
I loved watching the relationship develop between Vic and Amani. They are quite different in just about every way. On top of that, Vic represents pretty much everything that Amani hates. Not to mention that Vic has no awareness of his own bisexuality, nor his interest in submission, so he is coming into this relationship completely naive in many ways. But somehow these guys just work together. For all of Amani’s wariness, Vic is totally accepting of not only his own sexual awakening, but everything about Amani as well. Amani is very in touch with his feminine side, with long hair and a more femme style, and Vic just simply adores him and everything about him. We can see from the start that Vic wants more, but it takes time for him to really be able to see Amani the way he needs to be seen, and for Amani to recognize that Vic is far more than he initially seems.
The story has a real lushness and sensuality that I really appreciated. Amani is just so lithe and elegant and lovely, and that carries over into the story. I really loved the power dynamic here, as Vic may be much bigger, wealthier, and in a position of power on a societal level, yet between the two of them, the small, delicate Amani is the far more dominant one. He has a way of guiding their sexual interactions with a soft voice and sensual allure that just compels Vic. I loved seeing them explore their sexual interests together and watch Vic slowly unfurl from a man full of tension and stress who has no real idea what he wants, to a man who is finding himself, both in and out of the bedroom.
My only small issue here is I feel like at times Amani is almost idealized and there is not quite enough balance between the two of them as characters. This is most noticeable at the end, as the guys are resolving their conflict. Without going into too much detail, Vic speaks without thinking in a way that hurts Amani. So yes, Vic makes some mistakes and he really grows over the course of the book to have more awareness on many levels, both in his work and personal life. But the story sort of presents things as if the only thing Amani does wrong is fail to forgive Vic right away, as if he has no role at all in what happened. And to me, Amani is the one who set up the transactional nature of their relationship, he is the one who has put the walls up between them and required money for sex, specifically to keep his distance. So when Vic makes comments that suggests he sees their relationship as having this monetary element between them, it is because Amani wanted it that way, yet he is upset by Vic’s words. I just think there are times when Amani is presented as the total innocent, the pure one, while Vic is the bad guy and I wish there was some more balance as not everything Amani does is necessarily perfectly handled either.
That said, I really enjoyed this story a lot. It is super sexy, with a lovely tone that just gives it a nice sensuality and feel. I loved seeing Vic’s sexual exploration and watching him find himself. And I liked seeing the way that both men worked through their issues with each other’s help and came out happier and more settled in their own skins. It is really a lovely story that kept me totally engrossed throughout and I am looking forward to more in this series.