Today, Jay and Sammy are buddy reviewing Beautiful Beast, book four in Roe Horvat’s Those Other Books series. This book can be read as a standalone, though some characters from past books do appear here briefly.
Joakim is a wealthy and powerful businessman, but he has been too busy to have much luck with relationships. Men often pursue him, but they are mostly interested in his money. Now, Joakim is at a place in life where he is interested in something more serious. When he spots a beautiful young man in a store one day, Joakim is immediately entranced. He figures that will be the end of things, but when he later sees the man on a hookup app, Joakim can’t resist reaching out.
Kevin has just moved home to Sweden and he hasn’t quite gotten settled back in. Many of his friends seem to have found partners and are happily coupled up, and Kevin wishes he could find the same for himself. He knows he is unlikely to find anything real on a hookup app, but he is lonely enough to sign on and is surprised when he sees a message from the guy at the store.
Kevin and Joakim strike up a conversation online and both men are surprised with the intensity of their attraction and their immediate connection. Once they meet in person, the chemistry is even more intense and things are sizzling between them. Kevin finds he can let go with Joakim in a way he hasn’t been able to with other partners, and Joakim delights taking care of Kevin in bed. Things are burning bright between the men, but they have only known each other a short time. Now Joakim and Kevin have to figure out if they have found what they have been searching for and if this relationship will be the one that lasts.
Rating: 4.25 stars
Ok, I am going to start by saying that this is a sexy, sexy book. In fact, this entire series is highly erotic, but this story in particular is probably the most intense of the three I have read. The chemistry between Kevin and Joakim is off the charts and they can barely keep their hands off each other. There is a lot of sex in this book, probably more than actual out-of-bed story. It is steamy and dirty and a little kinky and really, really hot. What Horvat does so well across this series is take these erotic moments and give them the substance needed to make a real story even amidst so much sex. I particularly like the way that Kevin finds he can let go with Joakim, that he feels a sense that Joakim is there to catch him and he can make himself vulnerable. For his part, Joakim delights in Kevin’s happiness; he feels good about himself when he sees how much he can please Kevin. So I feel like we get some nice sense of these men and what makes them work together.
All that said, there is not a lot that happens here, nor is there much conflict. The plot is basically Kevin and Joakim meeting, falling for each other, and having lots of really amazing sex. There is a slight nod to a conflict in that Kevin doesn’t realize that Joakim is both wealthy and famous, and so he has a tiny bout of insecurity at one point, but this is really not developed in any depth, nor does it cause much of an issue. So I enjoyed this story for the beautiful, sultry tone and the incredibly intense erotic side, but just be aware there isn’t a really strong storyline here.
I’ll also note that, at times, I felt like Joakim so worships Kevin that it almost felt fetishized. He is obsessed with Kevin’s beauty at first sight and he is incredibly focused on Kevin’s appearance to almost the exclusion of anything else about him. It makes the story particularly steamy and intense, but I wanted to learn more of what Joakim Iikes about Kevin beyond being hot.
That said, this book delivers exactly what it promises. It is sexy, sensual story that is beautifully erotic and intense. If you are looking for a steamy read, that also has great writing and some nice richness, definitely check this one out.
Rating: 4 star
In Beautiful Beasts, we learn more about Kevin, Luke’s friend and former roommate and one of Marcus’ dancers. If those names are unfamiliar, then I strongly suggest you go back and check out the series to find out more about those men and catch a glimpse of Kevin as well. I find these stories are best enjoyed in order, simply because the characters keep reappearing and all have connections to each other.
Kevin is used to holding back when it comes to sexual encounters and relationships. He tends to hide his deeper desires and proclivities, instead going with empty sexual encounters that leave him lonely and unfulfilled. In a desperate attempt to find a hook-up online, he runs into a man who seems to want the very things he does—friendship and, in time, a relationship. When Kevin discovers that Joakim is the very man who rescued his shoe from a clever toddler at a store earlier in the week, the two fall into an easy dialogue that leads to a rather steamy sexual encounter. From there, it’s as if neither Joakim or Kevin can get enough of each other and together they explore their mutual fantasies. As trust grows between them, so does affection and, before long, the two men are falling in love. However, when Kevin discovers just how wealthy and successful Joakim is, he worries that Joakim will soon tire of a simple dancer in his life and bed.
Roe Horvat once again successfully delves into the more erotic side of relationships and gives a window into the sexy secrets of men who like to play outside the box. What sets his writing apart from the standard, by the book erotica is the way in which he builds his characters–infusing them with personality, deep emotions, and secret desires. These are men who must always curb who they really are in the bedroom—holding back in order not to expose themselves to derision or disgust. It’s not that their needs are strange or harmful, but they are deeply sensual and often turn to much more than just the run-of-the mill, vanilla sex. The strength in Horvat’s “Other” books is that the men are able to find like-minded lovers and friends who never judge, but rather encourage sexual honesty. This acceptance often means deeper bonds are formed, as is the case for Kevin and Joakim.
While I really enjoyed getting to know these two, I felt that Kevin is the more pragmatic of the pair—meaning I found Joakim to be just a bit too eager to fall in love. I got that he is the older and perhaps readier of the two men for a long-term relationship, but I got more of an insta-love vibe from his character and a more rational, realistic one from Kevin. Instant lust is almost a given in this series, but love is often meted out a bit more slowly than it was in this case. Still, I enjoyed watching these two men in and out of the bedroom as they grew together and became friends and lovers. Honestly, I found little not to like about this novel and feel it’s another lovely story about men who love men in a lusty and openly sexual way.