Queeny cocktail waiter, Lionel, wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.
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This story was really fun. I liked how we got some pretty heavy topics but humor mixed in as well. It’s good that we good both Lionel and Dog’s points of view in this story. If we had only gotten one I don’t think I would have liked the characters as much. Getting to see how they both think through each others’ actions and eventually why they made certain choices had me liking both Dog and Lionel more than I normally would have if I didn’t get that. The humor made it so the story wasn’t overly deep as some serious topics were talked about. The one that hit me the most was when Dog was trying to figure out why he and some of his friends on the gay softball team had problems with Lionel. That was so poignant and accurate I had to pause reading.
Lionel was such a wonderful character. He was who he was and didn’t give a crap what anyone thought about him and what he wore and how he acted. His existential crisis towards the end was fascinating. I liked how his drunk conversation with Linda Sue got him thinking like that and how ultimately he was still who he presented himself to be. I adored how he was doing everything he could to survive though we don’t get the full story on why he’s struggling. I feel like he had more backstory and I would have loved to see into his past a bit more. But he’s a rich character that came alive on the page. His feelings for Dog were so sweet. You could feel him falling for Dog and unsure of those feelings, especially because of Dog’s actions.
It took me a while to warm up to Dog because he was an unintentional jerk to Lionel towards the beginning. he had good reasons for some of his actions but he definitely should have talked to Lionel more to explain his fears. That first date scene I was about to throw my Kindle if Dog didn’t fix the situation before the end of the scene. I was so glad he at least came through on not being 100% douche. Though only 99.9% still sucks. I like how Lionel got one back on Dog right at the end though. Dog deserved those two aperitifs. I was increasingly proud of Dog as he came out and let those around him know it doesn’t change him and what kind of man he finds attractive doesn’t change him either. At the end when he gets everyone to stick up for Lionel I pretty much swooned with him. Dog wound up being perfect for Lionel and watching him get to that point was wonderful.
I enjoyed the support characters in the book. They each brought something different to the story and made for this fun group of people that I got invested in. Dog’s mom is hysterical. I’d love to see a story for Fetch and Ted. I kind of even want a story for Chuckie. There has to be a reason he acts the way he does and I’m interested to know what it is. The ending for Dog and Lionel is that sweet spot between happy for now and happily ever after. You can tell they’re going to make the best effort to have their relationship work and will most likely make it. They just have a few things to work out before the can get to the “forever” aspect.
I enjoyed Mr. Thornton’s writing. It was refreshing and had me engrossed in the story from page 1. I’m hoping for a sequel to this story but I will definitely be reading more works by him in the future.
Four and a half
Lambda Award-winning author, Marshall Thornton is known for the best-selling Boystown mystery series. Other novels include the erotic comedy The Perils of Praline, or the Amorous Adventures of a Southern Gentleman in Hollywood, Desert Run and Femme. Marshall has an MFA in screenwriting from UCLA, where he received the Carl David Memorial Fellowship and was recognized in the Samuel Goldwyn Writing awards. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America.