There’s Something About Ari, (A Bluewater Bay Story), L.B. Gregg
Review from Jeannie Zelos book review
I seem to be coming to the Bluewater Bay books out of order, but as each are standalones so its not a problem. This time we meet one of the TV series stars Ari, and resident Buck. They were best friends at school but then Ari left suddenly, and at the same time Buck became responsible for his younger bother when their remaining parent, their mother, died suddenly. He was just 18 and terrified that Charlie would be taken from him, so he’s worked hard at making a stable, solid home for him, giving up his full scholarship in writing to work in a coffee shop and support them both. He’s 23 now and his perfect ordered, but dull world has been turned upside down by Ari’s return.
These two remind me of Sam and Aaron (Men of Smithfield 5) with Buck being like the solid, responsible Sam, who’s given up his dreams to do the responsible thing, and then gets his life exploded by the irrepressible Aaron. Ari does the same to Buck. Bucks been secretly in love with him since they were teens but never told him he was gay, then Ari left before he had a chance. Since then after a wild year Buck has been whiter that white and concentrated wholly on Charlie. Now it’s five years later, Ari’s back and he just won’t leave him alone, won’t take the cold shoulder Buck gives him, won’t just ignore Buck however hard he tries to shrug him off. Buck is still feeling irritated at the lack of contact, left behind while Ari moved on but he doesn’t know the full story, only that he felt abandoned by his best friend disappearing like that.
Its a shortish read, but I know about Bluewater Bay by now, so much of the background and characters doesn’t need to be covered and we can go straight into the story. It’s a really sensitive read, where we see just how much Buck gave up for Charlie, though he doesn’t regret any of it. Ari too has things he hasn’t told Buck, and they both have things to learn about their perceptions of the past before they can move forward.
Stars: Five from me, an excellent addition to the series.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Starstruck, A Bluewater Bay Story, L.A. Witt
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I love this type of story, where there’s all the love and drama of a great romance. I enjoy the celebrity side of it too – not that I’m a celeb watcher, but that it brings out all the sides and difficulties that being famous presents. Personally I love my privacy, and really feel for anyone who’s in the public eye, it seems that all parts of their lives are open to ridicule and scrutiny
So, we’ve Levi, famous but typecast in the sort of roles that gave him the fame. He’s given up acting, tired of only being offered the same old roles, but he really misses it. He’s also bisexual but has always kept that quiet, partly for his career but also he knows his parents wouldn’t like it. That’s really sad, that at nearly 40 he’s still trying to win their approbation – they’re awful parents, he had a terrible upbringing and I just couldn’t see why he was so desperate to get them to approve. So far everything he’s done has been met with negativity, so to me its a lost cause but to him its very important and plays a huge part of how he tries to live.
Then there’s Carter, he’s a long time fan of Levi, its his acting that made Carter decide to be an actor himself. Carter is gay, and makes no secret of it. When he and Levi meet there’s an instant attraction sears between them. Levi has been offered a role in the new series- its the kind of role he’s dreamed of, so he needs to decide both if he’s going to come out of retirement, and can he cope with losing his precious privacy. Of course it’ll mean working closely with Carter, and as there were rumours years back about Levi’s sexuality when an Ex tried to Out him, giving in to the appeal between them could bring real difficulties, not only from his family but from the film studio. The studio feel the show has plenty of gay appeal already with Carter, and with the director being a lesbian, they want someone clearly heterosexual. There’s been comments about how much the series appeals to gays and they want it to be broad appeal not a niche market. That could be problematic, there’s nothing between Carter and Levi yet but he can feel that they both want more. Can he keep away from taking things further?
They become good friends, sharing a love of films, music, theatre and spend more and more time together. Levis family keeping pressing for him to get married, and are always prodding him about his sexuality. The friendship grows closer and deeper all the while though, they can spend hours just talking and then…well, there’s choices to be made. Levi isn’t sure how ready he is to come out, and Carter makes it clear that, unlike Levi’s ex, he won’t be his dirty secret. If they are together he wants the world to know. That’s fine for him, but for Levi it means he could lose this dream role, and his parents may disown him…Tough choices and its easy to see both points of view.
There’s some real tenderness here, some sensual sex scenes and as always LA produces a story full of secrets and drama, love and emotion and dilemmas to ponder over. What would you do?
Stars: Four and a half, its not quite a five star from me but very close.
ARC supplied via Netgalley