Reviewed by Ulysses Dietz
Member of The Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
What I was increasingly worried about as I got deeper into this book was how the author
was going to make this into a classic m/m happy ending.
Well, he didn’t; and that’s good.
Romeo Preminger created this “guilty pleasures” series to be sexy and exciting—not
necessarily in the same way. It’s a sort of Hitchcockian romance/thriller, in which a
fairly naïve young (under 30) journalist finds himself in over his head, emotionally and
Mason Early is a regular, all-American boy from a working-class family in Ohio. Having
gotten scholarships, succeeded at college, and found a good job and a cadre of gay
friends in Nashville, he settles in; only to find himself swept up in a whirlwind named
Erik Odegaard. Erik is a Los Angeles lawyer; tall, powerful, and model-handsome.
Suddenly, Mason’s teenage fantasies seem to be coming true all at once, and he finds
himself in a Malibu beach house, living the dream.
It is only when Erik’s ex-con brother Lucas appears at their door one night that Mason
begins to wonder if things are exactly as he thought they were.
Lucas is Erik’s identical twin, a detail Erik failed to mention during their courtship,
wedding, and honeymoon. And, of course, things begin to evolve (devolve?) from there.
Preminger pulls the reader along, as Mason sees the distinctive personality differences
between these otherwise identical men, and starts to understand the complicated
dynamic between them. He also learns secrets that both men are keeping from him,
transforming his fairytale romance into something altogether darker.
The author’s device of having Mason be an innocent, dazzled and flattered by the
attention of a rich, stereotypically beautiful man, is well played. We want to be
frustrated with Mason’s credulity, but (at least for me, even at my age) we can also
remember when we were easily swayed by things beyond our previous experience. How
do we not get caught up in circumstances when it seems like all our wildest dreams are
Mason finds himself trapped in a web of power and privilege, everything he thought he
knew crumbling around him. Preminger takes us deep into the dark heart of an unhappy
family, letting us wonder all the while if Mason will make it out of that web in one piece.