Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Release Tour | In The Spotlight - Shona Husk | #NEW #MMRomance #Navy #Dancer #Opposites #Review

Title: In The Spotlight

Author: Shona Husk

Genre: M/M Romance

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Published: 25 October 2016

A diva who lives for the spotlight, a sailor deeply in the closet, a love that will change them both.

Ripley Malone is returning to Perth in triumph. A principal ballet dancer in a production that has critics raving, he is an unqualified success, and all the small-minded people that made his life hell can kiss his lycra-covered ass. But behind the makeup and the glitter and the costumes, Ripley is beginning to tire, tire of the competition, the drive, the endless parade of meaningless lovers.

For Pierce Lovell, joining the Navy was a way out of rural Victoria, but becoming a submariner comes with its own set of challenges. The close living quarters and long months away are awkward enough without adding any extra tension around his sexuality. The fear is probably in his head, but he isn’t taking any chances with his career. He gets by on anonymous one-night-stands every time they come to shore and keeps his heart well-shielded. But one night with Ripley opens the tantalising possibility of more.

Through a mistake Ripley is injured. He can’t dance. His wings are clipped and he crashes down and hits the earth hard. Pierce knows their affair can’t possibly end in anything but heartache, but he can’t stay away. As Ripley heals and reassesses his life, he is determined not to make the same mistakes again. That means letting someone see the vulnerable side of him. But vulnerability for Pierce could cost him everything.

In The Spotlight Excerpt © Shona Husk 2016

They walked in silence along the water’s edge. Pierce finished his cookie and coffee and shoved the paper bag into the empty cup. In another week that was exactly what he’d be doing with this relationship—if that was what it truly was. And no one would ever know that it had happened.

He wanted to be able to talk about it the way Ripley did with his friends. To be that casual and not worry what people would think. It was really none of their business. Most people probably wouldn’t care.

Pierce stopped walking. He pulled out his phone.

‘What you doing?’

‘I want to get a picture.’ He wanted something tangible that this had happened.

‘No cookie crumbs?’ Ripley ran his tongue over his lip in a way that made Pierce want to check more closely—which was probably Ripley’s plan.

Pierce resisted, but only because there were other people on the beach, including an old couple and their dog.

Pierce took a couple of photos, then Ripley stood next to him and leaned in.

‘I suck at taking selfies.’

‘Practise.’ Ripley took control of the phone. ‘Smile, pretend you’re happy to be out with me.’

Pierce rolled his eyes and looked away.

‘Would you like me to take the photo?’ The old woman had walked over.

Ripley glanced at Pierce. He shrugged. He doubted she was going to run away with his phone.

‘Thanks, ma’am.’ Ripley was all smiles now.

‘You boys here on holiday?’

‘A few weeks travelling around.’ His accent had suddenly become more American.

Pierce watched the interaction as Ripley showed her which button to press. She was chatting to him like they were old friends. That was exactly how Ripley had sucked him in. Did he even realise he was doing it?

Ripley put his arm around Pierce. ‘Smile for the nice lady, she thinks we’re here on our honeymoon.’

Pierce looked at Ripley. His mouth opened. Ripley kissed him before ‘why the hell would she think that’ slipped out.

‘Beautiful.’ The lady handed the phone back.

Pierce was left holding his phone filled with a dozen pictures of Ripley and him with the ocean behind them. They both looked happy.

‘Can you send me that one?’ Ripley pointed at the one where their lips had met for a second, maybe two.

‘Yeah. You know you are a compulsive liar.’

‘She assumed, I may have agreed. But she took some nice pictures. Lucky for us because you can’t.’

‘Your attempt wasn’t much better.’

‘You pulled a face and looked away.’ Ripley was still standing very close. His hand was on Pierce’s lower back.

Pierce sent the picture and put his phone back in his pocket. The old couple and their dog were further up the beach. Ripley had kissed him in public. In daylight.

The world hadn’t ended.

No, but the sun would go out soon enough.

He refused to let the shadows start today. He took Ripley’s hand. It was nice to see him startle for a moment. They walked a little further

Ripley eventually spoke. ‘I was thinking it might be nice to keep in touch.’

‘So you can drop in if you are in town and need to get laid?’

‘I didn’t mean it like that ...’ A smile formed on his lips. ‘Maybe a little. I like spending time with you.’

I really liked the premise of this m/m romance. A flighty ballet star dancer and an enigmatic sailor? Interesting enough to reel me in.

Ripley is returning to his home turf in Australia after making it big in the ballet world back in LA. But being back home brings him close to his family again and the noose he and his brother have hanging over their heads to be dealt the same fate their father has. In addition to that he feels pressure to keep his reputation of a rising star whilst also combating niggling injury.

Pierce is a firmly in the closet submariner which let’s be honest is not an ideal job to have when living in extreme close quarters to his male colleagues. He gets by keeping his sexuality a secret by having one night stand hook ups. But on that one night in the gay club he see the attractive guy dancing and feels an invisible pull towards him. When they get chatting at the bar it becomes a trigger to acceptance that sometimes the way you plan for your future can be changed in the blink of an eye and how to take chances when they reveal themselves to you.

I found this quite endearing and was invested in Ripley and Pierce. I thought that the difficult subject matter of a debilitating illness was smoothly executed, especially around the waiting for the outcome for Ripley. I also loved how the brothers who in the past had been at loggerheads with each other found a common ground to heal jealousies of their youth. The camaraderie of Pierce’s crew was also a delight, especially once he reveals his ‘girlfriend’

The storyline was a little bit stilted in parts but overall I did engage with this sweet duo. The between the sheets action wasn’t overly sexual and in your face but I didn’t actually mind that as I still felt the love between the two. I would have liked more resolution at the ending but I still ended with a smile. Three and a half stars. 

Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back.

With over forty books published, ranging from sensual to scorching, she writes contemporary, paranormal, fantasy and sci-fi romance.


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