Wednesday, December 31, 2014

ARC Review: Secrets and Charms by Lou Harper

Secrets and Charms (Secrets, #2)

One hot ginger. One cool blond. The result is anything but lukewarm.
Out and proud from a tender age, Olly Blackwood is content with life in LA, working at a Hollywood gourmet grocery. There's only one thing missing: romance. He's had his fill of casual hook-ups. He wants a man for keeps, and he wants sparks.
He certainly gets them when he meets Rich Willson, who has the stormy temper to go with his fiery hair. But is he keeper material? He might be if only he'd come out of the closet.
After losing his disapproving father, his job, his girlfriend, and pretty much all his money, Rich packed up his secrets and moved to his actress sister s house to regroup and help her renovate. He doesn't like the curmudgeon he s become, but something about the perpetually cheerful Olly rubs him in a way that should be wrong, yet feels pretty damned right.
Over paint buckets and sanding tools, Rich finds Olly getting deeper under his skin. But when an altercation with a paparazzo comes back to haunt him, he finds that sordid Hollywood secrets can be murder maybe his own.
Warning: Contains a hot-tempered ginger, a cool-headed blond, redecorating shenanigans, and sordid Hollywood secrets. Happy ending guaranteed or your ticket price refunded.

Rosa's rating:


Sometimes amidst all my squeeing over the latest Calmes or Cardeno I forget to squee over the latest Lou Harper.

Okay, that's a lie. I do squee but it's a deeper, more mature squee. It's a squee with layers, y'know?

Of course, you do.

But fuck layers. There's a ginger in this book. A GINGAH.

Better yet, the ginger is my favorite type of character--the Mr. Grouchy-Grumpy-Crabby Pants who has no intention of falling in luuurve. Harper does this type of character really well and I always look forward reuniting with him, and seeing what kind of twist she adds, in her new books.

But I wasn't so sure Rich, our ginger MC, was really grumpy, grouchy or crabby or just an asshole. Rich has lost his job, his wife, his friends and he compensates by being a dick. Okay, okay, it's more complicated than that--Rich has layers as well. Still, there's some assholage going on. Especially towards sweet Olly, our other MC. I spent about half the book worried I would never warm up to Rich and Harper wouldn't be able to (at least somewhat) realistically pull-off a guy coming out of the closet while forming a relationship with another guy.

But by about 50% of the way in both Rich and Harper had won me over. Harper doesn't go too far--in the end they're together and Rich is making significant progress but they aren't picking out matching tuxes for their formal wedding or anything. (Though, uh, I wouldn't mind reading something like that eventually.) Also, it's hard to stay pissed at a guy who recognizes a good thing when he finds it:
Olly: "....What do you want? Deep down."
Rich looked at the fingers on his biceps, covered them with his own and gently peeled them off. He held them and studied them before meeting Olly's gaze. "I want you."
I'm telling you, anyone who would turn down a blond 22-year old with a nice ass and a Cthulhu tattoo would have to be a giant dumbass. Rich can be a dick, but he is not a dumbass.

Speaking of dumbasses, I kinda feel like one. There's a character who makes a brief appearance in Secrets and Charms, "Hunter." Maybe he's going to be an MC in the next Secrets book, but it's my theory that he's actually from one of Harper's other (more paranormal) series, like Spirit Sanguine or Dead Man and the Restless Spirits. I cannot think of who "Hunter" may really be (it better not be Gabe cause if he's flirting with someone other than Harvey I will be PISSED), and it's make me fucking nuts. If anyone would like to share their knowledge, I would appreciate it muchly. Thank you.

My own dumbassery aside, Secrets and Charms has all the things I like most in my books -- humor, opposites attracting, a mystery or two...blow jobs. Frottage. Some buttsex. All that and a ginger for Christmas. I'm a lucky girl.

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