Length: 240 pages
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design
Rainbow Place Series
When Wicksy falls for drag queen Charlie, they discover that both sexuality and gender can be fluid.
Simon Wicks—Wicksy to his rugby teammates—has only ever been interested in women. But when he sets eyes on Lady Gogo, a drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place, he can’t stop thinking about her. He knows there’s a guy behind the fishnets and make-up, but he’s ready to explore his fantasies, and Lady Gogo is game for making them come true.
Charlie adores performing in drag. It allows him to indulge in his love of cross-dressing while earning some extra cash. Fooling around with a mostly straight guy in secret seems like a fun diversion, and gives him the chance to explore his feminine side. He feels safe wearing the mask of his confident alter ego, because the real Charlie is hidden from view.
When Wicksy sees more of the guy behind the make-up and glitter, his attraction to Charlie persists, and he realises he’s bisexual. In turn, Charlie begins to understand and accept his gender fluidity. As their mutual journey of self-discovery brings them closer, the secrecy becomes increasingly hard to deal with. If they’re going to have a future together, they both need to find the courage to show people who they really are.
Although this book is part of a linked series, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone.
"Mud & Lace" is the fourth book in Jay Northcote's "Rainbow Place" series and the one with the most interesting title.
Wicksy is a straight rugby player with a crush on Lady Gogo, the drag queen who performs at Rainbow Place once a month. He knows that under the make up and the glitter is actually a guy but that doesn't make his infatuation any less intense. He is smitten with her and does everything he can to approach her. And yes he keeps thinking of Lady Gogo as a her even after he starts forming a connection with the person beneath the costume.
Charlie is a quiet guy that doesn't like to ruffle feathers. Once he puts on his fabulous clothes and perfect make up though it's like he's becoming a whole other person. He's braver, louder and has more self-confidence. He has started discovering new things about himself in the past year and slowly he takes a journey to self discovery. Performing as Lady Gogo is only the first step but the catalyst is him meeting Wicksy.
Together they experiment and each learns new things about himself that he has to come to terms with. Their relationship started out as casual hookups but that didn't last very long. They were so drawn to each other that they began spending more time together, talking and really getting to know one another. The secrecy is were all the drama came from as Wicksy wasn't out as bi or pan and Charlie didn't want people to make the connection that he was Lady Gogo.
I liked that we got to follow Charlie's journey to self discovery. He struggled to understand his wants and needs and to figure out how he felt about something when he wasn't affected by other people's reactions but in the end he had a much better understanding of who he was.
They are both lucky to have strong support systems and people wanting the best for them in their lives. Charlie's mother was amazing in her support and encouragement of Charlie's efforts to find his real self. Wicksy had mainly friends around him but his family was pretty great as well. I liked that there was no homophobic character to create drama. Everyone was pretty open minded and just wanted their loved ones to be happy.
Up until about 70% I had a blast with this story, but then came Charlie's pressure for Wicksy to come out. I'm never a fan of this plot line.... Charlie wasn't so much pushy as he was passive aggressive in his desire to stop hiding their relationship, the result was the same though. Wicksy felt like he had to decide between coming out at his own time and losing Charlie or keeping Charlie and coming out immediately. I get that it was hard for Charlie to hide and that he hated feeling like a secret, but that kind of ultimatum is guaranteed to affect my rating.
I have no idea who the next couple is going to be but I'm certain we haven't seen the last of Rainbow Place yet, so I'll make sure to keep an eye out for any updates!
** I received a free copy of this book from the tour organizer in exchange for an honest review. **
About the author:
Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England. He comes from a family of writers, but always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed him by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.
One day, Jay decided to try and write a short story—just to see if he could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.
Jay writes contemporary romance about men who fall in love with other men. He has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and also self-publishes under the imprint Jaybird Press. Many of his books are now available as audiobooks.
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