Title: Phoenix Rising
Author: Kimberly Gardner
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 277 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Two dozen roses, one dozen balloons and a night with a sexy, young stripper. It’s the perfect birthday present for the man who has everything. Or is it? Because the gift Jimmy really wants can’t be bought at any price.
Adam Hyland’s life is in the dumps. Living in his car and stripping for his supper, he doesn’t expect much when the birthday boy invites him to stay for cake and champagne, but the come-hither in Jimmy’s eyes, and the fire in his kisses, dares Adam to hope for more. And for a while it seems he just might get it.
Of course, it could never be that easy. Adam’s never been in the closet, and Jimmy’s never come out. Adam’s got nothing to lose, and Jimmy’s got everything at stake. But when Adam’s need to love in the light collides with Jimmy’s compulsion to hide in the dark, desire alone can’t sustain them. When the worst happens, and the flames of desire threaten to scorch them alive, can love rise like a phoenix from the ashes?
Review: From almost the moment Jimmy and Adam meet, they have some wicked strong chemistry. Adam shows up for a stripper-gram job, and Jimmy is his living wet dream. After doing the stripping portion of the night, Adam is invited to stay for a bit, and he and Jimmy end up in bed together. Jimmy is everything Adam hasn’t even realized he wanted in a man. When Adam wakes in the middle of the night, however, his doubts begin to take over and he leaves quickly and quietly, thinking he won’t see Jimmy again.
Fate won’t be denied, though, and Adam finds out that the club he is interviewing at is co-owned by Jimmy and his brother. The two men can’t stay away from each other for long, and Adam ends up renting an apartment from Jimmy. No matter how good they are together, their differences can’t be ignored for long. Adam is out and proud, while Jimmy is a private person and hasn’t had any reason to come out.
Adam and Jimmy decide to give it a go anyway, and things seem to be going well until all their issues begin to pile on top of them. Jimmy loses clients when he begins to step out of the closet, and he chooses to hide that from Adam. Adam was intimate with someone else before they discussed being exclusive, and he decided to keep that from Jimmy. Then there is Adam’s ex, who shows up and just wreaks all kinds of havoc.
All the secret keeping and subsequent fights lead Adam to drastic measures that Jimmy can do nothing to prevent. Jimmy takes advantage of the lessons he learned and begins to live his life his way, everyone else be damned. Adam took advantage of an offer that was made to him months before and reinvents himself, and gains some financial freedom that gives him peace of mind. The only thing these two couldn’t do was get over one another.
A charity event at the local BDSM club is Jimmy’s chance to get his man back, but will the new and improved Adam give him another chance?
I thoroughly enjoyed this story, and I loved that there was no magical cure for the issues these two had. They had to work hard to get their lives together and they realized that sometimes you have to travel your road alone if you want to get to your destination and find your happiness. This does have the feeling of a HFN, but they have a great chance at a HEA. This appears to be the first of a series, so hopefully we will get to peek in on Adam and Jimmy in future books.
You can buy Phoenix Rising here: