Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Pages/Word Count: 197 Pages
At a Glance: OMG, she has done it again! Warning, I could get gushy…
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Tough in business but romantic at heart, fashion designer Lenny James isn’t hiding his masculinity behind his super successful female alter ego, but a vulnerability that only handsome financier Brook Hunter will be man enough to reveal…and worship.
TWO OF A KIND
It’s amazing what a little mascara and lipstick, a blonde wig, false boobs, and top-notch female fashion can hide. Not that Lenny James is hiding his masculinity. He uses his normal voice when he’s Laverne, and he’s not particularly camp as a man. His reasons for creating his alter ego are locked deep in his past. He is who he is: tough in business, and a romantic at heart. What he’s hiding is vulnerability. He wants a man to accept both sides of him.
Gorgeous, commanding, and dark as sin, Brook Hunter meets Lenny and knows nothing about Laverne until fate pushes her into his path. Cross-dressing is as far from Brook’s reality as fashion is from his world of diplomacy and high finance. Understanding and truth take time, and trust doesn’t come easy. But Brook is about to show Lenny that there are no sides to true love, just the place where they meet in the middle.
Cross to Bare is book five in the Men of London Series, and each can be read as a standalone.
Review: I cannot say enough about Susan Mac Nicol. When I am in a reading slump, I go and pull out a Men of London book from my archives, and suddenly my world is okay again. You would think that with each new book in the series, the author would have to finally hit one that just didn’t work – but NOPE! This book is just as amazing as the rest of the ones in this series. Each book is so unique – yes, they have crossover characters, and the cameos these secondary characters play in the other books is like cinnamon sugar on your oatmeal: sweet with a hint of spice. (Yes, Leslie, you are still amazing!) Cross to Bare is a brilliant read with tight writing and a sharp dialogue that catches you from page one and doesn’t let you go until the HEA.
Lenny James bucks the stereotypes. By day, at work, he is Laverne Debussy-Smith, a noted fashion designer of men’s and ladies’ furnishings. A transvestite, for sure, Lenny is very happy as a gay man and is one of the most secure people inside his own skin I have ever read about. He is who he is, and he came to terms with it years ago. He isn’t flamboyant and uses his own voice and mannerisms when dressed as Laverne. Unfortunately, finding your true love when dressed as a woman can be problematic… but that doesn’t stop the romantic inside him from wishing it could happen. I had to throw out all my drag queen stereotypes when relating to Laverne, and the author does a bang up job of breaking through them anyway. Lenny is a man. A gay man, but a man. Make no mistake. Susan Mac Nicol breaks it down to a romance between two very strong gay men, each with a commanding personality.
Brook Hunter works in high finance. The son of diplomats, he is a conservative in his beliefs and actions. As a highly reserved man, he fits in well at state dinners and knows which fork to use for each course served. He thought he met the man of his dreams when he fell for Lenny James, and doesn’t understand when Lenny breaks things off without a word as to why. Then fate steps in, and Brook takes a meeting with Laverne, who is applying for a business loan, and Brook gets the shock of his life. Here is where we see the first hint that things are going to be okay with these two, as Brook is mad that Lenny didn’t trust him, not because he is dressed as a woman. Brook looks past the façade to the man beneath, and challenges Lenny to make him understand. It is not an easy journey for either man, Susan Mac Nicol has a challenge putting these two men together, but she accepted that challenge and writes it in a believable way that makes these characters come alive and off the page. There is a lot of acceptance on both sides of the fence for these men to overcome, and the author tackles it head on with her wit and clever writing style. The pacing of this book is spot on.
“I love you, you know that?” Brook whispered in his ear as he held Lenny’s face in between wet hands and gazed at him with such tenderness Lenny almost blubbered. “Every facet of you. Every sexy, manly, wig-wearing, dress-clad facet of you. I am so proud of you, being who you want to be. One day I hope to grow up and be like you.”
This is a story filled with humor, love, acceptance, hot sex, intrigue and twists. In short, you will not be bored. Read this book, read all the Men of London books, read all Susan Mac Nicol books… I know I warned you about the gushy, but you will not be disappointed!
You can buy Cross to Bare here: