Guest Reviewed by Morgan
Title: Secrets and Charms
Author: Lou Harper
Series: Secrets #2
Heroes: Olly Blackwood/Rich Willson
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 191 Pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: December 23, 2014
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: 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.
Review: We met Olly in Secrets and Ink. He also works at the Trading Post and he’s an out and proud gay guy with a little swish. Rich is a very closeted gay (maybe bi) man who just recently got divorced, lost his job and is now hiding with his famous sister in LA.
There is instant attraction and a nice slow burn between Olly and Rich, but then Rich acts like a giant dick and rejects Olly, but it’s not over.
For whatever reason, Olly goes back to Rich and eventually they end up in a HFN (probably HEA), but I gotta tell you, I didn’t really feel it. Olly was super sweet and I really liked his character, but Rich was a dick who didn’t redeem himself in my eyes – though he was heading that way.
I think I would have bumped this from a 3 to a 4 or more if it’d been longer. If we got to see more of Rich’s transformation from living in denial to being an upstanding guy and really being worthy of Olly, then I think I could have felt their relationship more. As it stands, it felt pretty shaky, at best.
I loved the secondary characters and the funny/odd mystery that played in the background. I think that if Olly had maybe been more resistant and made Rich work for it more, and had Rich done more to be out and proud for Olly, I’d have really loved this story.
I liked seeing the boys from book one again (happily married!), but you definitely didn’t have to have read book one to read this.
Overall, I still really admire Lou Harper’s writing style, her ability to make fascinating characters and her subtle sense of humor – but I didn’t love this story as much as her paranormal works.
(As a side note – OMG the cover and the entire tattoo storyline was super, super, super hot!)
Overall Impression: It was good
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*