In the Gay Romance scene a new Damon Suede book is a major event. He takes his time with his novels, and that is just one of the ways in which he sets himself apart. This new book, Lickety Split, like his previous novels Bad Idea and Hot Head, is a fine reading experience. I loved this book, for the words, for the emotions, but also because it demanded my full attention.
I read a LOT of romance, if there were a Gifted and Talented track I’d be right up there. When one consumes something, in the volume that I consume romance novels, the brain and the body learn to navigate the experience almost by rote. You start reading and your head knows what will happen, when it will feel, how it will feel it, nice and easy. Not so much with Damon Suede’s stories though, I need to adjust the setting for him, because with him, there is no cruise control.
The idea that Damon could take the cowboy trope, which has been DONE, and then some and make it into a journey, so full of emotion that it flooded the pages, is a testament to the kind of writer he is. Damon could be a romance scholar, he has a profound understanding of why those of us who are passionate about this genre love it like we do, because he loves it just as much, and that comes through on the page. He writes for us the readers of course, but he also writes for himself, because he believes in the kind of love he writes about, that love that just shows up, and changes everything. No one can write with this much shine, and not be a believer.
Before I get to the story, let’s talk wine! For this book I was trying to find something American made and packing a punch, however the wine found me. I was browsing my local wine shop, and happened upon this bottle of Le Cog Rouge, a red cock people! I could not pass that up, it was just too good. Happily the wine is delicious. It’s a nice French table wine, mostly a Grenache and Syrah blend, and for under $10 a bottle an absolute winner. Flavorful and perfect to sip while reading this fiery love story
So back to the book, Patch Hastle is coming home to Hicksville, Texas for his parents’ funeral. His parents who he had not spoken to in the seven years since he ran from home at the age of sixteen. He has made a life in New York City, as a model and is moving up in the DJ world. He’s done well for himself, and despite the regret that starts seeping in with every mile he gets closer to home, all he wants to do is get in and get out of Texas. He does not need anything from that place anymore.
Things complicate when he finds out that his father’s best friend (and the source of everyone one of Patch’s teenage wet dreams) Tucker Biggs has been appointed the administrator of his parents’ estate and Patch can’t do a damn thing without Tucker’s OK. Tucker was the stuff of fantasy and terror for a teenage Patch, and as soon as he lays eyes on him again he realizes nothing has changed. When it comes to Tucker, Patch is still a hot mess.
Some things are different though, Tucker is not the same man Patch remembers, the edges are softer, and it seems like the only thing Tucker wants is for Patch to be happy. For him to not hate his hometown and the people he left behind so much. Patch doesn’t buy it, there has to be a catch, but the closer they get, the more every feeling he’s ever had for the man comes roaring back.
The thing is, Tucker seems to be feeling a lot of the same things, and just like that, in a moment, Patch is all wrapped up in Tucker. There are problems though, Tucker is not what Patch needs, he is a middle aged cowboy with no prospects, living in a double wide trailer on borrowed land. And yet,Tucker makes Patch FEEL, the things he does to his body and his mind, are like nothing he has experienced before. Even though he knows he could not possibly stay, he fears, he may never be the same again once he does.
There really is a dance between our two heroes, they are moving in and out of each other, in and out of the lives they figured they’d have, in and out of feeling completely alone in the world, in and out letting themselves accept the fact they DESERVE the happiness they give each other.
Damon Suede has an arsenal of instruments at his disposal when he writes that really transform the experience of reading romance for me. Not only is the erotica, top notch and so hot it WILL scald your kindle. He is the MASTER of capturing the moment. He reveals to us that love happens in small moments, that if we only just stay with our heroes and sit with them for one more second, we can be a part of their love story. Throughout this book, I was forced to just be with them a bit, and let what Tucker and Patch were making together in, to remember what it felt like for me to fall in love that fast, that hard, even when it made no sense.
For those of us, who have escaped a childhood or place that felt so small, so narrow, it could simply not hold all the things we knew we would be, Patch and Tucker are redemptive. I loved that Patch did find a home in the place he ran from. That what he got from Tucker made all the difference. Patch and Tucker’s story is complicated like people are, and hopeful and healing like romance should be. Just right.
I loved this book, and will come back to it again. Damon Suede, as he does, sets his own bar and then crashes right through it.
I hope you all love Lickety Split as much as much as I did
Cheers and happy reading!