Title ➷ Dark & Dazzling (Sassy Boyz #2)
Author ➷ Elizabeth Varlet
Expected publication ➷ November 7th 2016 ✔️
Published by ➷ Carina Press
Genre ➷ Contemporary, M/M Romance 💕
Read ➷ Kindle Edition, English
Word count ➷ Approximately 87,000 words
Price ➷ $4.99 (CAD)
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Z doesn’t need a hero…
Azariah “Z” Hayes is a diamond. Equal parts strength and sparkle, he’s more than capable of standing on his own stilettos. So if waiting tables and stripping at The Vibe are what it takes to keep a roof over his head, well, there are worse ways to earn a living.
Connelly is a white knight with a badge…
For NYPD detective Connelly Reid, to serve and protect is just another day at the office—even if that means protecting himself from his own true desires. He’s been curious about Z, his waiter, for months, but it’s not until he sees him in his makeup and heels that the curiosity becomes a fierce attraction. Z, despite all his over-the-top dazzle, might just be the man Connelly has been waiting for his entire life.
But when Connelly investigates underground porn and drug activity with ties to The Vibe, one thing becomes very clear—acting on what he knows is going to hurt Z, financially and emotionally. And though Connelly would love nothing more than to fix all of Z’s problems, no amount of mind-blowing sex can make Z comfortable becoming dependent on his lover. Yet if there’s one thing Connelly knows from his years on the force, it’s this: when things go bad, you need a trusted partner to have your back.
♦️ Riina’s Review:
Facts: Azariah was introduced in Fierce & Fabulous, Sassy Boyz #1. Dark & Dazzling follows the events of the previous book.
I could already tell that, next to Ansel, the star of Sassy Boyz #1, Azariah would be my favorite Sassy Boy. Mouthy little thing 🙂
Much like Ansel, Z has got attitude, is full of snark and delivers a lot of sass. He calls himself a bitch and princess. He’s strong and an amazing character. He never backs down from a challenge, loves to argue and “bitch around”.
His sarcasm and quick-wit a.k.a. aggressive charm had me captivated from the start.
He’s also angry and lonely, still mourning the loss of his beloved mother, the only person who’s ever loved him, cared for him. She’d been his hero. Like Ansel, he too has had some troubled teenage years but managed to turn his life around and now has great friends in his life and a job he loves.
Still, money is tight and trouble just around the corner.
Some of that trouble comes in the form of detective Connelly Reid.
They meet at Sal’s, the diner where Azariah waits tables and Connelly spends his lunch hours, repeatedly, after transferring to a new precinct a few weeks prior. It isn’t until he sees Azariah in his sparkly clothes, heels and make up before it really hits him: he has got to have a taste of the sexy, snarky and very intriguing waiter.
From the moment he spots Azariah on stage at The Vibe, a dance club, Connelly is completely done for. There’s no return. Knowing that getting with Azariah would be a bad decision doesn’t stop him from making a move.
Connelly has been out for a years and comfortable with his sexuality, but being a detective he had to learn the hard way: the less people saw the better. And dating someone as bright and dazzling as Azariah would definitely draw attention eventually. Well, his reasoning doesn’t keep him from following his heart for long.
But Azariah doesn’t want a relationship, he fears it would give the other person too much control, and control is something he can’t give up. Ever. He’s proud and stubborn and wouldn’t depend on anyone but himself. Even asking for help when his life starts to fall apart after his roommate disappears and he injures his foot, is an impossible thought.
Having a boyfriend or any sort of relationship is the last thing he wants.
The fact that Connelly got under his skin with a single kiss, and sees right through the armor, his barriers and hard-won defenses has him intrigued, and hooked.
He also scares the crap out of Z, but that only makes it more exciting.
An unthinkable shot at something more.
There were two types of people in the world, those who hurt you and those who changed you. Z knew without a doubt that Connelly was going to be both.
The beginning of their romance is wild and reckless, both are diving in headfirst, blinded by their attraction for each other. Connelly knows what he wants and he’s going for it, no holding back. Z is impressed and instantly charmed by his detective’s boldness and spellbound by their chemistry.
It’s hot and intense but there is also a touch of sweetness, no matter how little Z believes in love, happiness and safety — and having all that with another person. It’s there and it wants to grow, but he’s fighting it with all he has.
Poor choices and bad decisions are made.
No matter how many times Azariah pushes him away, Connelly doesn’t give up hope, doesn’t give up on him. He’s been enamored by the mouthy dancer from the moment he first saw him in his element, hook, line and sinker.
Azariah shines like a million dazzling stars, and he’s not giving him up.
Good thing Connelly sees that being an unforgiving asshole is only a defense mechanism to protect himself from getting hurt again. One that Z has difficulties letting go off.
Not only does Connelly care, Z also has the support of Ansel and Fitch. Despite everything, his friends give a shit about him! 🙂
Connelly and his partner Raoul also take it upon themselves to investigate drug activity in their spare time at the club The Vibe where the Sassy Boyz perform, which leads to all kinds of complications and discoveries.
Both, Connelly and Azariah were interesting and admirable characters. Especially Z has me wrapped around his finger. 💕
I enjoyed their journey and hope they’ll find their happy-ever-after, soon. I wouldn’t mind to be there for it either *wink*
I greatly enjoyed the banter between Azariah and Connelly, as well as between the Sassy Boyz — those were some of my favorite moments in both books.
What did bother me at times was the overuse of “lover” instead of the person’s name. It’s something I personally don’t like very much.
Also, so many scenes were cut into short chapters, changing POV’s each time.
I would have preferred to stay with one person’s POV for longer -> starting and finishing a scene in the same POV, more or less. With the many switches I felt the characters kind of blended into each other, making their voices less distinct.
The writing overall is impressive. And while I found the sex scenes quite awesome, they get kind of boring when there’s so many of them. Same goes for book #1, unfortunately.
Many, many thanks to the publisher who kindly provided a free copy for an honest and impartial review.💕
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!
Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise.