“Shining in the Sun” by Alex Beecroft
Read An Excerpt Online
Genre: Gay-Lesbian Romance, Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: June 8, 2010
Cover art by Scott Carpenter
Book Origin: Personal e-Library
Damn it, a man shouldn’t always have to be afraid…
Alec Goodchilde has everything a man could want—except the freedom to be himself. Once a year, he motors down to an exclusive yacht club on the Cornish coast and takes the summer off from the trap that is his life.
When his car breaks down, leaving him stranded on the beach, he’s transfixed by the sight of a surfer dancing on the waves. The man is summer made flesh. Freedom wrapped up in one lithe package, dripping wet from the sea.
Once a year, Darren Stokes takes a break from his life of grinding overwork and appalling relatives, financing his holiday by picking up the first rich man to show an interest. This year, though, he’s cautious—last summer’s meal ticket turned out to be more pain than pleasure.
Even though Alec is so deep in the closet he doesn’t even admit he’s gay, Darren finds himself falling hard—until their idyllic night together is shattered by the blinding light of reality…
Warning: One explicit m/m sex scene and a great deal of swearing.
My Review: I already enjoyed the writing style of Alex Beecroft in her historical offering; TRANSGRESSIONS. So when I read the blurb of her latest contemporary release, SHINING IN THE SUN, the buy button was easily found. The trope of rich man meets average Joe is probably as old as time but I was taken by surprise how I enjoyed the vibe and romance progress between Alec St.John-Goodchilde and Darren Stokes. From the get-go the vacation spirit of freedom, sun, beach and catching the surf was setting the mood and I easily let myself get picked up by it.
At first Alec came off as a bit of a push-over. He’s easily dominated by his mother, engaged to a woman of his class simply for the need to be engaged and once a year he takes a month off from all responsibilities, including that of his family. He is a beta man all the way, lacks certain confidence in his demeanor, almost feels like he is a bit of a geek but one who has depth and I liked him on the spot. I just knew if he could come in to his own that he would become a great guy and by the end of this story he was that guy.
Darren Stokes is a bad-boy, skirting on the edges of poverty and his family also yanks his chains. He knows his actions are a choice between two evils and on top of that he has to deal with the aftermath of a violent event with a former lover. Darren’s personality ads the spice to this story, he acts all tough, vigorous and all around cool guy but it’s just his way to hide his insecurities. I particularly liked the fact how these protags fitted. It was a back and forth of good and bad – pain and comfort – sex and trust – hardships and laid-back sunny days and it blended in to a well rounded, heart tugging sweet romance.
The story has not a lot more to offer then the relationship development between Alec and Darren. It’s the fact that I had a good time reading their progress and that I liked these guys that made SHINNING IN THE SUN an above mediocre read. The issues that came up in this story were drawn from life; family pressure, substance abuse problems, poverty, insecurity. While the beginning was all sun, sea and pleasure it quickly turned more serious allowing the attraction to develop in to a deeper connection. The sexual attraction is present from the moment Alec laid eyes on Darren. Alec stutters a dramatic opening line and Darren thinks he has his next meal ticket. Not the most romantic set-up but along the way they not only heat up between the sheets and gave me some spine tingling scenes to read but they back it up with slowly trusting each other.
I read chapter after chapter in this easy-to-read story where one confrontation or problem alternated with some fun time. Darren and Alec had their share of misunderstandings to deal with but gradually I knew they were going to fit each other at the heart. Through Alex Beecroft’s uncomplicated voice I witnessed these two men get drawn to each other, fall in love and take hurdles together that made them stronger, both separate and as a pair. The surprise that this story did contain was the confrontation between Darren and his former lover, there were reasons I never would’ve expected that became an unexpected twist that was very credible. The romance wasn’t intricate, the sex-play not overly explicit and the problems perhaps something you’ve read a thousand times before but with Alec and Darren, Alex Beecroft managed to convey the essence of romance.
SHINING IN THE SUN is a beautiful M/M romance that took me on a journey where two opposite men found something special together. I have enjoyed myself from cover to cover!
“You can stay with me.”
He thought his heart stopped, then started up again different, stronger, the wisps of his old life smoking away from it. He could do this, perhaps? The summer was his month, Ryan’s month. They could both escape together. “I…” How did you say it? I’ve never done anything but look before. Can you be gay if you’ve only ever looked? Can you…? Am I…? He arched his back. His arse felt as hot and tight as his prick, wanting, needing to be touched. Ryan’s spare hand undid the buttons of his shirt and slipped inside, found his nipple and rolled it between thumb and forefinger. The sweet hot lance of pleasure made his knees weaken, his mouth fill with the taste of copper. A horn blared into the night, shocking as a face full of water.