Levi Ramone entered the gay porn market for one reason, and one reason only–he needed the cash to pay his momma's spiraling gambling debts. Seven years later, he's a veteran with a reputation as one of Blue Boy Studio's most ruthless tops, and when his boss suggests it's time for a change, he finds himself staring down the barrel of a gun. Figuratively speaking, at least. Enter Sonny Valentine, a go-go dancer at Blue's sister club, Silver's. Levi has secretly admired Sonny from afar for years, but there's one problem–he can't stand Sonny and the feeling is entirely mutual. When Levi learns Sonny is to play the third part in a scene he considers his worst nightmare, he figures things can't get any worse. But when preparations for the scene from hell collide with tragic events in his personal life, he finds his fast growing, red hot attraction to Sonny the one thing left between him and a bullet.
I first discovered Garrett Leigh’s work from a review I read on GR from the always awesome Isaac. He had reviewed Gypsy Rain and I bought and read it right away. I fell in love with the story and the writing style immediately. Since then I’ve been reading anything that Garrett publishes as soon as it comes out and this was no exception.
This was a great novella that I would have loved to have been twice as long. It’s the story of Levi, Sonny and the working boys over at Blue Boy Productions. It focuses mostly on Levi and the epic cluster his life has become. Levi is a very popular top in Blue Boys videos and he keeps busy. He also has a full time business of his own, but his life is not an easy one and he spends an enormous amount of energy caring for his self-destructive mother. He works his day job, works the porn job and takes care of his mom. Who, by the way, is a bitter angry bitch who doesn’t deserve Levi and all the sacrifices he makes.
So, I may have accidentally stumbled upon some porn once so I recognize the type of porn top Levi is. He’s the stereotypical alpha male, rough around the edges and definitely aloof. Not cruel, but not engaged at all, just disconnected. He was there to do a job. Nail a twink rough and hard, give the people what they want and be done. There was no kissing, no cuddling, no afterglow. Get the job done and move on to the next. That worked for Levi, he didn’t have the time or energy for complications. He even says he had, “been stuck in limbo for most of his adult life.”
Queue Sonny’s entrance into Levi’s life. Sonny is a go-go boy, sometime porn actor and the two of them don’t even give each other the time of day. They’ve never worked together and don’t have a desire to. Jon, the owner of the bar where Sonny dances and Blue Boy Productions makes Levi an offer he can’t afford to refuse. A three way shoot with Sonny and Rex, the most hung and rough top in the Blue Boy stable. The kicker is, Levi would have to bottom for Rex. Levi doesn’t bottom, ever! Frankly he’s completely freaked about the whole thing, but he needs the money for his worthless mother. The sum offered would take a huge amount of pressure off of Levi and his mountain of responsibilities.
While this could follow what you think is a formula of alpha porn star and twink go-go boy, this is where you’d be wrong. It does start that way, but then the wrench of the 3 way bottoming scene gets thrown in and is when the story gets completely unique. Turns out, Levi has more friends than he thought who are concerned about him and one of them just may be Sonny Valentine.
Sonny approaches Levi and offers to help him ‘train’ to be a bottom. Sonny explains there is no way Levi will make it through this unless he’s prepared and learns how to control the scene from the bottom. Sonny is speaking from experience and he calls Levi on his disconnected ways and makes him start to realize that there is an actual person in the scene with him, not just another twink to top. So, these training sessions start and may I just say, WOW and DAMN, just WOW and DAMN! Levi is pretty surprised and totally unprepared for the feelings he starts to have for Sonny. Actually connecting with another person, much less Sonny Valentine was not in his plans. Throw in all the drama with his mother and poor Levi is overwhelmed with emotion and responsibility. The responsibility he’s used to, it’s the emotion he has trouble dealing with.
When the day of the big scene arrives, Levi has pretty much had the worst couple of days in his life. He is a man of his word though and is determined to follow through, even if he isn’t exactly sure why at this point. There is no way to go on with a review of that scene without going all kinds of spoilery, but suffice it to say, all manner of crazy went down and Sonny emerges the hero. Sonny was willing to take a figurative bullet for Levi and that means the world to him. No one has ever protected Levi before, ever. It changes everything.
You know what broke my heart about Levi? This,
“Though he’d had more sexual encounters this year alone than he could remember, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d kissed a man. It had been years.”
That’s just too sad, seriously sad. The author is good at putting those little thoughts and moments in there that convey a lot without having to tell me in a ton of words about Levi’s loneliness. It kept him from seeming too angsty, that would have felt out of character for him.
Being that this is the start of a series, I’m kind of overlooking what seemingly might be missing. Because it might not actually be missing, just not told yet. I want to know more about Sonny, a lot more. He’s pretty amazing from what I know so far. But ultimately, this was Levi’s story and that was consistent throughout. He taught Levi so much, and not just the sweet heat of the training sessions, but how to actual feel something, a connection to another person.
“Feel that Levi? Feel it all. This is what it’s supposed to be. This is what’s real.”
Who doesn’t want more of that?
I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next installment of the Blue Boys and thoroughly enjoyed this one.