"Playing Around," by Suzanne Clay
LGBTQ+ New Adult Contemporary Romance
Logan and Christian have been best friends since kindergarten. After spending their entire childhoods together, it makes sense they would go to the same college: the first step toward making their futures intertwine forever as blood brothers.
But being away from home means discovering freedom Logan and Christian have never had before, and their journey of finding who they really want to be—and how they want to fit into each other’s lives—is a messy one.
When a double date with their girlfriends turns into a new, erotic experience, both Logan and Christian are shaken by it. Suddenly, they can’t continue to see each other in a platonic light. Exploring their curiosity feels dangerous even when their girlfriends aren’t an issue, but ignoring their changing feelings is impossible.
Okay, my lovelies. I’mma ‘bout to get real with y’all. This week’s book left me feeling some feelings. Crazy, all over the board feelings. It was intense. Like, had me screaming at my eReader and threatening to throw it to its doom more than once kinda intense. But also the kind where I basically became non-functional at work and had to molest my spouse as soon as I got home. And the kind where I got all weepy and slobbery and… Okay, yeah, maybe I should start by introducing the book, yeah? 🤣 Playing Around by Suzanne Clay is yet another hit-it-outta-the-park release by NineStar Press. (It isn’t just their covers I adore.)
People… I can’t recall the last time I got this hot and bothered over a read. And I don’t just mean in the steamy, sexy way. (But, yes, I totally also mean in the steamy, sexy way because ermahgerd Ms. Clay can write some sizzling scenes!! 🔥😱) I struggled a lot with some of the choices and actions of Christian, one of the leads. Everything he did was one thousand and infinity percent believable… it was just super freaking frustrating as a romance reader. He shattered my poor little Logan in ways I wasn’t sure I was gonna be able to forgive him for. Very, very realistic ways, but ways my readerly heart rebelled against. A lot.
So, here’s the thing. This book broke quite a few of the customary Romancelandia rules. It’s a book one, so an HEA wasn’t expected, but the HFN was left very open. (As you’d expect in a book one of three, so no griping there.) However, to me this had more of a coming-of-age literary fiction vibe than your standard romance fare. All these feels I’m feeling? They stem from a lot of these places where Ms. Clay stretched the boundaries from romance into lit fic. Because, the feels in the book. My. Gawd. They are so intense. So deep. So profound. So astronomically out of the typical depth of a romance that I just…. Well, it crushed me in places, awed me in others. And, to be quite honest, I’m salivating for book two. Because if I don’t know for bleepity-blip sure that Logan’s sweet little heart is okay after the things Christian puts him through….
Anyway, now that that’s outta the way…. Seriously, y’all, I loved and adored this book. Yes, I got severely peeved at it. I think I legit scared my husband at one point in time because my “bad news vein” (as he lovingly calls it) was pulsing on my forehead for a hefty length of time. But the story, the characters, the utter brilliance of the writing…. It all blew my brains outta my head. This is a true five-star read.
I would highly, highly recommend this read to anyone who likes gritty, real, emotional reads. It will attract readers who aren’t afraid to tackle deeper topics done with finesse and attention to painful detail. I wish I could say I’d recommend it to casual romance readers, but I don’t think it’s something that will be appreciated for it’s beauty and soul by anyone who isn’t willing to put in the readerly work. This is one of those stories that requires its readers actively participate. There’s no sitting back and lazing the afternoon away with some idle words. You gotta dig in your heels, bare your soul, and brace yourself for one helluva ride!
So what are you waiting for? Playing Around is available for your immediate reading pleasure.
Until next time,