Series: International Men of Sport 01
Author: T.A. Chase & Devon Rhodes
Length: Novella (155pgs)
Publisher: Total E-Bound (8th April 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2 ½ – 3 Hearts
Blurb: A handsome Bollywood actor must choose between his career and a rugged cricket player from his past, who he’s fallen in love with…again.
Rajan Malik has the world of Bollywood in the palm of his hand…a beautiful girlfriend, starring roles, adoring fans…He should be happy, but behind the façade lies a man conflicted and exhausted by the pressure placed on him by his ill mother, his agent and society. His life is not his own, and all he wants to do is escape.
Indian Premier League cricketer Ajay Singh can’t believe how bad his university roommate Rajan looks when he spots his picture in the paper. They had parted on bad terms. Still, he’s moved to offer Rajan his support by renewing their friendship.
But friendship was not all they shared back then. Though Ajay is out, Rajan isn’t willing to give up his carefully cultivated Bollywood image to be with him publicly. And with very little privacy, it won’t take long for someone to find out they are more than friends.
Their renewed secret affair is fraught with difficulties as they deal with the death of Rajan’s mother, the secret of Rajan’s till-now absent father, a jealous friend, intrusive social media, and threatening notes from someone who seems to know all about their private lives.
It’s a bit of a sticky wicket they find themselves in. Will it be too late when both men finally realise that they’ll need to compromise, or stand to lose everything?
Review: Rajan is a Bollywood star living the life that his mother created for him, starring roles, beautiful girlfriend, and fame. But the life is starting to tear him apart, having to suppress his natural desires to please all those around him. Getting a surprise phone call from his old concerned friend Rajan remembers a time when he was happy and in love. Ajay doesn’t know what Raja’s reaction will be to his offer of a place of sanctuary, they didn’t part on the best of terms and now Ajay is an openly gay cricketer and has no plans to go back in the closet. Rekindling their romance is risky but neither man can resist, Rajan begins to get anonymous phone calls and notes, his mother is dying and trying to force him into an engagement. Ajay feels like he has been shoved back into closet having to hide his relationship with Rajan, while Rajan parades around the girlfriend. Can the men find a compromise before it’s too late?
This was quite a good Bollywood dilemma story that is an easy read. Rajan is very easily pressured, he did want to be a teacher, but when his mother heard how close he was to a friend he was quickly whisked home to be molded into the perfect Bollywood star, since then his mother, agent and girlfriend have control of his life and it is wearing him down. Ajay has stood on his own and made his own decisions, he is openly gay and a star cricketer. Offering Rajan a retreat from the high-pressure world might be a mistake but even after all these years he still cares deeply for the actor.
Ajay has a confidence in himself that is impressive and having Rajan again is all he wants, but accepting the restrictions are hard when all he wants is to love Rajan. Rajan is easily controlled by other people, especially his mother, but soon he will have to make his own choices if he wants to hold onto his love. I liked both Ajay and Rajan and enjoyed watching as they maneuvered into a relationship that they could both work with. the hot sex that is never a problem. The conflict that Rajan faces and the patience that Ajay has to dig deep for, and finally a compromise that works for both of them.
I was also surprised that the story was more focused on Rajan rather than Ajay and that was because of the series name, it was quite disappointing because I was looking forward to seeing what the authors could come up with for a cricketer but it was all about the Bollywood stars problems. I was very disappointed with the storyline. Especially seeing as it reminded me very strongly of another Bollywood story released over a year ago. Change the cricketers for bodyguards and yeah, very similar storyline.
I will recommend this to those who love closeted actors, hot cricketers, tension, forgiveness, hot sex and a great happy ending.