Author: Scotty Cade
Narrator: Kenneth Obi
Length: 7 hrs, 34 mins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (7th December 2018)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts
Blurb: New York Times best-selling mystery writer Bay Whitman leads the life of a celebrity – at least on the surface. In public, he’s self-assured and in control. Women hang on his every word, while men envy his confidence and swagger. But in reality, Bay is a loner. He’s shy and intro-verted, and his life consists of sitting in a dimly lit room writing his famous Jack Robbins mystery novels. His one vice – gambling. Winning an escort in a poker game will change Bay’s life in ways he never imagined.
Matthew “King” Slater is one of the hottest tickets in gay porn. He spends his days in front of the camera and his nights as a highly paid escort to the rich and famous. Deep down, he craves romance and a real connection, but his past makes it hard to separate the needs of his body from those of his heart. For now, it’s easier to think of sex as just a job. But while doing a shoot in Vegas, King is hired for a tryst at a famous hotel and casino, and his handsome client might blur the line between work and play.
Review: From A Jack to A King is a standalone contemporary romance by Scotty Cade, with narration for the audio performed by Kenneth Obi.
While Scotty Cade is a writer that I’ve read and enjoyed immensely in the past, I can’t say that he appears on my list of must-read authors. It’s more that I see interesting blurbs that spark my interest and I give it a go. Thinking about it, that seems odd to me because I love Cade’s writing style and his penchant for sweet and happy endings for his characters and that is totally my scene for a romance book. Perhaps I just need to read more from him? Maybe that list of authors is just way too long for me to really keep more than handful on my radar at once. I don’t know. Not the point.
Moving onto the narration, I was pleased after what seems to be months to have heard something from the wonderful Kenneth Obi. I’ve become familiar with Obi’s work particularly through the Dreamspun Desires audios, and these contemporary books are definitely where he shines as a narrator. He has a good tone and pace which is really pleasant to just listen to. I love that the two MCs have distinct voices despite them being so different, and in addition to that the secondary characters are also easily distinguished from his tone. Overall, a great narration, where the emotions of the characters and their complexities is captured wonderfully.
From A Jack to A King is a really interesting book. I can best describe the premise as quirky. In Vegas, New York Times best selling novelist Bay Whitman (who is something of a Robert Ludlum or Dan Brown), wins escort and popular gay porn star, King Slater, in a high-risk poker game where his opponent puts his appointment with an escort up as collateral. I really liked this initial set up, though it took me a few minutes to get on board with Bay getting his rush from playing high stakes poker but in the end didn’t come across as a gambling addict. Bay has a number of emotional and psychological scars which leaves him happiest on his own, being forced to go on book tours and make appearances often requires time as he puts on his public mask to get him through the ordeal. Because of this, Bay has never explored his sexuality at all, despite being in his thirties. He’s never allowed himself to get close enough to anyone, man or woman, to discover what it is that he wants. In fact, until he met King, love and romance had never been on his radar.
King Slater has his own demons to fight but meeting Bay intrigues him. He has no idea who Bay is and is surprised that Bay doesn’t recognise him. However, King is convinced that the man has to be bisexual if not gay and while developing some sort of odd friendship, he wants to push Bay’s buttons. The problem being that King isn’t really up to playing such a game, especially when it seems that his own feelings are becoming involved.
During their time at Vegas and beyond, the two men get to know each other and they begin to explore the possibilities of their relationship. The plot itself is really simple, and I’ve gone into a lot of detail here, but I’ve left out what happens in the last half, mostly because this is where the real deep character development happens. This is where King’s struggles also come into their own and that is something that I think Cade has done wonderfully, especially for “thing” that many of us would not understand. The guys are extremely complex, between their respective careers and their demons, there is a lot going on. However, by the end of it I felt like I knew them, could relate to their struggles despite having no personal knowledge of their issues. On top of that, their romance was a slow burn, although their attraction was immediate. I really enjoyed getting to know Bay and King and I was really happy with the ending that Cade gave his characters.
This is a story of two men working through and learning to live with their demons while establishing a deep and loving connection with each other. I recommend this for people that like a bit of celebrity with their romance, looking for characters on a journey of self-discovery and like slow burn romances.