Bad Boy (Masters of Romance #1) ~ Emma Alcott
Bad Boy is the first full book in the Masters of Romance series by Emma Alcott (aka Piper Scott). This looks like it's going to be a humorous journey following six authors on their journey to a Happily Ever After.
In Bad Boy, we meet Russ, a former bad boy who has turned his life around, and Colton, who is only just starting to put his life together.
We first met Colton, well in name anyway, as Gavin's best friend in the prequel Side Character. From the first chapter, it is easy to see how Gavin and Colton are best friends as they share a very similar sense of humour. However, unlike Gavin, Colton is not an extroverted character. Struggling with a formidable case of anxiety, he is very timid. This natural tendency has been compounded by a toxic (one might even say mentally abusive) relationship with his ex-boyfriend. Colton needs a protector, someone that will shield him from the world, but also give him the confidence and inner strength to face that world. Enter Russ.
“Everyone knows the virgin always makes it out alive. As long as the monster doesn’t charm my pants off, everything will be all right.”
Russ is leaving behind a life of crime and actions that he's not proud of. He's done his time, and he has taken root in a quiet part of the country so he can turn his life around and write his books, giving his characters a chance to find a HEA that he believes will never happen for him. An incident when he first arrives in town once again painted him as the town bad guy and made him an object of suspicion and dislike from the town's sheriff, who also happens to be Gavin’s father. Russ is relatively happy living his isolated life, but he is lonely. He dreams of finding his ‘boy’ who he can spoil and protect, and on a snowy New Years Eve, he gets his wish.
Bad Boy and Side Character were the first books I had read by this author either as Emma Alcott or Piper Scott. I really enjoyed her writing style, it flowed smoothly, changing from one point of view to the other without any noticeable breaks or abrupt turns. The humour was on point, I caught myself laughing a few times at Colton's inner musings, and Russ' conversations with the other 'Masters' was downright hilarious at times.
When Russ first started using the term 'boy' I became a bit cautious. I don't mind a light Daddy kink, but I just can't get my head around age play, it's just not for me. However, Bad Boy has neither. It is simply a term Russ uses. There is no daddy, age play, or dom/sub kink at all.
Obviously, Russ is the more 'dominant' character, primarily because that is who he is, and it's who Colton needs him to be. But as Colton grows, he more than stands up for himself, and his relationship with Russ is always on equal footing. Despite Colton's lack of confidence and his inner fears, Russ never makes Colton feel less or childlike, and that is beautiful to see. Colton has always had Russ wrapped around his finger (even if he didn't know it), and their relationship was always one of equals, Colton just had to grow enough to embrace his power.
This series will be narrated by the always impressive Michael Ferraiuolo. The audio for Bad Boy is available now and is Whispersync’d. I have only listened to a sample so far, but I know it will be good. These are the types of characters and humour that Michael excels at, so it will definitely be worth the listen (I’ve already bought the audio, just haven’t listened to it in full yet).
Bad Boy is a low angst, insta-lust and insta-love, but it is also very sweet, extremely funny, and just a beautiful feel-good story. I’d highly recommend it.