Dark and Dazzling (Sassy Boyz #2) by Elizabeth Varlet #BookReview
*** This review is SPOILER-FREE! Read on with confidence! ***
Let me just say straight off: I LOVED THIS BOOK! Not only is this series unique in a genre crowded by tired tropes and cookie-cutter characters, this book in particular shines so brightly that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days.
Connelly Reid—a police detective with a giving spirit and a helping heart—is such a likeable guy, yet he can go into dominant cop mode in a heartbeat. This guy gives off safe vibes as easily as he can send that thrill of power over your skin. So sexy. After an accidental meeting reveals the real Azariah Hayes, Con can’t stop thinking about him.
“I like you like this.”
Taking a step forward, Connelly waved a hand in his direction. “Real.”
“You can tell I’m wearing fifty layers of makeup right? I’m probably more plastic than person right now.”
“It’s your truth and it’s really fucking hot.”
Z’s history is a rough one, and he has eeked his way to self sufficiency through sheer grit and determination. His mother always encouraged him to shine bright like a diamond but stay hard and strong, and to never let anyone or anything dull his sparkle—and that advice has savagely defined his choices as an adult. Since Azariah seems to experience more hardships in life than perks, he always expects the worst from people even though he holds himself to the highest standards while hiding behind a mask of bitchiness, snark, and indifference. Z would never admit it, but he’s a great guy (a romantic, even!) under all that snark.
There were two types of people in the world, those who hurt you and those who changed you. Z knew without a doubt that Connelly was going to be both.
Azariah is so charismatic, this bright light that you just can’t keep your eyes off of. I love that this series is based around badass femme men: these guys dance for a living, wear makeup and stilettos, and live life on their own terms. They’re all so used to armoring up for the rest of the world that every sentimentality, every secret hope is a danger to that carefully maintained equilibrium.
Even in book two, I can tell this series won’t get stale or predictable. And the dancing, oh it is to DIE for. The choreography is written so perfectly: I can practically see these guys kicking ass and flaunting the moves in their sky-high heels and rock star gear. The imagery is so vivid, I wish I could watch them perform in real life.
Azariah’s fingers tightened in Connelly’s hair and pulled until they were so close their noses touched. “Will you give me the stars again, Hot Fudge?”
“Oh, baby, I’ll give you the whole fucking galaxy.”
Connelly and Z’s story is intense, shocking, deep. It’s also true to the characters. The author doesn’t shy away from hard choices and she doesn’t take the safe route through the conflict. The result is a vibrantly, painfully, beautifully evocative story featuring characters who bleed through the full spectrum of love and lust. I ADORED this book, devoured it in less than a day. I can’t wait to see what Ms. Varlet has in store for the rest of the Sassy Boyz!
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If you enjoy the “real guy” feel of the Sassy Boyz series, you may also enjoy the male/male romances by Amy Lane. Check out her Winter Ball (read my review of book #2, Summer Lessons here) and her serial Beneath the Stain (about a rock band!).
Grab your copy of Dark and Dazzling on Amazon here: