After reading Fierce and Fabulous I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next book in the series and see which one of the Sassy Boyz was going to fall next. So, when I saw that it was Z, the one immune to love, up next to run the gauntlet I knew it would be one hell of a ride and Ms. Varlet didn’t disappoint. Dark & Dazzling was just as sweet, sassy, snarky and smexy but it was also a little darker which was a welcome surprise.
Azariah, Z, is all about being Miss Independent. After losing the most important person in his life at a young age and then being made to feel inferior because he didn’t toe the line, he decided that he didn’t want to conform and headed out on his own. It wasn’t pretty, but at least he was being true to himself and ended up finding a family with the rest of the Sassy Boyz. Z, oh, Z. Here’s the thing I loved him. He may not have always shown it in the best of ways, he could be cranky bitch and spit venom because he was frustrated, but he loved his friends and would do anything for them. His greatest downfall was his need to prove he didn’t need help, that he could do it all. This tended to blind him to what was going on around him and make snap decisions.
Connelly, Con, is the White Knight. He loves to swoop in and make things better, even when he should let the person/people figure things out for themselves. He doesn’t see it as a fault, and it isn’t in general, but doesn’t see that there is a difference in helping someone fix their own problem vs doing the fixing for them. This White Knight syndrome, though, works well in his career as a NYPD detective. The one hitch in his life is that he is gay, something that he isn’t ashamed of in the least, but has had to keep one foot in the closet when it comes to his job. It was hard not to love Con, even when some of his decisions had me shaking my head because I knew that while he meant well, they’d end up bringing about more problems. But Con really is that good, upstanding, honest guy who wants to protect everyone who matters to him and you really just want to hug him for being such a good soul.
Z and Con’s relationship starts slowly, in the respect that they’ve had contact but nothing more than curiosity comes from it, at least on Con’s end. But, once they collide things get real interesting, real quick. But though things do happen quickly it felt right because they find themselves in situations that forced them to open up more and see who the other was without their masks in place. I liked their bantering and holy hell were they smoking hot together. But nothing is ever easy, especially when it involves a White Knight and a Miss Independent. Their actions and decisions, though done with good intentions, set off a series of events that end up having some pretty big consequences that neither could have seen coming. But while there are still some unresolved issues, what does come out of the chaos is that both Z and Con finally realize that their way of doing things isn’t always the best way and that they need to adjust how they do things.
I loved catching up with Ansel and Fitch and the rest of the Sassy Boyz, I still want to be friends with all of them and drool over their shoes and make up, and loved Raoul, Con’s partner. There are some situations that occur in the story that could be triggers for some, but I thought they were handled well. I’m really looking forward to what the future holds for the Sassy Boyz, especially with the issues that were left unresolved. So bring on the next book!
~ Copy received from the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed ~
Z doesn't need a hero…
Azariah "Z" Hayes is a diamond. Equal parts strength and sparkle, he's more than capable of standing on his own stilettos. So if waiting tables and stripping at The Vibe are what it takes to keep a roof over his head, well, there are worse ways to earn a living.
Connelly is a white knight with a badge…
For NYPD detective Connelly Reid, to serve and protect is just another day at the office—even if that means protecting himself from his own true desires. He's been curious about Z, his waiter, for months, but it's not until he sees him in his makeup and heels that the curiosity becomes a fierce attraction. Z, despite all his over-the-top dazzle, might just be the man Connelly has been waiting for his entire life.
But when Connelly investigates underground porn and drug activity with ties to The Vibe, one thing becomes very clear—acting on what he knows is going to hurt Z, financially and emotionally. And though Connelly would love nothing more than to fix all of Z's problems, no amount of mind-blowing sex can make Z comfortable becoming dependent on his lover. Yet if there's one thing Connelly knows from his years on the force, it's this: when things go bad, you need a trusted partner to have your back.
Elizabeth Varlet is a nerd at heart and spends way too many hours binging on episodes of her favorite television shows. If you love Doctor Who, Supernatural, Stargate, Star Trek, Sherlock, or Firefly you are already her best friend.
She started writing stories in high school and hasn’t stopped. Now, her characters like to get frisky under the covers – or the stars, they’re not picky. She’s a thirty-something, newly married, world-traveler who devours books like they were candy.