Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Review – Switching Gears & Stardust – Claire Thompson

Title:  Switching Gears (The Solitary Knights Of Pelham Bay: Bk3)
Author: Claire Thompson
Publisher:   Romance Unbound
Main Characters: Jack Harris & Marcos Savakis
Jack told himself love was for losers, what he really needed was someone strong enough to show him the truth...
Jack Harris, a tattooed auto mechanic with roguish good looks, prides himself on being impervious to love. When challenged to reconnect with the one that got away, Alexei was the first to come to Jack's mind. It's been years since Jack walked away from the traditional leather scene, its rigid rules and conventions too confining for a man used to taking who and what he wants. Though they've lost contact over the years, he's always maintained respect and affection for his old mentor and scene partner, Alexei, the only man he ever trusted completely. Alexei hones in on Jack's anger and restlessness, with the same uncanny knack he always had. Alexei says he has the cure... Jack isn't so sure.
Marcos Savakis watches with disdainful amusement as Jack boasts of his sexual conquests at the monthly meetings of the Solitary Knights. Marcos has spent years in the scene, training submissives to serve others, his heart insulated from the process. At the request of a dying friend, he reluctantly accepts a new charge to train. The man he discovers waiting on his knees is the last person he would have ever expected, and the first person to touch his heart.

The Review
I have been looking forward to  this book every since Claire introduced Jack and not only his attitude  but also the vey blasé attitude that he has when it comes to relationships.
After little meetings with him in two further books Jack has not mellowed he is still the A-hole everyone thinks he is.
The story starts with Jack in a jam when he has mess up with an order which he had used to help a friend. Now the owner of said order is in his shop and not happy about the matter. Jack in his own way expected the matter to be sorted at the counter but the order belonged to none other than Marcos Savakis and Marco and Jack has never seen eye to eye on alot of things – albeit the fact that they were both apart of the Solitary Knights Of Pelham Bay club…
The book follows the blurb right up to the point where Jack entrusts his whole self to Alexi, a man he trust more than anyone else to help him resolve some for his anger issues…
What follows is Jack being placed  in a situation that find him and Marcos in the same room wanting the same thing but both are not only surprise to see the other there, but more surprise that they are there for the reason they are.
Marcos is a submissive trainer and a Dom himself, he demand a  lot from the people he trains and is highly regarded in his field, finding Jack in the position he is in – strapped and bound awaiting his pleasure – make him wonder at the irony of it all.
Jack is the original bragger, not that he doesn’t follow through – but his conquest might not be as dramatic as he claims and somewhere in the back of his mind he wants what he has run away from years ago – he wants to be dominated but after one bad experience he has vowed never to be put in that position again and in making that decision he has ever after taken the topper position…
Marcos is prepared to meet Jack halfway and as boorish as Marcos finds some of Jacks attitude he is attracted to the man and he sees something that he had been searching for himself – a submissive who is not afraid to receive but to give as good as he gets…
SWITCHING GEAR is a great name for this book – it is such a play on everything that the book is about, attitude, mannerism and eventually lifestyle.
Because I  have had other interaction with Jack since originally meeting him – I sort of accepted some of his ways. I knew he was a bragger, he has a wondering eye and he say the most ridiculous things sometimes… But I liked him. Finding out more about why he was like that really made me look at him in a different light.
Ms. Thompson surrounded Jack with a past in the guise of Alexi who further developed on Jacks past history and introduced me as the reader to the lifestyle that Jack had run away from but which Alexi seems to thrive in, if his submissive was anything to go by…
Marcos got his page time as well –I saw him in his domain, where he is master at what he does best and I have to say I was liking it. BDSM is not for everyone, but I have always thought Thompson does have a gentle hand at introducing this kink to her reader, she bring out the sensual side of the art as well as the emotional connection between the players.
Marcos is Jack’s here and now if he allows him to master him he can be his future if he is willing to take a chance and meet Marcos half way as well.
I liked this book alot, there was no gentleness to it, no whining, no sympathy sentences. harsh reality was brought to light and both men had to accept things about themselves and embrace the fact that the past only made them the men they are now.
Thompson’s style is a dead give away in this one, little sarcasm was tossed in here and there to soften the more aggressive scenes, and she didn’t skimp on the details – I love that about her..
As a third books, this was a perfect addition, and I think I am loving this one the best so far… 

Title:  Stardust(The Solitary Knights Of Pelham Bay: Bk4 )
Author: Claire Thompson
Publisher: Romance Unbound 
Main Characters: Gordon Flanders& Dennis Wilson
What starts out as a routine emergency call, lands Gordon Flanders and Dennis Wilson in the thick of a madcap drag queen party gone wild. Gordon finds himself in a position to save Ben Ryder, his old lover, from a fiasco that could ruin the movie star's career. Gordon volunteers to hide the movie star from the paparazzi until he can get a flight back to L.A. Thrilled by what he sees as his second chance with the man he never got over, the star struck Gordon plans a romantic dinner for two that he hopes will set the stage for more - much more.
Dennis and Gordon outwardly agree love affairs and work relationships shouldn't mix. Inside Dennis' heart, however, it's a different story. Too shy to press past Gordon's defenses, he settles for being the best friend he can, even when it means helping Gordon plan the seduction of another man.
When events collide to reveal Ben's true colors, Gordon's heart is trampled in the process, and it's left to Dennis to pick up the pieces. Will Dennis finally find the courage to seize his own second chance at love? And with the stardust falling from Gordon's eyes, will he finally see the real star who has been in front of him the entire time?

The Review
I am making another journey to the Pelham Bay society and this time it’s a mix bag for me. STARDUST is another book that the blurb literally sums up a lot of the book.
After a few years of lusting after his co-worker, Gordon Flanders watches in silence as Dennis Wilson lust after his own teenage crush - movies star Ben Ryder himself.
With both men working in the emergency services, as luck would have it they find themselves in a position to help said movie star out of a rather embarrassing situation.
Gordon immediately now sees his chance to make Ben see him as the man he is now, however what he gets is a hero with his feet made of clay, but through it all right alongside him sharing in every emotional upheaval in his best friend and co-worker Dennis.
Dennis has always been there for Gordon and expects nothing in return, but when Gordon’s rose tinted glasses falls from his eyes and he starts looking at Dennis with a glow, Dennis has to make a decision about where to go from here and it might not be what Gordon wants to hear .  
STARDUST is a quick read, it was over before before I even got a chance to start even developing an opinion on the main protags. Dennis is a solid guy, more over a patient one. Knowing that he cares for a guy who is secretly lusting after a dream is not the happiest situation to be in but when he gets his chance to have his cake and eat it too, I was quite pleased with how he handled the situation.
Gordon was the  mix bag for me – when I met him, I thought he was mad and even after I knew a bit more about him – I still thought he was mad.  Waiting your whole life for one person to notice you was a bit much for me to accept and despite the feeling of wanting to be loyal to the one you want – he had too much in front of him to hold on for so long.
The plot itself was familiar – What worked for me with this plot however was that it broke the formulaic mould of the series. In STARDUST, Gordon did get his chance with “the” someone from his past but it was the person in his present that was the one who has been there and is still there for him and the person who he had been overlooking.
I like the dialogue in this book and although some very stereotypical things were brought to the forefront of the plot it played into making the men find each other. While this book was not as strong as the other three in the series – it is a must read if you are following this series.
Now I am all set for my next visit with the remaining members of The Solitary Knights Of Pelham Bay.

10 Speak To Me:

Smokinhotbooks on 9 March 2010 at 19:43 said...

I read Thompson's Handyman and thought it was okay, maybe I should give this series a go?

Great Review!

Blodeuedd on 9 March 2010 at 20:19 said...

The knights are back, I do remember your 2 previous reviews :)

Lily on 9 March 2010 at 23:01 said...

These sound good, especially #3, although I'm waiting for the series to be complete before getting and reading them. Wonderful reviews, EH :)

Chris on 9 March 2010 at 23:57 said...

I'm using the same strategy as Lily!!

Top2Bottom Reviews on 10 March 2010 at 03:42 said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Claire Thompson's books. I can't wait to read this series. Great review!!

Erotic Horizon on 10 March 2010 at 21:22 said...


I do remember you telling me it was a meh read for you - I like this series because it deals with older men ...

These are certainly working for me..



Erotic Horizon on 10 March 2010 at 21:23 said...


The knights are back

Yup they are back and more still to come...


Erotic Horizon on 10 March 2010 at 21:24 said...


I dont think you have too much longer to wait - I can't imagine there are much more book in the series to come...

I am having fun with them though..


Erotic Horizon on 10 March 2010 at 21:25 said...


What ever works for you my dear... what ever works..


Erotic Horizon on 10 March 2010 at 21:26 said...


I know you love Claire's work - looking forward to your thoughts...