Monday, June 16, 2008

Surrendered Victory by KC Kendricks

TITLE: Surrendered Victory
AUTHOR: KC Kendricks
PUBLISHER: Amber Quill (Allure)
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 17k)
GENRE: Gay contemporary erotic romance
COST: $4.00

Reed Kauffman is thirty-three years old and only now starting to come to grips that he’s attracted to men. For the past six weeks, he has been “running into” competitor Alan Dalton on Friday evenings at a local bar, and for six weeks, he’s gone home, too frightened to push what feels like a flirtation any further than that. Until now. Now, he’s willing to take that extra step, and before he can change his mind, he accepts Dalton’s invitation to go back to his place…

I almost didn’t buy this book. I read the blurb, then went to the excerpt, and when I got to the final line, I rolled my eyes. What did it say? I became reborn… I thought it over the top enough to show it to my best friend, who then surprised me by turning around and saying she didn’t think it was that bad. So I decided what the hell and bought it, on the caveat that I got to blame her if it turned out as bad as I thought it might.

It wasn’t quite as bad as that. Though the overly romantic and sentimental nature of the excerpt prevailed throughout the entire story.

It’s a very simple story at its heart. Reed has been in the closet and in denial all of his life, but his attraction to Dalton has finally reached the point where he’s found courage to act. Dalton is a nice guy, mature at forty-three, been through a lot of the same paces as he was married and has two grown children. As far as being a safe man to fixate on, Reed couldn’t have picked a better one. Their entire dance back and forth has a smooth flow to it, too, one that’s easy to fall into if you’re willing to overlook some of the sappy writing. Their budding chemistry and Dalton’s stable personality are what drew me most into the story. The relatively hot nature of their night together kept me there, for awhile at least.

Reed’s characterization doesn’t fare as well. With the story told in first person, he often comes across as quite desperate, which, in all fairness to the situation, he kind of is. Dalton tells him repeatedly to slow down, a command he usually ignores, and there’s a hyperactive puppy aspect to his personality throughout the story that grates slightly. When Dalton doesn’t call him the next day like he promised, Reed’s extreme emotional reaction only worsened that effect for me. I probably would have invested more in the romantic aspect of the story if I liked or sympathized with Reed more. As it is, I felt distanced because of my annoyance with him.

In the end, while I engaged with the erotic aspects of the story, I didn’t with many of the emotional ones, primarily because of my problems with the narrator and the overly romanticized prose in certain sections – like the I became reborn… line. I still think it’s too melodramatic, but I know for a fact that that’s not true for everyone, and honestly, in the context of what was going on, it wasn’t that bad. My best friend probably would have really liked it. I imagine others will, too.


7/10 – Technically smooth and relatively hot, but it borders on the overly romantic too much for me

Hero #1

6/10 – Comes across as quite desperate and needy

Hero #2

7/10 – More solid and likeable than the narrator

Entertainment value

7/10 – For its erotic scenes and how into each other they are

World building

6/10 – This is all about the characters, not the scene.



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