This fangirl went to her happy place with EXPOSED. Here’s why…
Contemporary gay fiction, romance, lite BDSM
With middle-age looming, Greg offsets his boring day job with what truly feeds his soul: photography. The camera is an extension of himself where he exposes his passion for the intersect of pleasure and pain. However, the lens also acts as a barrier, protecting his subjects from the shameful mistakes of his past, and Greg is left isolated and lonely.
Emyr stands on the cusp of fame, but adulation and abuse are both eroding his confidence, and one night, at the river’s edge, he seeks solace in the rain, hoping to hide his tears.
The photographer and the virgin rock star share an accidental connection on that dark, drizzly night. When Greg invites Emyr back to his hotel room, no strings attached, the young man should have bolted. Instead, an odd sense of trust allows him to follow Greg’s lead.
When the camera comes out, Emyr learns the stage isn’t the only place he loves to perform as Greg touches something inside him that rarely awakens. Faced with a beautiful, talented boy whose soul is as lonely as his own, will Greg be able to face his past and come to terms with it, or will he run from the connection he so desperately desires?
Once more, Bey Deckard has dazzled me with his grasp of craft and his ability to engage all my senses, pulling me into the story until I lose myself completely to the sensuality, power and complexity of the human spirit.
The pairing of Greg, the photographer who uses his avocation as a filter that leads only to alienation and profound loneliness, and Emyr, a young man on the cusp of becoming, with a world sans barriers spread before him, is both perilous and joyous.
This is no simple May-December match-up, fraught with the usual tropes, but rather an exploration of connectivity, that ephemeral first attraction that—only rarely—ignites with passion, then settles with time into enduring, and endearing, sympatico.
Greg, with history and a catalog of errors dogging his psyche, is the one who must battle on a multitude of fronts: social, cultural, familial… but more importantly, himself. And though how he comes to terms with how he’s changing to meet the challenges he faces with Emyr is compelling on its own merits, it is the young man who most commands my interest and, ultimately, my empathy.
At the tender age of twenty-three, on the cusp of fame and all the tribulations and challenges that entails, there is unexpected depth to Emyr that I found intriguing and charming. In many ways, he presents as the adult in their budding relationship, and this allows Greg time and space to ground himself in his new reality.
At the same time, Emyr enjoys a freedom of choice and expression unthinkable to a man a full generation removed from his own. This makes for a very fluid dynamic, one that shifts and wavers, until finally settling into an edgy comfort zone that allows the best of both men to blossom.
What Emyr lacks, on first contact, is a path to fully realize his own sexuality, independent of the heady freedom and abandon afforded his stage persona. It is Greg, in his hotel room, camera in hand, who fabricates a new script and a new stage upon which Emyr’s sensuality can take flight. It is a liberation that quite simply explodes on the page.
That initial scene, with Greg, camera recording every expression, asking questions—at first innocent, then progressively less so—is so fraught with violent sensuality it took my breath away. So, too, the spanking scene that edges the reader’s anticipation with the very real expectation of Greg finally losing control in a battle that’s not his to own. The outcome was a splendid mix of heady validation and vague disappointment, making this my second favorite scene in the book.
Aside from the depth of characterizations and the beautifully rendered descriptions, there’s an underpinning of hope and joy and affirmation… that two people as different as night and day can find the missing puzzle pieces that complete the whole… that love can be more than lip service to an unrealized fantasy.
The writing is stellar, as always. Exposed invited me into the hearts and souls of two men I came to care about deeply. Their story, plus all the minor characters who brought both gravitas and levity to the proceedings, and… finally… the resolution, all of those elements left me feeling insanely happy.
Thank you, Bey Deckard.
An unreserved and enthusiastic Five Stars.