by Scott & Scott, contemporary (2007)
Loose Id, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-59632-549-4
Razor Burn was previously self-published in 2005 by Scott Pomfret and Scott Whittier, who go by Scott & Scott. They call their gay romances "Romentics". I don't know if this Loose Id edition has been altered in any way from the original version, however.
Ben is unemployed and, judging from his appearance at the start of the story, could use a little fixer-upper. He offers to buy a stranger in a café, Blayne, coffee and has him in his bed before the day is out. Hmm, perhaps Ben should consider being a gigolo. He seems to have a knack of picking rich johns, considering that Blayne is the son of a rich and wealthy CEO of a razor production company, married for appearance's sake, and claims to be straight. In other words, Blayne is the perfect customer a gigolo can hope for and he's also most susceptible to a little bit of blackmail if Ben feels like being a naughty boy, heh.
Blayne isn't the smartest fellow around because he actually invites Ben to send a resumé to his company. Now, if he is married to placate a homophobic father who controls his life via the purse strings, why would he court trouble by asking Ben to work for him? Unless he's hiring Ben for quick office trysts, that is, but Blayne is clearly not willing to accept that he's gay so I'm not sure what he is thinking.
At any rate, Ben gets hired at Mandatory. Let the games begin.
What I really like about Razor Burn is the authors' sense of humor that is almost British at times. I also enjoy how the characters here don't instantly conform to the stereotypical "sensitive nerd/straight acting jock" coupling typical of all those half-baked gay novellas and short stories out there. Ben is an adorable guy who doesn't let much faze him and I like how he is a jock and a sensitive guy all rolled in one nice package. He is often astute about where he stands in the scheme of things and in Blayne's life and he isn't afraid to try and change things so that he and Blayne can have a happily ever after. He also doesn't take too much crap from Blayne as well.
Blayne is not the most likable character and for a long time I wonder what Ben sees in this wimp because Blayne is just that, a wimp. I'm not talking about him being in the closet, by the way - that one is understandably tough for anyone who is in his shoes - I'm unhappy instead about how Blayne often acts like a whiny and unhappy killjoy in Ben's presence. What does Ben see in this fellow anyway, apart from the fact that Blayne is hot?
Still, my reservations about Blayne aside, I have a good time with Razor Burn. The writing could have been more polished and the plot is a little on the predictable side at times, but I have a blast following the adorable Ben around. Despite the fact that the main characters have sex very early in the story, there is ample relationship development to give the romance a pretty credible ring.
Razor Burn is a pretty solid effort and I'm looking forward to reading more from these guys.
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