Title: Cross to Bare
Series: Men of London #5
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Genre: M/M Romance
Date: November 10, 2015
Tough in business but romantic at heart, fashion designer Lenny James isn’t hiding his masculinity behind his super successful female alter ego, but a vulnerability that only handsome financier Brook Hunter will be man enough to reveal...and worship.
TWO OF A KIND
It’s amazing what a little mascara and lipstick, a blonde wig, false boobs, and top-notch female fashion can hide. Not that Lenny James is hiding his masculinity. He uses his normal voice when he’s Laverne, and he’s not particularly camp as a man. His reasons for creating his alter ego are locked deep in his past. He is who he is: tough in business, and a romantic at heart. What he’s hiding is vulnerability. He wants a man to accept both sides of him.
Gorgeous, commanding, and dark as sin, Brook Hunter meets Lenny and knows nothing about Laverne until fate pushes her into his path. Cross-dressing is as far from Brook’s reality as fashion is from his world of diplomacy and high finance. Understanding and truth take time, and trust doesn’t come easy. But Brook is about to show Lenny that there are no sides to true love, just the place where they meet in the middle.
Review by: multitaskingmomma
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
One of the more difficult tasks for an author is to address a difficult/confusing situation and come out a winner. This is what Ms Susan did for Laverne/Lenny. Cross To Bare is a story of a transvestite. A man who loves to dress in fashionable and soft clothing our society has labelled and categorized as: For Women Only.
My question is: how did this label/categorization start and who instigated it? Clothing is clothing, right?
Lenny is a gifted designer and his suits are sought after by those who seek only the best in men's clothing. Not something to scoff at or dismiss as merely suits. (Have you tried on men's suits? They're darned uncomfortable and if not done right, can be even more uncomfortable.) Lenny manages to iron out those suit glitches, hence his fame.
Unfortunately, being sought after as a designer does not equate to relationships. Lenny does not have that special someone... Well, he did, but that ship sailed long ago.
... or so he thought.
Brook had loved Lenny but something he did turned the man away from him. It hurt because he thought he'd connected with Lenny. It hurt even more because he still has no answer why Lenny broke up with him. Right now, though, he has to deal with a deal gone sour because of some harsh and bigoted words one of his staff said to a potential client.
When Brook meets Laverne, there is no insta-recognition but the subtle clues made him look deeper into the woman before him. Reconciling Laverne to Lenny is a splash of cold water and Brook struggles.
Love wins out.
Although Cross To Bare can be a bit difficult to read, because of the seemingly confusing gender switching and such, it is actually a very fun read and quite the eye opener. For those who are confused about transvestites, this book is the goto read for it gives us a brief but very informative and revealing peek into the life of one.
The clothes do not make the man and Lenny is still Lenny even if he is dressed as Laverne. As I asked earlier, who categorized clothes anyway? Does my preferring to wear pants 90% of the time, make me a man? I get confused at the confusion.
Lenny/Laverne settles the score. He shows us that yes, despite the Donna Karan suit and highest of heels, he can still kick bigoted arseholes heads up their bums! — This is the best threat I've read in the longest time and yes, I am going to borrow it next time someone wants to magnanimously remind me I am a woman.
For those of you who follow this series, be glad to know Leslie is back and hilarious fun as ever. The other men, those brooding ones, they are thankfully back as well, laughing their hearts out, happily contented with their chosen life partners. Lenny who thought he would forever be alone is now getting his own sexy man in Brook. This is not a brooding, dark, story. This is not the hilarious, smexiness that was Leslie's.
This is Lenny's story. His fight for recognition as a man who loves to wear beautiful clothes. His love for Brook who finally gets his eyes open and realize that, yes, Lenny is still Lenny even if she is Laverne.
Ms Susan: Thank you.
Brook smiled. “The chemistry is still there, though. No doubt about that.” His brows furrowed. “And if I remember from our last window encounter, you promised to return the favour,” he murmured as he reached out and removed the glass from Lenny’s hands. He put the whisky down on the table by the window then dipped his finger in the cool liquid. Brook’s finger came up, and he slid it across Lenny’s bottom lip, slowly. He thought he was going to shoot in his pants with the eroticism of that gesture. The whisky flavour burned into his lips and he slid his tongue out and sucked the finger caressing his mouth. Brook’s eyes widened in lust, the pupils expanding. His lips parted and Lenny wanted to thrust his tongue and his cock inside the hot, wet heat of that mouth.
“Let’s get this over with, shall we, because obviously neither of us can wait,” Brook whispered, as his tongue slid into Lenny’s ear. His hands slid under the red jacket, tugging the shirt from his trousers, and then caressing the heated skin beneath. “Otherwise we’ll not enjoy my wonderful Chicken Cacciatore that I slaved over all day. Let’s fuck first, talk later.”
Lenny agreed wholeheartedly. With a low moan, he mashed his mouth against Brook’s and took possession of it. Familiar and wanton in return, Brook’s questing tongue slid into Lenny’s mouth. The slippery sensation of that deliciously heated organ, currently on a quest to drive him crazy, took him back to those passion fuelled days when he and Brook had been together. The feel of strong fingers against Lenny’s skin and the heat of that body pressed against his – it was if they’d never been apart. Lenny wasn’t one for insta-love but insta-lust he could definitely understand.
“I’d forgotten how damn good you taste and feel,” Brook gasped as his hands fumbled with buttons, opening Lenny’s trousers. He cried out as Brook’s hand slid inside his silk boxers and slid fingers down his hardened and wet cock. “This - this is what I want, you inside me.”
That phrase made Lenny thrust his cock harder into the tight confines of Brook’s hand.
“You keep saying that and I won’t have anything to fuck you with because you’ll make me come,” he managed to get out. “Turn around, face the glass.” He didn’t wait for Brook to obey, simply spun him round hard and slammed him against the cold, silken wall. “You’d better hope this is one way glass, because otherwise your neighbours are going to see you being royally skewered this time.” Lenny kicked off his trousers and underwear, giving a sigh of relief as his cock sprung free.
Susan Mac Nicol is a self-confessed bookaholic, an avid watcher of videos of sexy pole dancing men, geek and nerd and in love with her Smartphone. She is never happier than when sitting scribbling down words and making two men fall in love.
In an ideal world, Susan Mac Nicol would be Queen of England and banish all the bad people to the Never Never Lands of Wherever -Who Cares. As that’s never going to happen, she contents herself with writing her HEA stories and pretending, that just for a little while, good things happen to good people.
Sue is a member of Romance Writers of America and Romantic Novelists Association in the UK. She lives in the quaint village of Bocking in Essex, set in the countryside and not far from the sea should she get the yen to eat crab or oysters on the Cromer Pier.