Hard as Teak by Margie Church
Publisher: Noble Romance Publishing
Length: Full Length (184 pgs)
Other: M/M, F/M, Anal Play, Toys, Spanking
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Xeranthemum
Kevin Marks escapes to the north woods to reignite his passion for photography and women. But the only flame he seems able to spark is for his latest photography subject, Teak Hildalgo, and Kevin's never been in a man's arms before.
Teak, the raven-haired, photographer's dream come true, is hell bent on capturing Kevin's heart. He takes Kevin, body and soul, on a romantic, sexual journey previously lived only in Kevin's fantasies. And no dream was ever this good, no truth this undeniable.
Will Kevin ever be the same? When the camera's put away, will Teak live up to his name?
This book jumps into a man’s life at the moment he realizes that his energy and enthusiasm for his current lifestyle is gone – his passion, his focus, his sense of self-satisfaction is in a confused state of stagnation. What’s a man to do when he has no idea what’s wrong to even begin to fix it? And is he strong enough to make a stand for his own happiness?
Kevin is the main hero who has to find out these answers out for himself. Professionally, he’s reached a successful plateau that has garnered him recognition, accolades and some measure of fame. But it means nothing. He has a delightful girl friend that is so sweet on him and patient, but he’s found it’s not enough. Kevin left to go to a place that, as a child growing up, he felt accepted and comforted. There he discovers so much more. This story is about how he handles his emotions and feelings as he learns who he really is and what will truly make him happy, and if he’ll find the courage to make his life complete. Those kinds of major changes don’t come without cost and the author explored their various levels to a welcome degree.
Teak, the second hero and the reason for the title, is a man who long ago accepted his lifestyle and orientation. He is a hard working man who goes after what he wants. It’s how he ended up in the town of Westcott. He catches Kevin’s assessing gaze and the hook is set. I liked that Teak understood and respected where Kevin was coming from. He didn’t push, dominate or embarrass the other hero at all. He acted normal and friendly and accepting. Teak knew the score, recognized the signals and seduced Kevin just by being his ordinary handsome self – with a few teases thrown in to whet the appetite.
It’s a slow/fast build-up. By that I mean, Kevin jumps in but backs off, like a puppy – wants to play but is a bit wary. He advances a bit and then hides emotionally – but not for long. Kevin is old enough of a character to know his own mind and he did a quick analyzing of his feelings. What he found brought joy to his heart but a lot of confusion too. That didn’t stop him from wanting to explore this new kind of relationship and I found it heartening that there was a hint of trust already building between the two heroes. There had to have been for what happens later in the book.
When they finally connect, emotionally and physically, the scenes are explosive. Even the little kissing skirmishes peppering the beginning of their relationship are hot. Ms. Church has a vibrant imagination and she shares the joy of exploring man on man loving enough times that erotic romance readers will find many opportunities for satisfaction.
What made this entertaining and interesting book better for me was the conflict. I could really sink my teeth into the seething rage, twisted vengeance and spiteful actions of one of the secondary characters. That was incredibly well written and I enjoyed how the author had Kevin handling it. He had class, brains and no nonsense attitude that really impressed me. He was as smooth as James Bond with just as much firmness and discipline in his actions. Another thing the conflict did was solidify Kevin’s acceptance of himself and his relationship with Teak. It was wonderful and thoroughly engaging.
The editing was good, dialogue well paced and clear to each character, and the development of Kevin and Teak’s relationship solidly built.
Hard as Teak is a story about taking chances on your dreams, of not settling for less but going for the brass ring and finding a joy beyond your wildest imagination. This story is as sizzling and scorching in the sheet department as an erotic romance reader could possibly wish. The sultry touches, the heat-filled eyes glazed in passion and the possessive and passionate hold each hero has for the other comes through with crystal clarity. The best part is Kevin finding happiness and a happily ever after he never thought he’d have. Teak is a good contrast to Kevin’s personality and Ms. Church made me believe their relationship is not only going to work but will be around for the long haul. Hard as Teak satisfied the romantic in me and I’m glad I read it.