Pieces of Me, by Melanie Hansen
Series: Spectrum Nights, #1
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Deep in the heart of the Florida Panhandle, Scott Ashworth’s bleak life stretches out before him with not much hope for the future. His hardscrabble days are brightened by the arrival of a new stepbrother, Rylan Mahoney, who quickly becomes the friend Scott so desperately needs. Their relationship has just started to deepen into more, when during the course of one terrible night, what Scott overhears sends him fleeing from his home, never to return.
Flash forward six years, and Scott is now the hottest club host on the Phoenix gay scene. He takes what he wants, does what he wants, and does whom he wants. It’s a good life, but the journey to local popularity and fame wasn’t an easy one. For all that Scott’s looks are a blessing, at the same time they’re a curse—the source of his alcoholic mother’s inexplicable hatred.
Rylan dreams of photojournalistic glory. He’s in Phoenix looking for the story of a lifetime, but the project isn’t coming to fruition. Needing rent money, he accepts a gig at Phoenix Pride hawking lewd lollipops and edible condoms…all while wearing gold lamé hot pants and a matching bow tie. When Rylan’s house keys and street clothes go missing after his shift, he’s desperate, until a stranger in a convertible stops to help.
The man is absolute sex on legs, and Rylan is jolted when he recognizes him—his stepbrother Scott Ashworth, long missing but suddenly larger than life. Reunited after six years apart, Scott and Rylan are determined to put their past behind them, but fate intervenes and leaves their future in jeopardy once again.
Young Adult [at the beginning]
Off-screen Student/Teacher Relationship
Adult lusting after minor
* Please note that this novel contains step brothers in a sexual/romantic relationship.
Well let me start this out as I mean to go on, which is I’m glad someone warned me about the cliffhanger because holy hell…it was the worst. It comes at a real pivotal point in relationship between Rylan & Scott….but let me go back to the beginning.
The boys first meet at 17 when their parents impulsively marry each other after barely dating. It comes as a surprise to both boys and really sets the stage for how neglectful the parents are. Scott’s mom is a drunk, they live in a trailer where she has three other kids, none of which seem to share the same father. She basically known as the town whore. The best thing Scott has going for him is his looks and even at 17 he’s jaded, he seemed hard, a kid already used to being used. Rylan’s father…the guy seemed nice enough but clueless. It felt like being a trucker (he traveled two to three weeks out of each month) he was looking for a woman who he felt would be a great mother to his son & would honestly take on that responsibility. Rylan, within a day of meeting Scott, lets him know he’s gay & won’t be manipulated, but is willing to be his friend.
If the first book had been just about them as teens falling for each other I would have 100% given this five stars. Unfortunately that’s not what happens. After having some time to think about it…I don’t think this book ever achieved true romance, not even when the two were kids. I felt like…I never trusted Scott. I didn’t think he ever really showed any true feelings which progresses throughout the story. I understood his need for self-preservation, and hope the next book he shows some growth. I won’t spoil the why’s, but it ends up the boys get separated for six years which is where the book started to lose me.
Rylan & Scott are reunited randomly and because Scott’s employer could use a good professional photographer (Rylan is looking for work) he suggests Rylan for the job. As a result the two quickly find their lives intertwined again. The portion of the book where the two are adults to an extent let me down. We are not given ANY insight into where Scott has been for six years. None, there is speculation especially given his current occupation as a dancer? Entertainer? at Phoenixes’ hottest gay club. Rylan observes that Scott seems even more hardened, often using his sexuality as a means of manipulating men, and as a result refuses any advances from him. Rylan believes Scott needs a friend more than another fuck buddy, and resolves to be that friend.
I liked Rylan and to a certain extent I sympathized with Scott. I was poor…you use what you have to survive. BUT– & I’m sure it’s 100% intentional– but while Rylan was an open book I could root for Scott, was almost unlikeable. His carefully crafted image left me so cold I wanted Rylan to run for the hills.
I’m still reading the next one and highly recommend you do as well! I teetered between four and five stars and finally settled on four because a cliffhanger with no release date for the second book was more than I could handle.
Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work. She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met. After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking.
She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles.
Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.