Stroke of Luck by Posy Roberts
You're gonna fall in love with me. You're already halfway there.
After everything Marc owned burned to a crisp, he’s living off the kindness of others. A model condo is his temporary home, and his last dime went to essentials. He doesn’t need another distraction, but the fates conspire against him, setting up a chain of encounters that bring him face to face with Cas.
Cas’s love life has been in limbo for years, lovers moving on as soon as they discover how close he is to his best friend, Maisie. Then he meets Marc. The attraction between the two men can’t be denied, but Cas isn’t sure he can risk his friendship for a guy who will only end up leaving when he sees how close he and Maisie are.
When Marc and Cas discover they live in the same building, it’s kismet. But Marc has to invite chaos into his life if he and Cas stand a chance, and Cas faces a choice between friendship and love. Luck may be on their side... if they're willing to risk it all.
Genre: MM Romance, contemporary, bisexual, LGBT, Halloween, friendship, love, fate
Length: Novella, 25,000 words
Publisher: Labyrinth Bound Press
Buy Links (On KU for 90 days)
Scene setup: Marc is shopping for kitchen items and clothes at Goodwill to replace what burned in a fire a week ago. He runs into Cas and Maisie looking for Halloween costumes.
“Oh. My. Gawd!” the blonde woman said, voice rising in pitch with each word.
“What do you think?” A built guy with jacked-up shoulders and an amazing ass that had been poured into tight, red jeans walked in front of Marc and over to his previous dance partner. The guy wiggled his hips in a mesmerizing way.
“Cas… oh my God. Turn around! Let me see that ass.”
Marc watched as… Cas turned. The woman spanked him, and Cas stuck his ass out as if asking for “another, please.”
“They look amazing. What do you think?”
“Hmmm.” Cas looked over his shoulder at his reflection in the mirror, and Marc noticed a white streak in his dark hair, about two inches wide. “Well, Maisie, I think these are it. Now, if I can find a red leather jacket, that would be great. You still have those leather pieces at home from the vest you made last year, right?”
“Yeah. You gonna embellish?”
“Mhmm.” Cas marched over to the jackets and stood right across from Marc. Maisie went back to picking through the racks a few rows away.
Marc found himself staring outright at the hot guy and studying that streak in his hair. He tore his attention back to the coats, hunting for something that could serve for both work and casual. A peacoat would be nice, if he could afford it.
“Look at this!” Cas was enthusiastic as he slipped on a hideous red jacket, but Maisie ignored him.
Marc couldn’t keep his snort of laughter in. The coat was that bad.
“Something funny?” Cas asked with a bitch brow.
Marc bit his lip and shook his head before double-checking the size on the coat he’d just found. He slipped it over his shoulders. It felt comfortable.
“What? What’s so funny?”
“Nothing. I’m sorry. It’s just….”
“Laughing at the queer guy willing to try something besides black or navy, huh?” Cas gestured to the navy wool coat Marc wore.
“No. It’s not that. It’s just that… you look… you look like….”
Maisie came to the rescue. “Get that off, Cas! You look like Michael Jackson. All it’s missing is silver zippers and spangles on the shoulders. Off!”
Marc slipped the navy coat in his cart and had started to make his escape when he was stopped by Cas’s apology. “Sorry, man.” When Marc turned back, he was glad to see the hideous coat was no longer on Cas, and Maisie was tucking it deep between other clothes so no one else needed to be accosted by it. “I didn’t mean to imply you were homophobic or anything.” Cas shrugged.
“I’d be a hypocrite if I were.” Marc gave Cas what he hoped was his warmest smile, and then he winked.
**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**
Stroke of Luck is a standalone novella by Posy Roberts, my first by this author. I always feel like novellas would be difficult to write. You have to pack a whole love story into a short story so they're always instalove. I mean, we all know that going into them, if they're a romance book. In this novella, Marc is not having a stroke of luck. He's lost everything in a fire and is trying to get back on his feet. His friend has let him live in a model condo but the furnishings are limited as is his wardrobe. We meet Marc while he's shopping at Goodwill with his last $100 trying to find kitchen items and a few clothing items. Obviously, by his shopping, he's not a typical bargain hunter. He comes across Cas and Maisie shopping in the clothing section. Cas seems like a guy having a lot of fun with his wife or girlfriend. Cas is at the Goodwill trying to come up with the perfect Halloween costume. Typically he and Maisie, his ex-girlfriend, coordinate costumes but this year Cas wants to do his own thing.
Marc can't seem to get away from Cas after the Goodwill meeting. He backs his car into Maisie's car when leaving Goodwill continuing his stroke of bad luck. Marc runs into Cas and Maisie in a hotel restaurant when he's there to finalize a business deal that will help him get on his feet. He mistakenly thinks Cas and Maisie are there for their wedding but Cas sets him straight. Marc then runs into him again in the gym swimming pool in the building he's living in temporarily. Turns out that Cas and Maisie live in the same building. After an encounter in the pool together, they decide to go for a smoothie and then to spend the day and night together which doesn't go over well with Maisie.
Typically, I like when one of the MC's has a female best friend, but Maisie was horrible. She's Cas' ex-girlfriend, but her family still thinks they're in a relationship. Her family provides the condo they live in and she expects Cas to be at her beck and call. And she reminds Cas often that her family provides their home. She doesn't want a sexual relationship with him and is happy to go about meeting women to fulfill that need but she doesn't want Cas to have anyone but her in his life. She was as much a part of this story as Marc and Cas. Cas really wanted a relationship but refused to make any changes in his life to have one. He's bisexual and can't convince anyone that him and Maisie are only best friends. He's also quick to accuse people of being homophobic. There were two instances in this novella, that seem to come out of nowhere and just made no sense for his homophobic accusations. Honestly, both times took me by surprise because they were just so random.
Cas and Marc have to work through some misunderstandings that involve Maisie (of course) before they're going to find HEA. In discussing finding love, I really loved something Cas said to Marc:
"Maybe we need ten more dates. Or a hundred more kisses. Or a million more words."
How sweet is that!
Rating: 4 stars
Real. Genuine. Love.
Posy Roberts writes about the realistic struggles of men looking for love. Whether her characters are family men, drag queens, or lonely men searching for connections, they all find a home in her stories.
Posy is a Jill of all trades and master of the drill and paintbrush. She’s married to a partner who makes sure she doesn’t forget to eat or sleep during her writing frenzies. Her daughter, a budding author and cinematographer, helps her come up with character names. For fun, Posy enjoys crafting, hiking, and singing spontaneously about the mundane, just to make regular life more interesting.