Title: Bachelors Party (Brandt and Donnelly Caper #5)
Author Name & Publisher: Xavier Mayne (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: June 1, 2015 – 280 pgs
Med student Oliver Mitchell has discovered a way to make more tips as a bartender—put on ripped workout gear and serve drinks at the hip new gay club, Burn. The only catch is Oliver is straight. The staff and patrons don’t mind, though, and Oliver fits in well—until he meets James Buchanan Whitford, a local politician with a secret: he’s married. When James’s scheming wife attempts to catch him in flagrante with Oliver, they flee the city for the refuge of James’s cabin in the woods. There, Oliver faces a new challenge—he’s starting to feel more for James than friendship. Their new relationship must survive political intrigue and small-town politics before they can be together.
With their wedding two months away, it’s time for Troopers Ethan Brandt and Gabriel Donnelly to have a bachelor party. Ethan’s older brothers are excited, but Ethan is not. As a straight guy who fell in love with another man, the whole ritual is fraught with complications, and he struggles to reconcile newly granted marriage equality with old traditions. Brandt and Donnelly work to help James and Oliver find their way to happiness while pulling off the bachelor party of the year.
Brandt and Donnelly are back and preparing for their bachelor party. But trying to bring together a complicated group of men that must include Bryce, Nestor and Brandt’s straight brothers isn’t an easy task.
The humour is more subdued in this fifth book. Several very serious conversations might be more suited to a Gender and Sexuality 101 class than a high-camp romp with Brandt and Donnelly. Double entendres, jock strap jokes and a large man in tiny hotpants bring the fun back to the story, but this time the characters are quite serious grown ups.
Oliver is an engaging character. I loved the brain/brawn combination he brings to the story. But the really-hot-and-not-so-straight-guy-has-an-epiphany is the same story played over and over in this series. It is becoming formulaic. By book five, I was hoping for something fresh.
James is fresh. But a closeted politician we are supposed to have sympathy for? Hmm. Maybe twenty years ago. I kept struggling to understand why, at thirty, he was considered so old. He sounded like someone’s grandpa with his comments about how hard it was to be a gay politician when he first started out. What, six years ago? Really?
So, this wasn’t my favourite of the Brandt and Donnelly stories by far. But this is still a Xavier Mayne story. And Xavier Mayne’s writing is fabulous. Always. Brandt and Donnelly are two of my all time favourite characters and I feel more for supporting characters like Bryce or Xander than I do for most authors’ leading men.
New readers need to start this series at the beginning. Fans really shouldn’t skip this one. Our boys may be growing up, but the magic is still there.
Xavier Mayne is the pen name of a professor of English who works at a university in the Midwest United States. Versed in academic theories of sexual identity, he is passionate about writing stories in which men experience a love that pushes them beyond the boundaries they thought defined their sexuality. He believes that romance can be hot, funny, and sweet in equal measure.
The name Xavier Mayne is a tribute to the pioneering gay author Edward Prime-Stevenson, who also used it as a pen name. He wrote the first openly gay novel by an American, 1906’s Imre: A Memorandum, which depicts two masculine men falling in love despite social pressures that attempt to keep them apart.