Title: Spring Break at the Villa Hermes
Author Name: Xavier Mayne
Publication Date & Length: April 6, 2015 – 246pgs
Troopers Ethan Brandt and Gabriel Donnelly celebrate the one-year anniversary of their engagement by flying south for a week of calm relaxation at the Villa Hermes, a gay boutique hotel on the beach. But when the rest of the guests turn out to be college guys on spring break (unwittingly booked into a gay hotel by a passive-aggressive travel agent), their week turns out to be anything but calm.
Ted, one of the spring breakers, has harbored a crush on his roommate and best friend, Bark, since they met freshman year. Now, on their fourth and final spring break, Ted knows they must soon say good-bye. A lacrosse star and ladies’ man, Bark has no idea Ted has fallen for him—until a storm forces the entire group underground for twenty-four hours of stress and truth-telling. Bark doesn’t want to say good-bye to Ted at graduation either. He just didn’t know how to put his feelings into words or if he could face the consequences of speaking them. Brandt and Donnelly help the college guys through their crisis by showing them what love between best friends can grow into.
This has to be my favourite book in the series. It is lighter, funnier and possibly even more tender than the first three. Brandt and Donnelly aren’t fighting bad guys or bad politics, they’re sunbathing.
The troopers meet a new cast of characters in paradise. Bryce and Nestor have been replaced by Winnie and Vic. Winnie is a beautifully complex character – the former drag queen has his own story, a backbone of steel and a bit of wisdom ready for his guests.
Instead of a single couple for Brandt and Donnelly to help, there are six vaguely straight college boys ready for the troopers’ magic touch.
I loved it. Mayne writes characters like no one else in the genre. He can write humour and pathos in the same sentence, and this time the action centers around a clothing optional pool in Greece. Wonderful.
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.