Friday, September 22, 2017

Book Review: 'Winner Takes All' by Jerry Cole

From his website we learn a bit more about this solid author Jerry Cole, a gay author who lives in California and has been writing fiction since he was a child. As a young adult, he worked as a freelance writer in the evenings and on weekends. In the summer of 2015 he published his first gay romance short story on Amazon. Overwhelmed by the positive response he decided to quit his “day job” and took up writing gay romance full time. When he’s not writing steamy M/M romance he enjoys globetrotting, watching movies with family and friends, working out, & being dragged down the road by his two Great Danes.

Jerry includes contemporary life situations in his stories, one of the many reasons he has caught on with the young set. He understands the background of the lives of his characters so that by the time the romance hits, we have a solid idea of the personality, conflicts, and needs each character owns.

How often are characters defined so well in the first page of a book as this? – ‘For the first time since Dante had walked outside, Harley looked at him. He was wearing the Frame, Set & Match uniform, dark blue trousers and an off-white button-up shirt, and somehow, he still managed to make it look glamorous. The sleeves clung to his arms, the shirt showed off his broad back and his wide shoulders. The pants often clung to his calves. Dante’s uniform and the way that it fit him made Harley wonder exactly how much he worked out. Not that he would ever ask Dante that because that would just be feeding the man’s ego, and his coworker did not need to have his ego fed. Dante was one of the cockiest, most arrogant people that Harley had ever met. The worst part was that he was also a fantastic salesperson. If he had been a braggart and he had no way to back it up then Harley would have been much quicker to dismiss him. The issue was that Dante didn’t come across to most people as an arrogant person but rather a self-assured one and that helped his sales immensely. Whereas Harley’s approach had a lot more to do with the needs of his customers, Dante’s approach seemed to be based on the fact that people could trust him. His smile seemed to say, “Of course you should listen to me. I know what I’m talking about.”

But on to the interesting story – ‘Harley Cruz doesn’t want any trouble. All that he wants is to be left alone while he works to get the promotion to regional sales manager. He makes good money as a salesclerk at Frame, Set & Match, but it’s not enough to be able to adopt his little sister. As if that wasn’t enough to worry about, Harley has to deal with Dante, a competitive rival and sales clerk that wants to take over the job that Harley has worked so hard for. Dante Meschlov never expected that he would have to work in a furniture store when his father owns one of the most successful companies in the city. After his father’s faith in him starts to wane, however, Dante believes that the easiest way to impress him is by climbing up the ranks of his sales job at Frame, Set & Match. It would all be going well if it wasn’t for Harley Cruz, who somehow seems to get a promotion despite Dante believing that he’s more deserving of it. Being a gorgeous hottie is irrelevant. As long as Harley is a soulless ambitious automaton, Dante doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. Especially because he thinks that Harley would go very far just to be able to secure that promotion. Harley and Dante do their best to avoid each other but that turns impossible when their manager gives them a joint corporate sales assignment. They have to learn to get over the animosity they feel for each other while trying to compete for a promotion. While trying to navigate the tricky world of sales, Dante starts to realize that there’s more to Harley than meets the eye and Harley soon notices that he doesn’t just dislike Dante, but he has a lot of other feelings for him, which complicates things. The two of them will have to learn to put aside years of bitterness before they can find something in each other that they never expected—true love.’

Jerry knows how to leave the reader satisfied on all levels. It is another winner. Grady Harp, June 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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