Title: The Life of the Garden Party
Author: Pepper Espinoza
Length: 5,000 words (17 pdf pages)
Publisher: Amber Allure
Genre: m/m nostalgic contemporary (1960s)
East-Coast attorney Chalmers Rockefeller loves his sister, but her garden parties are always a real snooze. Until an exotic “bird” flaps into the garden of boredom and privilege. Julian Bale works in Hollywood. It’s not clear what he does, but he still has the craziest stories about the stars he’s worked with, including James Dean.
Intrigued and eager to know more about the stranger, Chalmers invites Julian on a tour of the grounds, leading him to a private beach. There, Chalmers discovers the attraction between them is mutual-and he also discovers the extent of Julian’s talents…
This was a bit of a hard story for me to rate, the writing is strong and draws you in as always with this author, but the romance portion I had my doubts about. Also, it says it’s set in the 1960′s and I wasn’t certain when reading it. It was only a reference to actor James Dean that made me think it was not just a contemporary with a closeted lead character. Chalmers attends one of his sister’s party where she is quite dismayed by having a guest from California who seems too loud and brash for her upper-crust taste. She more or less assigns Chalmers to watch him, and before long he’s finding the man imminently fascinating.
Later they are able to slip away from the party and go to the beach to “talk”. Julian claims his job is to “take care” of celebrities, but it becomes rather clear that he’s more or less a prostitute who ran away from home at twelve and has been in Hollywood ever since. However Chalmers is intrigued and before long they are down the beach in a secluded cove and he’s enjoying Julian’s talents. So much so, he’s even inspired to try giving a blow job for only the second time in his life. Julian tells him that if Chalmers wanted to come to California, he’s be happy to get him into see the right people and he’s sure he could make it in Hollywood, “look me up” and then they go back to the party, with Chalmers wondering that despite his friends, family, job and home being in New York, if maybe…
That’s where things kind of fell apart for me. Sure, he’s fascinated by Julian at this party when he’s rather giggly on champagne, but I’m thinking in the cold light of day, there is no way he’s going to give up his life to go to California on a whim and the words of a prostitute who claims he has connections. I have visions of him arriving on Julian’s doorstep only to have that awkward moment when you realize the other guy didn’t REALLY think you’d actually take him up on his offer. So I just couldn’t see them as a potential couple, but maybe I’m just a pessimist.
Still, despite my doubts as to the romantic potential of this pairing, it’s a well written little erotic story with some fun outdoor action and an air of a different era.