Dr Jay Sorrentino is getting married in ten days’ time to the girl of his dreams, so what the hell is he doing in a gay London club with a stupidly handsome stranger? As if calling off the wedding and alienating his friends and family isn’t enough, Jay also has to contend with starting a new job at a new hospital. So the last thing he needs is for the bloke from the club to be his prickly supervisor.
Dr Lucien Avery is a difficult colleague. He’s also the unexpected and reluctant heir to the vast Rossingley estate. Reclusive and miserable, he hates most of his colleagues, people who eat packed lunches, and supervising junior doctors. That is, until the delectable Dr Sorrentino turns up on his doorstep.
A light-hearted M/M contemporary romance, Rossingley takes place in Southern England and is centred around a fictional country house and estate by the same name. The first in the series, it can be read as a standalone.
Title: To Hold a Hidden Pearl
Series: Rossingley, Book One
Author: Fearne Hill
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 05/24/2021
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, doctors, in the closet, coming out, cross dressing, sexual tension, grieving
I don’t do nightclubs anymore. It’s not an age thing. Sure, I’m thirty-four, but there are plenty of men and women older than me in here seemingly having a blast. It’s…it’s just that I hoped I’d never need to, I suppose. I think I had this ridiculous notion I’d be happily settled with a great job, an even better loving partner, and a comfortable home. I have the job, and I certainly have the home, not that I particularly wanted it. But the loving partner? Not so much. To be fair, though, I’m quite difficult to love.
So here I am, propping up the wall in Spangles, a club I haven’t visited in years, watching my pissed former work colleagues, Sam and Louis, make complete arses of themselves on the dance floor.
There’s a whole gang of us here. I don’t know any of the others, and I don’t really want to become better acquainted with them either, but Sam has been begging me to come up to London for months and months. He’s been a decent friend since the accident, as much as I’ve let him, and joining him for his boyfriend Louis’s thirtieth birthday is the least I can do to show my appreciation. So I’d downed a few colourful cocktails, which seem to have had no effect on my mood whatsoever, put on my glad rags, done my eyes, and now pretend to be the sexy guy I used to be before my former existence was comprehensively annihilated. And tomorrow, when it’s thankfully all over, I’ll whizz back down the M4 to Allenmouth, and having seen how absolutely spiffily I’m coping, they’ll hopefully leave me alone for a while. I deserve an Oscar for tonight’s performance, but I’m starting to flag. Another ten minutes of hugging the wall and my Campari and soda, and I’ll be on my way.
An enormously tall, Italian Stallion kind of guy gives me a blatant once-over, and my eyes skirt past him. Thanks, but no thanks. Curly black hair, eyes like pools of melted chocolate, bulging shoulder muscles, and a broad chest threatening to break out of his tight white T-shirt. As if at any minute, the T-shirt might rip open and his skin turn an ugly shade of green. As he is, with T-shirt intact, he’s what Americans refer to as a jock. Or an especially buff Danny Zuko. But I’m no simpering Pink Lady. He’s absolutely not my bag at all.
My gaze settles on a little cutie chatting to his friends near the bar. Much more like it, exactly my type of guy. Perfect tight arse in the skinniest of black jeans, and he’s demonstrating the grace of a ballet dancer as he reaches upwards onto his toes to speak into a friend’s ear. Slight of build, and floppy, dirty-blond hair with pink frosted tips. Sensing my interest, he shyly smiles at me, and I look away. We all know the rules to this game, and a few seconds later, I glance back at him. He returns the look at precisely the moment that a protective, possessive arm comes to rest across his narrow shoulders, and the ruggedly handsome owner of that arm plants an adoring kiss on his cheek. With a regretful shrug, the cute guy turns to his companion and is pulled into a loving hug. A keeper for sure, only not my keeper unfortunately. Oh well, c’est la vie.
Gloria Gaynor is belting out ‘I am what I am’ at the top of her lungs. Most definitely my cue to leave. I finish my drink and head to where I last saw Sam and Louis. With a bit of luck, they’ll be so engrossed in each other they’ll let me slip out unnoticed to find a taxi to take me home. As I begin to push through groups of sweaty clubbers, the Italian Stallion guy blocks my path. And I mean blocks—he’s broad and beefy. He’s giving me another once-over, this time anxious, through thick black lashes, and his liquid-brown eyes are strangely as skittish as a colt’s. I make to squeeze by. But his big hand reaches around, catching me unawares, settles firmly around my wrist, and I’m tugged towards a dark corner of the club. Granted, it’s an unconventional hook-up technique, but I’m pissed enough and curious enough to go with it—perhaps in the dim light, he’s mistaken me for my cousin Freddie; it wouldn’t be the first time. We both have rather striking features.
So it seems that now he’s got me here, he’s not quite sure what it is he wants. He hovers in front of me, one hand resting lightly at my hip, and I can’t tell if he’s very nervous or very drunk. I’m happy to wait; I’ve nothing better to do. Anyway, I’m mildly intrigued as I have a feeling that, like me, he doesn’t really belong. He licks his lips once—yes, definitely nervous—and it draws attention to his fine mouth, a full Cupid’s bow, now glistening wetly. The sort of generous wide mouth made for laughing. Or cock sucking. I’m focusing on those lips now because the background thump of Ms Gaynor makes audible speech nigh on impossible.
“Can I suck your cock?” he asks.
Gosh, we must be acquainted after all, as this is one of my all-time favourite questions.
Okay, so I’ve not had any sexual activity in any of its manifestations for approaching two years, and I can’t recall the last time I even bothered employing my own right hand. Months and months ago. So if there is a single man in the history of the universe in my current sexual desert who would answer his question in the negative, then I’d like to meet him and shake his hand.
I contemplate replying with a sarcastic “Yes, if you can find it, darling” because, frankly, it’s most likely shrivelled up and died somewhere. But instead, I nod coolly and find myself mouthing, Be my guest, accompanied by a faintly ridiculous sweeping gesture of my arm as if inviting him in for afternoon tea. And that mouth is quite enticing, even if it is attached to a man built like Tarzan. Beautiful skin, too, a rich natural olive.
I don’t know the extent of his lip-reading skills, but I think he gets the message. Still looks nervous as hell though. I’d go so far as to say bloody terrified. I’ve no idea why, as he’s the one leading on this, and it’s not like my cock is going to bite back. If he’s afraid we’ll be spotted and turfed out, then he need not be. This corner of Spangles might as well have a sign above it advertising Sloppy Blow Jobs Here, judging by the stickiness of the carpet and the blatant activities of the couples nearby. However, whatever internal battle he’s fighting, his desire to suck me bizarrely wins out, and he sinks to his knees rather gracefully for such a big bloke.
All fingers and thumbs, he unfastens my belt, then wrestles with the buttons on my skinny Levi’s. If we weren’t in the situation we are, and if he hadn’t made his rather forwards suggestion, I’d assume he’d never done this before because he’s certainly making a hash of undoing my trousers. But eventually, they’re open, and I give him a helping hand by lowering them slightly around my hips. I’m treated to a rather lovely whiff of good old-fashioned Fahrenheit aftershave; it’s been years since I inhaled its woody, leathery aroma. With one last anxious glance up through his thick lashes, he slides his fingers inside the slit in my boxers and unceremoniously pulls out my cock. I think it’s that endearing last look up that gets my juices flowing, a vulnerable mixture of fear and need, and thankfully, my cock is half hard and getting harder. Which is infinitely preferable to watching him endeavouring to shape his lips around something akin to a clammy slug, even if he is a total stranger.
And the blow job isn’t half bad, even for someone who I’m utterly convinced hasn’t ever done it before. There’s a bit too much toothiness at the start, and some overenthusiastic sucking that has me wincing and nearly pushing him away, but then he settles and finds a rhythm and mmm…really not bad at all. What he’s lacking in expertise, he’s more than making up for in enthusiasm.
Should I have warned him against the perils of offering blow jobs to random strangers in dodgy Soho nightclubs? Probably. I am a doctor after all; surely it falls within the bounds of my Hippocratic oath. But I don’t. Because looking down, I find myself suddenly mesmerised by the sight of that big dark head bobbing up and down on my cock, not to mention the rather lovely sensations as his raspy tongue lathes along the length. As my orgasm builds, I bury my hands in the mop of dark curls, arch my hips up, and forcefully fuck his mouth, my cock reaching right into the back of his throat, and he takes it all, bless him, he gamely takes it all.
And so for the first time in eighteen months, I’m transported out of myself to a place where Dr Lucien Avery, the reluctant sixteenth Earl of Rossingley, is reminded of what joy can feel like. To a place where he remembers what pleasure feels like, where he can smile, and his heart can briefly sing again. Because, finally, something good and pure and simple is happening, and he can believe just maybe there is a path leading out of this wretched sadness after all. And the boy who is making this all happen is some big lump of a creature, lacking in finesse, but with such soulful brown eyes and swollen red lips. A boy who even now is gazing up at me through his long lashes with such devotion to his task that my balls clench and my hips jerk, and without giving him the customary polite warning, I spurt again and again into his mouth until my legs wobble dangerously and I sink back against the damp wall.
I eventually open my eyes to find him standing in front of me once more. Well-mannered boy that he is, he’s poking my cock back inside my boxers and putting my jeans back together, acts which seem somehow more intimate and sweeter than sucking my cock. After wiping a trail of my spunk off his cheek with a sweep of his hand, he gently smiles, and it’s the smile of a fairy-tale prince. Such a charming smile that it could launch ships and incite men to fight wars; it sparks sensations in me I’d forgotten existed but want to experience again. I decide, in a moment, when I’ve collected myself—when I’ve come down from my unexpected high—I’ll suggest we go back to my place so I can return the favour. I close my eyes briefly, wanting to hold on to this blissful forgotten feeling for as long as possible.
And of course, as in all good fairy stories, when I open them again, he’s gone.
This is my second book by this author, and I’ve really enjoyed the writing. I think the descriptions of the scenery are quite well done, giving a personality of sorts to each of the locations that are used in the books.
This book had such a wide ranging dynamic for Lucien, as an anethesiologist (which it is very obvious the author has quite a bit of experience in from the medical descriptions-which I love!) who works hard, and is grumpy, due to the other dynamic of his immediate family, who he had adored being killed in a horrific accident 18 months earlier. He was androgynous without apology, and difficult to work with, also without apology. What an in-depth character that we learn about.
Jay was a little more difficult to figure out, mostly because he was still trying to figure himself out. I appreciated, though, that it wasn’t just a light switch with him. He didn’t just turn off his feelings for his ex-fiancee, and his family, and just out himself. He struggled with it. He didn’t want to hurt or disappoint anyone, yet was drawn to Luce from the minute they met. His struggle was more realistic than some you read where it just “happens”, and they come out and all is happy.
Lucien never required Jay to come out. He let him find his way to whatever was going to be best for him, with his job, with his family, with the home he shared with his ex-fiancee. Lucien was the epitome of “if you love someone set them free…”.
One of the things that didn’t work for me, of all things, was the cover model. The rest of the cover made sense with the book, but the cover model didn’t make sense, simply because he was wearing dog tags, which neither MC was from a military background. Meanwhile, Lucien wore his pearls as a clutch, as a way of feeling safe. It might have made more sense to have that. It’s obviously a small issue, and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book, but worth noting.
I also really enjoyed the peek into book 2, which is about Freddie, and his love, which hopefully we have already met. 🙂 Looking forward to it!
4 pieces of eye candy
Fearne Hill lives deep in the southern British countryside with three untamed sons, varying numbers of hens, a few tortoises, and a beautiful cocker spaniel.
When she is not overseeing her small menagerie, she enjoys writing contemporary romantic fiction. And when she is not doing either of those things, she works as an anaesthesiologist.
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