Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review: Out of the Gate by E.M. Lynley + Excerpt

Out of the GateOut of the Gate by E.M. Lynley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excerpt from Out of the Gate; Chapter 1

I see exactly what you're doing.”Wesley Tremayne put down his binoculars and turned around to see Vanessa Vandermere wagging a long pink-and-black fingernail at him. Best not to reply. He willed his heart—beating like a jackhammer—to slow as he pasted the perfect, innocent grin on his face. Years of acting—onstage and off—had taught him to dissemble.“Think you can spot the winners before they even get to the ring?” Vanessa continued, her tone teasing, cheerful, not accusatory. “Or were you checking out the shapely blonde leading the third horse?”He inhaled slowly when he really wanted to gulp in much-needed oxygen. He’d overreacted. No, he'd responded just in time to what could have been a disaster. As much as he was enjoying the day out at the racetrack with his friends, he was restless. He’d been the center of too much attention, and he was fraying at the edges.
“You caught me,” Wes replied, playing up his right dimple.“Oh, Jules, good thing you're here.” Vanessa grabbed onto Julia Compton’s arm. “You need to keep Wes on a shorter leash. He’s got a wandering eye.”
Julia gave Wes an appraising look, then turned back to Vanessa. “Vee, I’m not worried Wes will run off with another woman. I trust him completely.” She slid an arm around Wes’s waist and he gave her a suitably adoring look. “Only we’re not a couple. How many times—”“You can fool some people, but not me. You two are the worst-kept secret in Hollywood, honeybuns.” Vanessa gestured as she spoke, and Wes wondered how she didn't poke her own eye out with her outrageously long fingernails.
“Think what you like.” Julia let go of Wes and took the binoculars from him. She held them to her face and trained them on the track.I'm heading down to watch them saddle the horses so I can decide which one to bet on.” Vanessa gave them a dangerous wave of her talons and left them alone in the private grandstand box.
Julia gave the glasses back to Wes. “He’s gorgeous.” She winked.“Which one do you like?” Wes asked, again looking through the binoculars.“I thought we were talking about which one you like?”“Number four.” Wes glanced down at Julia’s head. She was a good six inches shorter, and it was the view he often had to settle for.“Oh, really? I thought you'd go for one. Or at least his trainer.” She gave a silvery laugh and put her arm around his waist again.
Wes kept the glasses focused on runner number one’s trainer as he reached up to adjust the horse’s bridle. His navy sport coat rode up, giving Wes—and anyone else looking—a nice view of his arse in well-fitting dark-blue jeans. Wes held in the smile the sight induced and resigned himself to admiring the good-looking man from a distance. His light-brown hair fell in wavy curves and the full-lipped smile made Wes want to lick his own lips. Something about the chiseled chin and the shape of the man’s nose twigged a hazy memory Wes couldn't quite bring to the surface.
“Let’s go down to the saddling ring so you can get a closer look, Wes.” Julia tugged his hand, then gave an encouraging squeeze.He didn't know what he'd do without Julia Compton. She'd gone from costar to friend to lifesaver in the space of a year. He followed her down the steps and into the sunshine as the runners for the third race at Santa Alamita were saddled up. Wes pulled the baseball cap out of his back pocket and settled it onto his head, a moment too late.
“Look, is that Wes Tremayne?”“Wes! Hi Wes!”“Go ask him for his autograph.”“He’s with Julia Compton. I told you they're dating!”
Wes smiled and waved, but didn't stop for autographs. By the time they reached the paddock, the hot horse trainer was gone. Probably just as well; someone might have noticed if Wes paid him too much attention. There was a limit to his acting abilities, but so far he'd fooled everyone. Some days he fooled himself, but during lonely nights he wished away the talent and fame he'd achieved.
If he hadn't upped sticks and made his way from the London stage to Broadway and then to Hollywood, he might be living a boring, settled life with a man he adored. He’d chosen a career he loved over a private life.
But Julia was tiring of her role as Wes’s love interest. When she quit the production, he'd have some tough decisions to make. For now, he replaced his mask and took Julia’s hand and kissed it.
The audience should love that performance.

My Review:

All that glitters is not gold... in fact, it's often just rubbish that's been polished in an attempt to fool the gullible and naive.

After experiencing immense success on the British and American theater scene Wesley decides to reach for his dream of becoming a movie star and make his break in Hollywood. After a few moderate successes he is cast in a television series that becomes a hit almost overnight. Suddenly recognizable wherever he goes; the cost of success becomes more apparent. Unable to risk his budding career by revealing his sexual orientation he instead chooses to mislead his fans by allowing them to draw their own conclusions about his relationship with his good friend and former co-star, Julia. Willing to allow the misconception for reasons of her own, Julia still encourages Wes to be true to himself, but without a good reason to make a stand Wes continues to go with the flow.

All that changes, however, when he meets he quiet and sexy Evan. It's obvious from their first encounter that there is darkness in Evan's past; in fact, the man barely seems to tolerate Wes's presence in his life. In spite of his reservations, Evan finds himself irresistibly drawn to the honesty and genuine caring that Wes shows him. He has never experienced such a strong attraction towards another man's heart; for the first time, he wants to give his heart away, but Wes isn't gay... or is he?

Life on the horse racing circuit can be a murky experience; with owners who demand that you push the horses just a little harder, performance enhancement tricks that vary from shady to downright illegal, and trainers who are willing to risk everything to achieve a win, Evan is a trainer who always puts his horses first. Able to communicate with his animals with ease, he barely tolerates most owners; that's why it's such a surprise when he suddenly finds himself thrust into the middle of a scandal. It threatens to take away his horses, his livelihood, and everything he's worked so hard to achieve since leaving the hollywood scene himself years earlier. The long term boyfriend who should be standing beside Evan is distant, controlling, and wants nothing to do with Evan's troubles. Surprisingly, it's Wes who comes to the rescue.

When demons from Evan's past begin to surface, Wes must decide if he's willing to risk everything he's worked for or continue to live the lie and risk losing his relationship with Evan, the one man who might be ever so much more than just a friend.

I LOVED this story! Lynley's gift of writing reached out and grabbed me from the very first page. Drawing me in to the world of horseracing, which I'll admit I knew next to nothing about prior to reading this book, and keeping me guessing as to what would happen next. The push and pull chemistry between Evan and Wes is delightful and engaging. Her supporting cast of characters made me laugh, cry, and occasionally want to reach out and just smack them upside the head! Containing drama, intense emotions, and an adventurous story line with mystery and suspense that slowly builds towards breathtaking, I couldn't swipe the pages fast enough!

My first reading experience with this author, I'm going to be coming back for more!

A copy of Out of the Gate was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

I'd like to thank E.M. Lynley for generously providing a copy of her book and the excerpt!
Want to read more?

Buy Links for Out of the Gate:
Dreamspinner Press:

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