Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Spotlight: Dangerously Happy by Varian Krylov

 Dangerously Happy
by Varian Krylov
Genre: Gay Erotic Romance

Aidan has always played it safe. Instead of pursuing his dream of creating innovative music that makes his soul sing, he settled for a degree in software, a job in a cubicle, and a spot in a generic band with his buddies.

And he's always been straight. But when he's seduced by magnetic local literary luminary Dario, Aidan must decide whether to keep playing it safe, or succumb to a ravenous passion and a nourishing love unlike anything he's experienced before. Will he find the courage to go after real happiness if it means admitting he's in love with a man? 

Their journey together isn't easy. Sometimes it isn't safe. Even if Aidan has the courage to admit he's in love with Dario, can he endure the repercussions of the traumatic event in Dario's past?
This novel has mature content and is intended for readers over the age of eighteen. Although this is a story about two men falling in love, there are extended, explicit sex scenes, including some BDSM, m/m/m and m/m/f scenes. There are references to sexual violence which may be a trigger for some readers, although there is no graphic depiction of rape in the book.

Carly's One Question
I just love how you incorporated so much emotion into this story! I'm a music lover and couldn't help but notice that some of the deepest emotional exchanges revolved around Adian's musical performances. The way he used his singing to express his soul was breathtaking. When you were writing Dangerously Happy was there a specific song or artist that inspired you?

Varian: I first heard this song while writing Dangerously Happy, and it immediately went into the DH playlist (I always put together a unique playlist when I'm writing a novel, something that helps me connect emotionally to the characters and their story). The moody feel of "Against the Grain," and the lyrics fit the story so well, it always put me into the right head space when thinking about the tender but fraught relationship between Aidan and Dario. But Gavin Clark's voice is also so perfect for the image I have of Aidan's solo music: edgy, delicate, transporting.

Excerpt: First Contact
*In this scene , Aidan has just finished reading a M/M short story written by Dario, and they are discussing Aidan's reaction.*

    "You know," [Dario] said, his voice lower and softer now, "my book got a rave review from the New York Times. But I like [your] review better."
    I was nervous. I babbled, "You should actually be really proud, because thinking about two guys has never had an effect like this on me before. Not even close."
    "No." I forced myself to finally look at him, and I tried to give him a smile, you know, just to make the whole thing less weird, with me avoiding his eyes. God, the way his big, dark eyes were fixed on me, I could hardly breathe.
    "There's never been... some small experiment? A kiss, maybe?"
    The question shocked me. I mean, that literally, physical response where your blood pressure feels like it bottoms out. Except my cock felt like it was at about two hundred PSI. "no," I said, and it came out weak and warbly instead of like the stern warning I meant it to be. But then when he started to lean in, instead of pushing him away or getting up, I just waited. Waited for him to lean in the rest of the way. When he took the tablet out of my hand and set it on the coffee table, though, that weird moment of surrender ruptured. "I should go," I said.
    "I want you to stay."
    I blushed. I mean, I felt my face go hotter than I can remember it ever being before.
    "Do you want to stay, Aidan?"
    "I don't know." I've never been so confused in my life.
    "This is a first for me, too," he said in that soft low voice I'd never heard before that night.
   "What's a first?" I asked, feeling like every word was a little life preserver holding me above the thrashing waves of panic drowning me.
    "I've never hit on a straight guy before." I had to turn away from that ernest, searching gaze of his. After a few more seconds he said, "I'd like to touch you. But I don't want to scare you."
    I almost said something like, "that's ridiculous. Why would I be scared?" But I was scared. Terrified, even though rationally I knew that whatever was happening between us, whatever might happen, it was fine.  He was sitting there, looking at me, trying to read my expression or waiting for me to say no. Or yes.
My 5 of 5 Star Review
If asked, Aidan would tell you there's nothing unique or special about him. He has average looks, works an average job, is an average musician, and his love life.... well, lately that's been below average. He's known Dario for years, hovering on the outer edge of his social circle. Dario is everything Aidan wishes he could be. Bold, charismatic, uniquely talented and sensually attractive. About that last bit; the fact that Aidan finds Dario attractive comes as a bit of a surprise, and not without a small amount of confusion. Aidan is straight, always has been, always will be... right???

Dario keeps his personal feelings deeply hidden behind a wall of social and sexual exuberance. Like a butterfly, he flits from one lover to another without forming emotional attachments to any of them. Sure, he's noticed the quiet and unassuming Aidan, but the man's straight and Dario knows better than to waste his time chasing after anyone who's answer is a guaranteed "no" but... there's just something about Aidan that he can't forget.

As time goes by Dario's attraction for Aidan turns to fascination. The closer he watches the handsome musician the more layers are slowly peeled away, and the glimpses of soulfulness Dario sees beneath are enough to leave him breathless and wanting.

Aidan can no longer deny that the pull he feels towards Dario have turned deeply sexual. When the opportunity unexpectedly presents itself to explore those feelings, neither man is able to resist. What starts out as sexual exploration quickly morphs into passion. With deepening emotions comes darker issues. Trust must be developed or the tentative relationship will not survive.

I was expecting a sensual and erotic tale; and Varian delivered! She also gave me one of the most intense and riveting reading experiences of my life. The surprising emotional complexity of this story blew me out of the water. Past secrets and hidden pain are revealed, emotional barriers are broken, and the strength of love is pushed to it's limits! Dangerously Happy is a mixed basket of sexualality ranging from tender petting to dark exploration of the BDSM lifestyle. With sexual encounters including men, women and multiple partners of both genders; Dangerously Happy will push readers to their limits and leave them reeling!

With a storyline that slowly builds in intensity until it reaches crescendo, Dangerously Happy has a unique writing style that some readers may find excessively wordy, but that I thought fit the unusual nature of the story quite well. I did notice occasional editing errors, but nothing that detracted significantly from the overall reading experience. Fair warning: The content of this story is for adults only, and even then, some readers may find certain aspects disturbing. Read it with an open mind and no expectations.

A copy of Dangerously Happy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Buy Links
Author Profile
Since her girlhood in a sunny coastal town in California, Varian Krylov has nurtured a love of words and a curiosity about the deep, dark forces at work in human nature, especially sexuality, and how they often paradoxically twine with our tenderest impulses. Her stories tend to explore the sometimes fine line between what arouses, and what frightens, what we’re driven to, and what we’re ashamed of.

As witty and seductive as I am sarcastic and self-deprecating, I spend as much time as possible thinking and writing about sex. No, not dense, inscrutable post-feminist texts on media representations of gender and the body--that was grad school. I write stories--short stories, novels, and starting a few weeks ago, screenplays--most of which poke and prod and the dark little corners of human sexuality. In a sense, nothing's taboo, anymore. There's no act, no fetish that hasn't been made utterly banal in the proliferation of porn. What intrigues and excites me is the exploration of the conflicting impulses, the twisted psychology and turbulent emotions of people who find themselves unable to resist desires that lie beyond their own moral boundaries


  1. My what a hot exerpt congrats to Varian.

  2. My dream job would be a book editor.

    1. Haha! I HAVE that job and some days there is nothing I'd rather do that something, ANYTHING, else! You know what they say about the grass always being greener and all that. :) Seriously though, I love books, words and writing. There is nothing better than doing something that you love!

  3. Sorry if this is a cliché, but I would love to be a published writer and I would also love to research information/images and beta read for other authors

    1. Pick up a pen and go for your dreams Sula! In Dangerously Happy Aidan has to choose to chase his dreams. You can too! :D

  4. Thanks for the great review and spicy excerpts. The book sounds AMAZING!

  5. I'm already in my dream job, as I write full time. I don't really earn any money from it, but being able to write and not have to worry about a "normal day job" is enough for me.

  6. i love emotionally driven work, and have been eyeing this book off for awhile now, but apparently haven't bought it yet (news to me) - my dream job changed once i had my first child, and though it was a couple of years struggling to figure out what that would be, as soon as I caught wind of writing, of being an author I've run with it. so truly my dream job would be to write full time until I can't write no more, and so far that's what i do, I just hope it stays that way.