Title: James and Merrick
Series: Take a Shot, Book One
Author: Jessica Skye Davies
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Age-gap, arts (visual), friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort, stripper, engagement, artist, maestro, tailor, London setting, Welsh ancestry
Merrick Rhys is a young Welsh transplant living in South London and working as a tailor and salesman in an upscale menswear shop. Previously supplementing his income by performing as a male stripper at parties, he quit after growing tired of the pressures and complications. He agrees to do his routine one more time for friends who are hosting a stag party and finds an intense mutual attraction with one of the guests. Unbeknownst to Merrick, that guest happens to be the groom.
James Carré is a successful, middle-aged London-based artist who is about to marry Michael, a man none of his friends think is good for him. James’s fiancé is controlling and demanding and James often finds it difficult to live up to his standards of perfection, but James feels that at his age he’s not likely to find anyone else willing to make a life with him. Certainly not someone as successful and good-looking as Michael.
When James and Merrick chance to meet the day after the stag-do, they hit it off immediately and find they have a great rapport. James questions the purity of his motives in hanging out with Merrick but also finally begins to question seriously if manipulative Michael is right for him. Merrick finds himself falling more and more for James over the course of a week, but also wants to take it slowly due to a past bad relationship. Everything comes to a head the weekend before the wedding when James finally decides he can’t in good conscience stay with Michael any longer, at just the same time Merrick reads the announcement of James and Michael’s wedding in the paper.