Book Reviews

Bad to the Bone (Dreamspun Desires) by Nicki Bennett at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Contemporary / Interracial / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 16-May-2018

Book Blurb

A second chance at first love—if he has the courage to take it.


Alex can’t think of himself as anything but a failure. In high school, he was on the fast track to a career in pro football when he forged an unlikely friendship with a half-Comanche boy from the wrong part of town, Ricky Lee Jennings. Their shared love of books could have grown into more—but a homophobic teammate attacked Ricky Lee, and Alex wouldn’t risk his scholarship to defend him. Ricky Lee was kicked out of school, and Alex never heard from him again.


Now Alex’s glory days are nothing but a memory. An injury ended his football aspirations, his marriage fell apart, and his dreams of making a difference as an environmental lobbyist are as dead as his fantasies of sports stardom.


But all that could change in one magical night, when Ricky Lee shows up at their high-school reunion.


Book Review

A second chance at love brought on by a high school reunion, starring two men with a history that ended before either one was ready to let go, and a small-town setting are the key ingredients of this entertaining novel. Alex and Ricky Lee used to be best friends but were separated by circumstances beyond their control. With Alex too ashamed of his lack of actions during the event that cause Ricky Lee’s expulsion from high school and Ricky Lee focused on building a better life, they haven’t had any contact for ten years.

Alex had high hopes for a football career when he graduated, but an injury made that impossible. He has tried to be straight, even got married at one point, but when his parents needed him to run the hardware store back home, he got a divorce. As a result, he sees himself as a failure. Low self-esteem and an unwillingness to let “everyone” know what he really wants have kept him in hiding for ten years. I thought that Ricky Lee riding into town (on a huge black motorcycle, no less) for the reunion might motivate Alex to make some changes, but it takes more than that.

Ricky Lee is half Comanche, was born on the wrong side of town, had a drunk for a father, and has never backed down from a confrontation in his life. In many ways he is the epitome of a bad boy, but he has a big heart under the gruff exterior. Alex was his best friend, but Ricky Lee understood they were better off separate than apart while they finished growing up and got an education. Now that has changed, and Ricky Lee is ready to go after what he has always wanted: Alex as more than a friend.

If you like second-chance romances set in a gossipy community where everyone has an opinion, if you want to watch two men who used to be best friends figure out if they can be more, and if you’re looking for a read that is full of small-town politics, features a touch of drama, and contains a lot of sweet feelings, then you might like this novel.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 210 pages/51881 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 15-May-2018
Price $4.99 ebook, $9.99 paperback, $9.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
Buy Link