Review: Gathering Storm (Firsts and Forever #4) by Alexa Land

Working as a gay porn star has brought twenty-two year old Hunter Storm fame and fortune, but it’s cost him a lot, too. His body has become little more than a commodity, and he's learned to mask his loneliness by giving himself to whoever will have him. The job has also put him in the crosshairs of a stalker, a man so deeply disturbed that Hunter and everyone around him is in danger.

As the stalker closes in, Hunter is struggling to gather his courage and hold himself together. Fortunately he has allies, including his best friend Christopher Robin, Christopher’s fiancé Kieran, and Nana, a feisty octogenarian who’s decided Hunter is part of her family. And one very unexpected ally just might change Hunter’s life forever.

The fourth book in Alexa Land’s best-selling Firsts and Forever series picks up where In Pieces left off, yet each book in the series is written to stand alone, so jump in anywhere.

WARNING - Kinda spoilery spoilers that aren't really spoilery about who Hunter's partner ends up being - but you've been warned, sort of :D

We all have that special literary place we like to go when we know we need a book hug, the book “happy place” that just works for us. Some people go to their Calmes, some their Lane, I have my Land. The series continues with all my favorite things, smark (smut+snark – *tips hat to JL* for that word that is now a permanent part of my vocabulary), amusing as hell banter, references to all things geeky and characters I really want to hang out with in real life.

I know that when I read an Alexa Land book, I am going to smile, laugh and fall in love with the characters, that’s just what happens. The 4th book in the First and Forever series is no exception. Every time I read one of these books I think,

“Oh, he’s my favorite.”

Then I read another one and I think,

“OK, he’s my favorite.”

Etc., etc., etc.

So, now that I read Gathering Storm, Hunter is my new favorite. I love his refreshing open honesty and his heartbreaking loneliness. He’s a porn star with a heart of gold and he has no illusions that he’s nothing but a commodity in his industry and that his working days are numbered .

Hunter is VERY popular in his genre so he attracts a lot of attention, but unfortunately he has attracted the attention of a stalker who is continuously upping his threats and Hunter can no longer ignore the frightening letters, etc. All of the players in Hunter’s support system are here again and I missed them all so very much; Christopher Robin, Kieran, Nana (especially Nana) and all the boys from the previous installments. Everyone is in agreement that Hunter needs to get himself a bodyguard, this stalker isn’t going away any time soon and his threats are escalating. Hunter doesn’t want a bodyguard though. He doesn’t want to deal with somebody he’s not comfortable with and who may judge him for his lifestyle and career choice.

We know Hunter is going to have a love interest, that’s part of the deal here. What I really loved about this one is I didn’t know who it was going to be for a while. So much fun in the teasing and the guessing!

Here's the not so spoilery spoiler - Hunter's love interest is either:

Unlikely lucky man #1, Brian, Kieran’s REALLY bitter brother we met in In Pieces (“What???”, you say, “Surely you jest!?!?!”)
Unlikely lucky dog #2, Vincent, the Dombruso offspring who is dark, mysterious and very dangerous (“What???, ok well, maybe, hmmmmm”).

I want to tell everybody everything and then gush about the perfect match that these two become, I really, really do. BUT, I loved not knowing, the uncertainty and surprise is too good for me to wreck and you are just going to have to trust me when I say, Hunter and ??? needed and completed each other in the best possible ways.

One of my absolute favorite things about this series is the banter and these two, Hunter and, well, let’s just call him X, have the absolute best conversations. Alexa’s characters have the uncertainty that comes with new love, but they are always honest and don’t drag out the angst for no reason, I love that. I get to see more than just the flirting and the getting-to-know-you phase of their relationships and it makes me more invested in the characters and I can believe in their connection and the real love they have for each other beyond the lust that I love so well.

There was more than just the relationship between Hunter and X going on too. The mystery of Christopher Robin’s attacker continues and Hunter has to deal with his stalker and how that affects his new relationship. Plus Hunter’s contract with his studio is up for renewal and he has some serious decisions to make about his future. Not an easy feat while entering into a new relationship that has a lot of issues that need to be dealt with and he doesn’t feel as if he has any real marketable skills to survive on if he quits the porn. That part of the story line broke my heart. As Hunter detailed his dealings with his smarmy manager I could feel his hopelessness and why he felt like nothing more than a commodity to the studio, and other men in general. Hunter is a tough cookie though. He never gives into a pity party and his innate optimistic nature was a pleasure to read, even throughout the painful parts.

Just a few words about X that are going to be incredibly obtuse because I don’t want to give him away. He is the unexpectedly best person on the planet for Hunter. He needed Hunter just as much as Hunter needed him and his surprising sense of humor was the perfect counterpoint to Hunter’s honesty. He’s got issues, big time issues, but he’s a work in progress and on the right path. Both he and Hunter are and I so hope there is more about them in the next installment of this series. I’m not ready to let them go yet, not even a little bit.


  1. Great review Ann! Love how you got around the identity of X without being spoilery. These books are one of my favorite series too. :)

    1. Thanks Debra! That was hard, I wanted to gush about his awesomeness SO much. I'm glad you love this series too!

  2. Yay for Hunter! Yay for X! Yay for smark! Yay for your review!

    1. YAY for Unicorns with a SNOW DAY!!! Thanks JL!

  3. I just love when I come across a review for a book by a new to me author. This sounds so good and yipee there are 3 before and 1 more at least coming next. Thanks so much. I've already purchased the first two. Can't wait to read them

  4. Awesome Lisa G! I hope you love them as much as I do, the series just gets better I think. Definitely fun and addictive - enjoy!