Review: This Charming Man by Ajax Bell


It’s 1991 and Steven Frazier has danced away half a decade in the Seattle club scene with his beautiful-but-poisonous best friend, Adrian.

Two glittering princes against the world, too high above life to care about what they might be missing. But everything changes when a chance meeting with older—not to mention handsome—businessman John Pieters, reveals a cosmopolitan world and possible futures Steven’s never considered.

Flashy club clothes won’t impress John, this charming man who knows so much about many things. Motivated by fantasies inspired by his crush on John, can Steven finally fight Adrian’s sick hold?

As he steps out into the larger world, supported by new friends, Steven must prove to John—and to himself—that he’s not a hedonistic rhinestone club kid, but a true diamond in the rough.

Delightful & charming!

It's more than a romance. This Charming Man is mostly about Steven and his journey to better himself.  He finally realizes that the person who is most important to him is also the most hurtful. He tries to break his bad habits and break away from the toxic person that used to mean the most to him.

The book is split into three parts, all different stages of the road Steven is taking to become a person he can be proud of. In the first part, we meet him and his best friend, Adrian. I had a front row seat to their friendship-nonrelationship-fuckbuddy-trainwreck they had going on. They were a hot mess. I hated Adrian, so much. But I also wanted to just hug him, shake him and make him snap the hell out of it! I know there's got to be more to him than the manipulative, selfish, asshat that I met. *prays, hopes and wishes for Adrian's book*

Amongst all the crap, Steven meets John. In the first part of the book, they have a couple chance encounters. A couple that end hopeful, with one that changes everything for Steven. Steven knows that John won't go for the partying boy that he's let himself become. He has to prove to John (and to himself) that he deserves the kind of love he knows he'd have with John.

During the first two parts, I was sure this would be solid 5 hearts (at least 4.5). I was riveted. I was completely taken by Steven and the lovely people in his life (heck, I was even intrigued by Adrian). Steven was turning himself around, he was already halfway there, but with a few tough choices he was doing it. As Steven would say, he was getting all his ducks in a row.

Not too much happened, it was just Steven's day to day life. Changing, being someone better, doing something different. It might feel slow, but it was deliberate and purposeful. I was completely taken by his journey.

Throughout this journey he and John kept running into each other. They would meet, flirt and hope to see one another again. Each time that they met, the tension grew higher and higher. Seriously. I like me some slow burn but... I won't even tell you where the first kiss happened. It was far. Trust me. But when it finally went down? Daaaaaaaaammmmnn. It was almost worth the wait. So yeah, part 3 dragged a little for me. I was still feeling Steven and John, but I wanted more from them as a couple.

Not your typical romance, but an utterly delightful story, filled with endearing characters. I really can't wait to read what else the author has planned in this series.


A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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  1. Not sure about this one. I don't mind a slow burn, but a slow, slow, quick, quick, slow (without the two quick quicks) so we're left with a snail's slow.....hmmmm

    1. Well, there are still sex scenes, just not between the MC for awhile, if that's what you're worried about.

  2. I had the exact same reaction to this story as you Breann. God I hope there's not only an Adrian book, but an entire one just for Stephen and John - I didn't get anywhere near enough of them!

    1. Someone asked a question about a sequel on GR. This was her response:
      "Yay! Thank you, I'm glad you loved it! Yes, there will be sequel, though perhaps not what anyone is expecting. Right now I've got six books and a collection of short stories outlined. Many of Steven's friends you met in TCM will get their own story. Some will be back stories in the early 1980s, some will be future stories about what happens in the later 1990s and 2000s. There will be another John/Steven story as well, although not until we've heard from a few of their friends. Second book will be out (hopefully) in autumn 2015 and the third in early 2016."