Review: Talking Trouble by Barbara Elsborg

 Two men are separated by more than the dam between their houses. Can Mollie be the path that unites them?

Flint Klavan appears to have it all. The sought-after British actor is affluent, loved and vocal in his professional life but privately he’s a mess. A devastating breakup leaves him full of self-loathing. He hopes to find the way to turn things around when disaster strikes. He’s left speechless with fear he’ll never get the chance to recover what he’s lost.

Mollie James has the perfect job teaching children, and used to have the perfect boyfriend. Attentive, kind and thoughtful. Only now he’s not. She has to sacrifice everything if she’s any chance to survive, and run as fast and as far as she can.

Lysander Weldon is a wealthy, talented artist who’s hidden himself away following personal tragedies. He shares his house and his body but never his heart. When opportunity to forgive confronts him, he has to choose between giving up his fortress or bracing to watch happiness leave him behind.

Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of physical abuse and MM content. 

E'ery once in a while I dig some self-created drama and Talking Trouble filled my quota for a little while.

This book started off great! We're introduced to Flint, world renowned movie star, hitting all the parties after wrapping his latest film. He is imbibing like Charlie Sheen and he's also getting blown by some chick who's name he doesn't know, but promises to help her get famous. During said blow job then exits rapidly after the big finish. He can't be held accountable for things said in the heat of the moment, right? He quickly heads to some random domme's basement where he asks for a beating, decides about two minutes into said beating that this was a bad call, but he's forgotten his safeword. Dumbass.

Self destructive character?

By Chapter 4 I was engrossed. Mr. Self Destruct has lost the ability to speak or understand others. Global aphasia secondary to a stroke at 33! EEP! He gets whisked away to Yorkshire by his publicist to begin recuperating and meets Mollie on the jogging trail shortly after she's moved into Lysander's house with his other roommates, Aden, Jean-Paul and Nikki. Flint's work with both his speech therapist and Mollie begins to give him back his voice, but he has trouble throughout the book, which I found endearing. Of the three MCs I liked Flint the best.

Mollie's fled London and her abusive dickweed of a boyfriend. TRIGGER WARNING! DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ON THE PAGE. Mollie is a bit of a Mary Sue and has a martyr complex, but she does have her moments and I didn't want to drop her in a vat of hydrochloric acid, so that's a win. She's also very accepting of both Lysander and Flint's sexuality. She gets points for that.

Lysander is an artist who's isolating himself in the countryside. I think part of it is punitive for a wrong he feels he's committed (which he did! He totally did!), and part of me wanted to feel sorry for him, but he's a douche. I get why he's a douche and that part of it is a defense mechanism, but still. 

All of these characters are imperfect which I actually think is a feather in the cap for Elsborg. The fact that I wanted to center punch all of them at one point or another added to my enjoyment and, really, who wants to read about perfect plastic people? Not I.

The way the character's storylines and backstories are interwoven played out nicely, held my attention and pushed the pace. Then there was the sex.

They had to work through some insecurities, but I liked the way communicated, among other things.

“Being bisexual is difficult,” Lysander said. “I’m not saying being gay is easy, but when you’re attracted to both sexes, want both sexes, the chance of having a relationship that satisfies all your needs is very small. Society might be coming round to the idea that being gay is okay, but they’re not there yet with bisexuality. We’re seen as gays reluctant to come out and a threat to other sexual identities.”

“Talk too much,” Flint said. “Do things.”

And they did.

There was dirty talk and manlove and a daisy chain and some cheesy dialogue that made me chortle. It were the shit! Even when I was like, 'say whaaaaaaa?!!?' I still kept turning the pages like a maniac.

The drama is soap operaesque and easily resolved and, therefore, unbelievable. Did I care? Not in the slightest. As a matter of fact, the whole ex-boyfriend turned stalker who's also a cop that keeps turning up like a bad penny just got to be comic relief.

He is very persistent and a crazy train. And that train gets a helluva lot of mileage. 

But the ending was sweet. I hope for their sake's the bad penny doesn't make another 1,987,354,025 appearances in their lives BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY CALL THE COPS!

An entertaining, fluffy, brain candy  read that will appeal to m/m/f enthusiasts.

A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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