The Official Description: This third installment of The Follow series chronicles the journey of one of its’ most enigmatic characters, celebrity heartthrob Lamar St. Jon.
And he is saying goodbye to stardom for good…at least, he hopes.
Boasting a successful career in modeling, television, & film, Lamar leaves the glitz of celebrity behind to find his own way – without the paparazzi and online buzz surrounding his elusive persona. Then he meets Giovanni ‘Gi’ Hughes: a self-proclaimed ‘Renaissance Negro’ by day and a strip club bartender by night. The unconventional Gi shows quiet Lamar a side of New York the reluctant star never experienced as a national heartthrob. Lamar finds himself immersed in Gi’s bohemian scene, enamored with his carefree spirit and defiant nature. Soon, the two handsome creatives find themselves tangled in a passionate affair.
The moment Lamar starts forgetting about his turbulent superstar past, his estranged parents come barreling back into his life after coming into financial ruin. When they beg him to step back into the spotlight for a quick buck, Lamar has to choose between stepping back into his old role for his family and forging a new life for himself with Gi.
Just the facts: M/M romance, coming out, fame and privacy, family acceptance
My thoughts bit: This is the first book I’ve read by Eliza David and although it’s a part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone. The main character Lamar St. Jon has quit his life as a well-known and admired actor and celebrity. It’s been his life since he was a child managed by his parents and it’s consumed his spirit in a way. Lamar has battled alcoholism and is in recovery when he decides that he needs to live more authentically and for him, that means coming out. With parents who’ve always been hard on him and his anxiety, Lamar finds it difficult to figure out the process of coming out. When Lamar is at a strip club with friends, he meets a bartender named Gi who is gorgeous and charming and definitely doesn’t date men who are in the closet. Sometimes, you meet someone when you’re not quite ready for them.
There are a few themes running through this book. Coming out is a primary theme and the author does a pretty good job of exploring the various emotions and thought-patterns that play into the decision. Very early on in the book, Lamar decides to see a counselor who specializes in dealing with the issues surrounding coming out. I thought that was an interesting choice as I don’t think I’ve actually read anything like that before.
The exploration of fame versus privacy is really interesting. One of the big problems that Lamar has with coming out is the fact that he’s going to have to come out publicly because of his fame. I thought the author did a really good job of capturing the way that it must feel to be under the microscope of fame. With the risk of being recognized always haunting him, Lamar has to be careful who he speaks to, how he presents himself. This book really captures the sense of always having to be “on” and “aware” that celebrities must go through.
The relationship between Lamar and Gi (that lovely bartender) progresses quickly. I really enjoyed Gi! He’s a poetic, a wordsmith and really vocal about his beliefs and principles. He’s had a challenging past and was hurt by someone in a very similar situation to Lamar. This creates a lot of tension in their relationship for obvious reasons. The two men come together quickly (a bit too quickly for me, but that’s just personal preference), and their differences begin to cause problems. Gi wants Lamar to come out… Lamar comes out to a couple of friends but isn’t ready for the whole world to know.
Because the relationship progresses so quickly in the book, I found I was a little frustrated with how much pressure the two men put on each other. Gi really leans into Lamar about coming out even though at other times he acknowledges that everyone should come out on their own timeline. For his own part, Lamar is very persistent with asking Gi out even though Gi has been very clear that he doesn’t date men who are in the closet. I’m sure this happens in relationships but it seemed like a lot of pressure in such a fledgling relationship.
I really enjoyed the diversity of the characters! There are POC, different cultural backgrounds, a variety of Queer characters and a few different addictions. There are a few folks involved in a variety of performance arts! I really liked the variety of characters.
Overall this is a good story for the genre. The coming out plot isn’t new but I know that a lot of people enjoy reading those kinds of stories. I wish the relationship had moved a bit slower but that’s just my preference!
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) homophobic speech in the past, sex addiction, alcoholic in recovery, alcoholic relapsing, pot-smoking, estranged parents, person cheating in relationship.
The Author: Eliza David is the contemporary romance author of twelve self-published novels, including the Cougarette and Follow series. She was born and raised on the noisy South Side of Chicago, but now lives in quiet Iowa City, one of the renowned Cities of Literature. Eliza also maintains a local literary presence; she currently serves on the Iowa City Public Library’s Board of Trustees, moderated The Scarlet Boudoir romance writing group at The Writers’ Rooms, and served as an annual headlining author at the Iowa City Book Festival.
In addition to writing the naughty words, Eliza is a blogger as well, having served as a contributing writer for The Good Men Project and Thirty on Tap. Eliza is featured in four anthologies: Best Women’s Erotica: Volume 4, The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30: Volume 3, Cleis Press’ Erotic Teasers, and Camden Park Press’s Love Is Like A Box of Chocolates. The third installment of The Follow series, The Lamar St. Jon Experience, will be released on Christmas Day 2019.
When she’s not writing, working full-time, or raising two children with her loving husband, Eliza enjoys reading throwback Jackie Collins, acting out on Twitter, and indulging in the occasional order of cheese fries.
Readalikes: Other stories that are similar or give the same feel.
- American Love Story (Dreamers #3) by Adriana Herrera
- Riven (Riven #1) by Roan Parrish
- Broken Records (Spotlight #1) by Lilah Suzanne
I received an ARC of The lamar St. Jon Experience by Eliza David from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.