Author: Louise Lyons
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 300 Pages
Rating: 3 Stars
Blurb: Two competing gangs of car and drag racing enthusiasts with a shared history of pain and rivalry leading to outright hatred. Two men from opposite sides of the tracks, yet with more in common than they’d like to admit.
Paul Appleton is a troubled man who has never been in a relationship, having lost everyone he cared for in his life. His mother died when he was very young and subsequently, he lost his brother and his best friend. Now Paul is convinced love will always end in tears.
Greg was living on the streets after his parents died and was stabbed by a junkie, ending up in hospital. The Buchanans took Greg under their wing while doing charity work, and Greg joined their loving family when he was adopted. He and his siblings are also car enthusiasts with much more money and therefore better cars than Paul Appleton’s gang.
When they eventually find a connection, Paul fights his feelings and tries to convince himself his lover is only a temporary bit of fun, but Greg has other ideas.
Review: Often when I (as an American) read a book written by a Brit, it has been Americanized to a certain degree. There are very few words that are new to me after reading British authors for so many years. I must say that Louise Lyons did not make this one easy for me. Not that she should be expected to, but it was a shock to my system as I am used to being catered to. Damn entitled Americans! The locations and events and colloquialisms were all totally British. I kind of admire her for sticking to her guns and not making it more Americanized for her fans.
Ms. Lyons also knows a hell of a lot about cars. The only reason I knew the Capri to which she referred was a Ford product is that a friend with benefits in college had one. It was a Mercury Capri, but half a dozen and all that. It wasn’t sold for long in America (1971-74 and 1976-77). It later morphed into the ugly Mustang of the 1990s. So, she either had a technical advisor or, more likely, I am thoroughly impressed.
Paul and Greg are both members of their local motor-head community. They belong to warring factions, often competing with each other, but are both equally car-obsessed. Many such men aren’t accepting of those different than themselves. Re: gay. This ensures that both Paul & Greg remain firmly in the closet into their early twenties.
Both of our MCs come from almost comic book-worthy bad childhoods. I allowed myself to go with it, but some readers might be put off by how many stereotypical horrible things happened in the lives of Paul & Greg to make them into the damaged men they grow up to be when they meet. Their relationship continues to be plagued with clichés and worn plot devices. I won’t spoil the overall plot by listing them here, but rest assured there are plenty of them.
One thing Ms. Lyons does do really well is write sex scenes. In my opinion, this author is aware that she writes convincing sex because she leans pretty heavily on it. To me, sex is used to move the plot along and to show the deepening feelings the MCs have for each other. Of course they are going to have sex way more frequently than just what we need in order to know what is going on in their heads and hearts, but we don’t need to read the details of every single encounter. A fade to black or six would have been a welcome addition to this book. I skipped at least half the sex, but what I did read was steamy and the emotions were well written.
Overall, Conflicted just wasn’t that complicated. It was okay, but I probably wouldn’t have finished it if I didn’t have to review it.
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