Do you believe in love at first sight?
Sanford Stewart sure doesn’t. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.
Or so he tells himself.
It’s not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.
Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.
The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.
The one great, defining quality of a TJ Klune novel is the author’s ability to interrupt bodily functions. Like breathing, eating, thinking, the ability to recall how to speak past tears and sobs being ripped from your soul or hysterical laughter impossible to suppress—that is what TJ Klune does. Interrupts your life, by making you feeling alive—and ruins you for any other book for several days.
A sequel to Tell Me It’s Real, The Queen and the Homo Jock King tells the story of Sandy, aka Helena the Queen, and Darren, the Homo Jock King. Characters from the first book make stellar appearances, and there’s very little in the way of pure cameos—these characters are integral to the story, just as the MCs are.
Sandy is flawed, hurting, but strong and fierce. Helena comes out to play when Sandy can’t quite cut it—and boy, does she win at everything. The story is told from Sandy’s POV, so we only get Darren’s input in flashes, that we as the readers understand, but Sandy doesn’t—the conveniently blind eye of the narrating character, but it works. We see the hurt and the yearning and the love Darren has for Sandy, and we are left alternating between groaning in despair at how oblivious Sandy is, to loving the fact that he can’t see how deeply in love Darren is with him, and how much he loves Darren back.
In a story that, from the title, should be rife with gay stereotypes, actually manages to do something really unique to TJ Klune—educate, make fun, and yet invite us to laugh at ourselves. Vulgar, crass, funny to the point of being obscene and obscene to the point of hilarity, Q&HJK is so tumultuous it will make your body hurt from laughing, and when the laughter gets to be too much, Mr. Klune slides in a one liner of pain, slicing like a knife that leaves you breathless.
The plot, as is typical of Mr. Klune, is a wandering path of sidelines and tangents that mysteriously end up in the right place to make perfect sense to the story, all the while entertaining us. The love saga between Sandy and Darren has twists and turns and so much comedic gold that when the pain steps in and has its say, it hurts all that much keener. The ending was an odd mix of HFN and HEA—as if the story will never end, but we’re all too exhausted to get more, much less survive it.
Five Absolute Perfect Stars