Author: A.C. Katt
Series: Sunset Club (You can read it as a standalone)
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: MLR Press
Cover Artist: Lex Valentine
Pages or Words: 58,550
Categories: Contemporary, gay, M/M, Jersey Shore
BlurbGrayson Grey spends all of his time working at the Sunset and taking care of his mother who has leukemia. He has a huge crush on Enzo Del Monte but Enzo seems to what to spend his time with the manager of the Sunset, Mike Green. Then Gray finds out that Mike is not gay, about to take Enzo for a large sum of money and is stealing from the Sunset. Gray attempts to ride to the rescue but winds up being rescued himself
ExcerptGray put Bobby’s Heineken in front of him and shot a dark glare at Mike down the end of the bar. Bobby raised an eyebrow. Gray grunted in disgust. “All Mike wants is his money. He’s a poser.” Gray finished polishing the highball glass and held it up to the light to check for fingerprints. He placed the glass next to the others on the mirrored shelf. “He’s been trying to tap into Enzo’s wallet since he met him.”
“Why would you say that?” Bobby’s leg twitched. It always did that when he was upset. Up in everyone’s business as always, he was interested in why Gray disliked Mike.
“Because he’s straight. He’s the only bartender in the place who is and Keith and Zach don’t know.”
“Jason worked with the guy, he vouched for him.” Bobby’s leg twitched so hard he had to hold it down. Since his friend Jack married Carlo, Carlo’s extended family bonded with Jack’s adopted family. Bobby didn’t like the fact that Mike was playing games, not only with one of his husband’s customers, but with Enzo, Carlo’s cousin, who Bobby considered to be one of his own.
“When Jason told Mike that a job was available at the Sunset, he jumped at the chance. He knew how much money he could make here. Besides, Keith couldn’t have refused him the job just because he’s straight. But even though he had to know that, he lied to Keith’s face.” Gray washed another glass. “Mike would have pretended to be a Martian if that would have gotten him the job. He knew if he was gay, he’d get better tips.”
“How do you know all this, if Jason doesn’t?” Bobby’s voice switched to a lower, gruffer register and he tightened his grip on his glass.
“I’ve seen him around town with his girlfriend. When he introduced me, he said her name was Cathy, that was it, no point of reference. I saw them at the mall. I needed to pick something up for Mom. Cathy left us to go to a store when he dragged me aside and told me she was his sister. Why wouldn’t he plain introduce her as his sister? Why would he draw me aside?” Gray put the last glass on the rack with a little more force than necessary.
“Maybe his sister doesn’t know he’s gay.” Bobby’s brows drew together. At this point, his leg was banging against the rungs of the bar stool.
“Do you play tonsil hockey with your sister? I was waiting in line to get into the movies last Monday night when I saw them. My neighbor sat with my mom so I could get away for a few hours. I didn’t want to talk work so I avoided him and he didn’t see me. I sat on the other side of the theater to the back. They made out throughout the entire show. Somebody has to tell Enzo.” Gray’s fist clenched around the bar towel.
“Why don’t you tell Enzo?” Bobby asked with mistrust.
“You know damn well why.” Gray snapped the bar towel. “Enzo doesn’t know I exist. I like Enzo, a lot, and I’d love it if he noticed me, but even if I can’t have him, I can’t let Mike do him dirty. Mike needs money. He’s going to ask Enzo for a loan. He’s planning on skipping town once he gets the check.” Gray wiped at the bar furiously. “He’s been playing Enzo since day one.”
Bobby leaned over the bar, leg moving up and down like a carnival horse. “And you know this how?”
“No one pays me much attention. I’m average, nondescript, plain faced, medium height—people tend to overlook average. They see handsome, ugly, tall, short, but not average—gray. My name suits me, Grayson Grey. Mike didn’t notice I was there when he was on the phone with Cathy. He told her he’d get the money from Enzo and they’d elope to Las Vegas. He said he’s been setting Enzo up since the bachelor party and she shouldn’t worry. Enzo was chaffing at the bit and would give it to him without a question. From what I could hear, and I admit, I stood there and eavesdropped, she was pissed because he gambled away their savings.” Gray sighed and took Bobby’s empty glass off the bar. “Enzo doesn’t see me either, but I can’t let Mike do that to him.” Gray swiped at his eyes with the bar towel.
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Though Average Gray is book 5 of the Sunset Club series, it can be read as a standalone. I hadn't read any of the previous books in the series and had no problem following along, but I would probably recommend reading the series in order for the most enjoyment. This story is one that I'm on the fence when it comes to rating so I'm going to do this as a pro/con review.
-I thought Gray was so sweet, kind and amazingly supportive of his mother. Although he sees himself as average and plain, no one else agrees-including me. He is selfless and would give friends or family the shirt off his back to help them.
-Enzo is smart and giving, loyal to his family and friends and just wants to see them happy.
-I liked how tight-knit the whole Sunset Club group of friends are; they really are like their own big family who takes care of and supports one another.
-Gray and Enzo together are a wonderful match.
-There was a lot of extraneous detail thrown in to the story that wasn't really necessary and didn't add to the story.
-Gray and the other characters continually kept mentioning how he sees himself as just average, nothing special, not worthy of notice. It kept coming up over and over again until it felt a bit tedious after a while.
-While I know Gray and Enzo were both interested in each other for months before getting together, once they do start seeing each other the jump to more permanent commitment is just way too fast for my liking.
This story was pretty low angst with the only real drama happening at the very beginning with Mike, then the continued focus on Gray's sick mother. We don't really get to see a lot of relationship development with so much concentration being put on Gray's mom, which is one of the reasons I thought he and Enzo's declarations to each other came too fast.
I would recommend Average Gray to M/M romance fans who prefer stories that don't have a lot of drama and are focused on family and friends. This story is for readers 18+ for the M/M sexual content.
Meet A.C. KattA.C. Katt was born in New York City’s Greenwich Village. She remembers sitting at the fountain in Washington Square Park listening to folk music while they passed the hat. At nine, her parents dragged her to New Jersey where she grew up, married and raised four children and became a voracious reader of romantic fiction. At one time she owned over two thousand novels, until she and her husband took themselves and the cat to New Mexico for their health and its great beauty.
Now, most of AC’s books are electronic (although she still keeps six bookcases of hardcovers), so she never has to give away another book. AC is a late bloomer, however, she claims to have found her niche writing LGBT romance.