Reviewed by Terri Schlichenmeyer
Once you’ve left home, can you ever go back again? Oh, yes, you can spend a night or even a week at the old homestead. You can sleep in your childhood bed with your Steve Urkel posters on the wall and a sixth-grade basketball trophy on the shelf. Everything remains the same—except you. And you can’t go back again.
Neither could Bentley Dean III. In the new book In My Father’s House by E. Lynn Harris (St. Martin’s Press, http://us.macmillan.com/SMP.aspx, $24.99, 297 pages), Bentley can’t go home again because his father won’t let him. If Bentley Dean III was willing to live a lie, he could have everything a man could ever want. His legacy as the only son of Bentley Dean II would have included money, leisure, houses, travel, and more money.
But Bentley was gay and in love with another man, and he couldn’t pretend to be someone he wasn’t. So when Bentley broke up with Kim, his beautiful fiancée, to be with Warren, Bentley’s father disowned his son.
That happened years ago, though, and Bentley was now the co-owner of a successful modeling agency in Miami. Successful, more or less. Money was tight for everybody in this economy, so when an older man dropped by the agency and asked for 15 gorgeous “gay-friendly” male models for a party, it was like a lifeline. Even though the party sounded sleazy, and though Bentley was a legitimate businessman whose internal alarms were screaming, he needed the cash. He agreed to the job.
But just as he feared, the party turned out to be anything but tame, and the nondisclosure statement each boi had signed made perfect sense: Seth Sinclair, one of the best-known, most powerful men in the world was the host of this soiree, and if word got out, his empire would topple. There was nothing Sinclair wouldn’t do to keep that from happening.
Bentley Dean III was horrified. Because one of his models backed out at the last minute, he’d had no choice but to hire his naïve young friend, Jahron, to fill in. Jah was just 18 and as green as they get, and when Seth Sinclair flashed real green and spoke of the future, he practically owned Jah for good. And Sinclair wasn’t about to let the boi go.
Got a pair of those long oven mitts hanging on your grill? Go get ’em. You’ll need them when you start In My Father’s House, because this book is hot.
More than many of his other works, the late author E. Lynn Harris got a little nasty in this novel of money and intrigue, but those scenes, though definitely on fire, aren’t the least bit gratuitous. Harris always had a way of making you care about the characters in his books, too, and Bentley is no exception. Trust me, that care will have you burning through the pages quick as flames.
If you’re looking for something a little down and dirty, this is the novel to find. For you, In My Father’s House will blow the roof off.
Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was three years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.