‘In My Father’s House’

[the bookworm]
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

Once you’ve left home, can you ever go back? 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.

You can’t go back again. Neither could Bentley Dean III.

In “In My Father’s House” by the late E. Lynn Harris, Bentley can’t go home again because his father won’t let him. If Bentley 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 he broke up with Kim, his beautiful fiancee, to be with Warren, his father disowned him.

That happened years ago. 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 most powerful men in the world, was the host of the soiree and if word got out, his empire would topple. There was nothing Sinclair wouldn’t do to keep that from happening. Bentley was horrified.

Because one of the models backed out at the last minute, Bentley had no choice but to hire his naive young friend, Jahron, to fill in. Jah was 18 and as green as they get. When Sinclair flashed real green and spoke of the future, he practically owned Jah. Sinclair wasn’t about to let the boi go.

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 his characters and Bentley is no exception. You’ll burn through the pages quick as flames.

Terri Schlichenmeyer collects books, tigers, trivia and book bags.

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