Review: Dark & Dazzling by Elizabeth Varlet

Friday, June 23, 2017

Title: Dark & Dazzling
Author: Elizabeth Varlet
Series: Sassy Boyz, #2
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: November 7th 2016

Z doesn't need a hero…

Azariah "Z" Hayes is a diamond. Equal parts strength and sparkle, he's more than capable of standing on his own stilettos. So if waiting tables and stripping at The Vibe are what it takes to keep a roof over his head, well, there are worse ways to earn a living. 

Connelly is a white knight with a badge…

For NYPD detective Connelly Reid, to serve and protect is just another day at the office—even if that means protecting himself from his own true desires. He's been curious about Z, his waiter, for months, but it's not until he sees him in his makeup and heels that the curiosity becomes a fierce attraction. Z, despite all his over-the-top dazzle, might just be the man Connelly has been waiting for his entire life.

But when Connelly investigates underground porn and drug activity with ties to The Vibe, one thing becomes very clear—acting on what he knows is going to hurt Z, financially and emotionally. And though Connelly would love nothing more than to fix all of Z's problems, no amount of mind-blowing sex can make Z comfortable becoming dependent on his lover. Yet if there's one thing Connelly knows from his years on the force, it's this: when things go bad, you need a trusted partner to have your back.

This actually the second book of the Sassy Boyz series, but I accidentally read them out of order...oops!! Lucky for me, these books can be read as standalones so I didn't feel lost at all. It did make me really excited to read Ansel's story tho!

Connelly often goes into the diner where Azariah works because he can't keep his eyes off of him and he intrigues him, but it isn't until he finally sees Azariah fully decked out in his makeup and heels that he makes his move. He keeps telling himself that he shouldn't start anything with him but every time he sees him the pull of attraction gets harder to resist. Azariah's roommate bailed on him, making him short on the rent so he pushes himself harder and takes on more shifts at the diner. Things seem to be going well until he hurts himself practicing for one of his new dance numbers, making it impossible for him to dance or continue waiting tables, so he falls farther behind on rent and bills. He makes a serious of bad (and frustrating) decisions and he pushes Connelly away. Connelly has a bit of a hero complex and Azariah does not want to be treated like a damsel in distress. They both have to learn to trust and talk to each other.

Azariah, or Z (his nickname), is feisty and full of attitude. He makes no excuses or apologies for the way he is, and I love that. Z is fiercely independent and doesn't know how to OR want to accept help from others. I loved his sassy remarks, and I had to smile every time he used his nickname for Connelly (Hot Fudge). 

Connelly has your typical knight in shining armor complex. Every time his sister calls and is in a jam, he rushes to her rescue. He was also guilty of doing the same thing in all of his past relationships. He's a fixer. I thought he was super sweet even when he was being a bit of a bonehead at times. lol! When he set his mind to winning Z over, he was determined and refused to give up. He said the sweetest things...even though Z didn't know how to take his compliments. He was a giant sweetheart.

There were a couple moments in their story that had me cringing and I didn't love some of the things that happened, but that's more of just a hangup of mine, I guess. I still enjoyed MOST of their love story. I'm excited to go back and read the first one in the series, since I'm a dummy and read the wrong one first. lol!

*I received a free cooy of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. *


  1. Oooh I want to know what was cringe worthy lol

    I wan to meet Z - he sounds awesome!

    For What It's Worth

    1. hahaha I could tell you if you want but I don't want to spoil things for you if you plan on reading it one day! lol!

  2. Haha thank goodness it can be read as a standalone. I can feel what you're feeling. It happened to me once. But unfortunate for me it's not a standalone. :(
    Anyway, this books seems to have so much potential. I hope your next read is way better. :)

    1. Oh no! That definitely happened to me before too. I kept wondering why I was so lost. lol Thanks so much!

  3. I've been guilty of accidentally reading series out of order too. Sometimes it's hard to tell! Anyhow, I've haven't heard of this one before, but it sounds like a cute read! I always love independent, feisty main characters. Awesome review!

    1. haha I'm glad I'm not the only one that does this sometimes. It wasn't the first time it happened and I'm sure it won't be the last. lol I'm a big fan of the feisty MCs too. They are always my favorite. Thanks, Lauren!


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