Mark’s Opening Gambit by Lee Brazil follows Mason and Mark as their two worlds collide. Mark comes from wealthy parents where image and status mean everything. Mason comes from a world where double income living isn’t a choice, it’s a requirement for survival. When the two meet at a chess shop Mark owns, the connection is immediate and magnetic.
As the two embark on a relationship, Mason and Mark both make concessions. Mason, who lives openly as a gay man, is surprised when he’s asked to date subversively so Mark’s parents won’t find out. Mark, used to living under the intense scrutiny of his parents, lives more in fear than out loud. Still, the two make it work. When situations arise which force the two apart, both take a two month hiatus not because they want to be rid of the other, but because they believe they need to better themselves before they’re “worthy” for the other one.
While I enjoyed the story, this particular one fell short of my experiences with other of Mr. Brazil’s books. I found Mark’s intimidated nature to make him seem a bit weak and Mason’s acceptance of dating in secret too big a compromise. While the sex was hot and explicit, the emotions never crept in like they have in other books I’ve read by Mr. Brazil. And in the end, when we’re given the happily ever after, I didn’t feel emotionally invested in the couple getting together.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read, but not at the top of my list from this author.
The son of a wealthy business man, Mark Addison is an expert at chess and hiding. Mason Grant labors with his hands in a menial position; he's open about who he is and what he wants in ways that terrify Mark. Their paths shouldn't have crossed, but now that they have...
They came from different backgrounds, yet each adheres to his own version of family duty and responsibility. One would make any sacrifice for his family's well being. For Mason Grant that means leaving school at sixteen and working hard while living as a man of integrity to set an example for his brothers.
The other would sacrifice anything to keep his family life calm. If that means hiding who he really is from his high society, narrow-minded parents, then that's what Mark Addison will do. He just wants to run his shop, host a few tournaments, play a few games of chess.
When Mason meets fussy, precise chess tournament director Mark, he isn't expecting much more than a few hours of uncomfortable sleep in his car while his brother plays.
One disdainful look from Mark changes that.