4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book class difference coming of age Contemporary Cop/Crime DA Dancer Enemies to Lovers Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Porn star

Dark and Dazzling (Sassy Boyz #2) by Elizabeth Varlet

release day review



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. 


(Book one reviewed here:

This is the second book about a group of men who like to dress in heels and makeup and dance their butts off! They all have another story to tell, another life that complicates things. In this case, Azariah – aka Z – has a history of people disappointing him. His mother believed in him and he – mostly – believes in himself, but life has a way of slapping him down just when he gets his feet under him.

Connelly is a NYPD detective who is mostly out but doesn’t advertise it. He’s got his own demons that keep him “hidden” in the background. The first hurdle the couple shares is Connelly being willing to step into the bright light that is Z’s life. Then it’s convincing Z that they are both “worth” it and able to stand the scrutiny.


This is – maybe? – a bit darker than book one. Book one had plenty of angst and drama and I feel that Z’s drama – while a bit more “huge” in some ways – is about the same fundamental things as Ansel – making this life work when it seems to be determined to make you fail.

Connelly was less “striking” than Fitch, but no less warm and caring for Z.

There’s a time when suddenly Z decides to accept and let Connelly in and besides that point being a bit muddy for me, the rest of the story flows very smoothly and is all in all a great follow- up to book one. The next two boys have their work cut out for them as these are some hard stories to follow!

I will say that there are at least two potential triggers in this book: drug use and rape, so be warned (or read some of the spoilery reviews to see if they will bother you.)

I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to the next installment!


4.5 of 5 stars


Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

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