Guest Review: Circle of Darkness (Genesis Circle #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker & Nicholas Bella

There isn’t a monster D’Angelo Kumar can’t destroy or a crisis he can’t manage until he meets Angel Bai. The insane attraction he feels toward the sexy waiter is unwelcome because D’Angelo doesn’t have room in his life for relationships. A solitary path is the only option for a man like him, but fighting his growing feelings for Angel may be the first battle he can’t win.

Angel’s abilities extend beyond memorizing the menu at D’Angelo’s favorite Italian restaurant, but he knows better than to trust anyone with his secret. When a vision reveals that D’Angelo’s life is in danger, he will risk everything to save him. The only thing scarier than monsters and demons to Angel is never knowing D’Angelo’s touch.

To say the demon hunter is reluctant to form a partnership with the psychic is putting it mildly, but D’Angelo needs every advantage he can get when the world’s very existence is threatened. As darkness looms nearer, D’Angelo and Angel’s unexplainable connection grows stronger. For a chance at happiness, the two men will need to call upon unlikely allies for an epic showdown between good and evil.

Sexy, witty, and action-packed, Circle of Darkness is the first book in the Genesis Circle paranormal romance series by Nicholas Bella and Aimee Nicole Walker. This book contains sexually explicit material and is intended for adults 18 and older.

Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM

Mixed Bag

I'm not sure where to really start here. Many of you might know that I really like new twists on religious angles and mythology. I love a little of that in my paranormals. I enjoy the imagination and creativity that can shine through when an author manages to come up with a unique spin on that kind of thing. This book has that in spades.

Is it believable? ... meh. Sort of. Is it fun and interesting? Yes. Was it unique enough to probably have me rating this book higher than the masses would? Yep. Why do I say that? Well, because there were definitely things about it that I didn't like and I can't help but think those things probably should have weighed more in the balance of things, but ... I'm a sucker—A SUCKER—for fun twists on religious themes. Don't stone me.


So what didn't I like? D'Angelo was an absolute ass, and while it did get noticeably better, as in, he wasn't actively being an ass after a while, I don't think I saw a personality transplant mentioned in there anywhere. And that's what it would have taken to fix that guy. I mean seriously, he treated his soulmate like "the little woman" for Christ's sake. Yeah, I blasphemed. And?

Cast out warriors, tattooed with Jesus' blood, still fighting the good fight. All that I can get behind except for the apparent power differential. Fighting the everyday baddies was fine. They were good with that, powerful enough for that, but throw a demon in the picture and it was like swatting flies. You'd think that would be the one subsection of badness they'd have cornered the market on, what with the content of the tattoos and all.

Also, I had some unanswered questions about what it meant for the 'mate' in the equation. Things were hinted at but not clarified. Are these guys longer-lived? Do they have regular human lifespans? Do the 'mates' take on some of their partners powers? Since they're not in the loop with the illustrious school that cornered the market on the Jesus mojo, does that mean that D'Angelo and Christian's mates—who don't exist according to the Institutes doctrines and yet of course they do—are unprotected from the evils they're now exposed to through their warrior mates?

delicate flower

Too many questions to make it more than a 3.5 heart (3 GR stars) read. It was entertaining. I liked the 'treasure hunting', the occultism, the religious twists, the MCs were [mostly] okay, I believed the romance for the most part, I liked the secondary characters—I want more of the demon knight—and it left me intrigued enough to read the next ones. I guess that's almost a glowing recommendation as long as you keep the niggles in mind.

There could have been a little more balance in the character- and relationship development and the dialogues were sometimes a little frenetic, sometimes a little immature, but I think it fit the character(s) where they were in life at the time. I dunno [shrugs]. It's worth reading and I liked it overall, but don't be surprised if there are things that take it down a notch or two as you're reading.

I am looking forward to more, so that says something. Maybe that I'm a big, gullible, sucker ... maybe that there's something substantially worth it prowling in the wings waiting for its moment in the series. Maybe you should see for yourself.

More reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be found on Goodreads here.
Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.
An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.

Review: Interview with the Kevin by Mark Lesney

Danton is a 1200-year old vampire, blinded by the Medieval Church, who makes his life as a paranormal romance novelist. He writes about a vampire detective and “pretends” to his fans to be a vampire himself. But book sales are down because he has been without love for over 30 years and just doesn’t have that spark of romance left in him. Until he meets Kevin, a disbelieving young man, desperate for a job, who is brought in by Danton’s agent to try to lighten up his life and heat up his prose.

This was a really interesting vampire tale and when Danton began telling his backstory I got completely absorbed in it and would read the hell out of that thing as a full length novel.

If you’re coming into Interview with the Kevin looking for romance, you may find that this is not your jam, but chuck that out the gothic window of Danton’s mansion, because Danton’s story itself was a great read. I didn’t feel like I got too strong of a handle on Kevin, and this was not really his tale to tell. I would have liked more of him though and if I had gotten as much dimension out of him as I did Danton I would be throwing more hearts at this one.

It seems that Kevin may be the key to Danton getting his mojo back and I liked reading about Danton getting pulled out of his comfort zone by the effervescent Kevin. Danton’s natural snobby side (from literal centuries of experience and knowledge) were challenged by Kevin and I appreciated how the author wrote those scenes. While Danton wasn’t necessarily wrong about the great differences in intellect and experience between them, he didn’t come off as intentionally arrogant, rather more like he was looking for an excuse to not let the young man get too close.

Getting too close brought back the potential for emotions and Danton found those way too painful given his heartbreaking history, but I don’t think Kevin is one to give up. While the ending was a little abrupt and I can’t really call it an HEA or even an HFN, it did read to me like there could be a lot more story to tell and I would definitely be interested in reading it from both the MC’s perspectives.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Guest Review: Broken Pieces (Broken) by Deja Black

A detective and the future leader of a deadly coven. What can go wrong?
Remi Devereaux is a Louisiana born detective working murder cases in Louisville, Kentucky. While shopping for game-day with the guys, he spots the most amazing person he has ever seen. Peter is a man Remi wants with his whole being, a man he just can’t let go.

Peter Romanoff is a photographer who possesses the spirit of two creatures. Two beings that are slowly tearing him apart. He needs a Supruga, a mate, to help give him balance. When he meets Remi, there is a magnetic pull he can’t deny.

The next in line to lead a powerful coven, Peter is hunted, and the people he knows and loves are being killed. It will take Remi’s love and Peter’s skills to combat the enemy after them. Can Remi be the balance Peter needs before the coven destroys them both?

Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM


I loved this farcical bit of unreality. Luuuurrved it. It was over the top. It was an over the top paranormal romance mate situation. Did I say it was over the top? Well, it was. There were some beastly aspects of this that were just kind of ... skeery. Yep.

The author walked a fine line between gross and titillating, I'll be honest, but it somehow worked. And probably because the deceptively delicate MC, Peter, was really a beastly fucking badass while alpha cop and intuitive spiritualist Remi was just as badass from the bottom. What's not to love.

Blood, guts, gore, vamp-wolf hybrid (semi-deposed) reluctant kings, semi-psychic voodoo descendents, murder, mayhem, attempted coups ... yeah, what's not to love?

wolf slobber

Still, it was over the top and completely unrealistic, even for a paranormal. That's not necessarily a bad thing here. I think the plot needed that "feel". It had kind of an opera-ish vibe to it if you know what I mean. The pacing was a little fast, even for something like this with a mate angle and let's face it, the whole first 'real' time they did anything together was ... scary as fuck but inexplicably hot. I'm a little worried what that says about me to be honest, but screw it.

Read it and see what I mean. Like I said, there are aspects of this book that walk a knife's edge with at least one pretty hard pass taboo, but somehow it works. It certainly gives a whole new meaning to the words: fearless acceptance. I'd like to see more of this world and find out what Peter and Remi face in the future and what they're capable of with their bond.

More reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be found on Goodreads here.
Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.
An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.

Review: Highballer (World of Love) by Ava Hayden

What happens when the man is as tempting as the money?
Remy Delacour’s family doesn’t believe in mainstream medicine, and when Remy’s boyfriend reveals that Remy is majoring in nursing, they cut him off. He has to find money to finish his education—fast. And he is so done with boyfriends.

Levi Aronson met the guy of his dreams and followed him to Australia. He knew the chances for a lasting romance were slim—and boy, was he right. Now he’s back in Canada, a year behind in his university program, and short of funds. He needs money, not another man.

Tree planting is a way to make a lot of money fast, but it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world. When Levi, an experienced planter, sees pretty, sloe-eyed Remy, Levi is certain he’ll never last.
They’ll have to pry Remy’s shovel from his cold, stiff fingers, because he won’t quit—or let anything take his eyes off the prize. When a storm brings Remy and Levi together, each finds the other a distraction from the big goal. But can anything develop between two men who have sworn off relationships?

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

A story of determination and will that I truly enjoyed, Highballer is set in Canada in the harsh mountains with the occasional visit to the nearby town. The author sets the scene really well, the hardness of the job and living conditions is obvious (especially to a gal who likes her creature comforts) but it becomes part of the story, not just a massive dump of information - which frankly would have been boooooring.

The harsh nature of the job was explained by defining the characters, how they approached, and their attitude towards, their job and surroundings. How they interacted, not just with each other but with the other workers. It was cleverly done, retaining interest in the story whilst explaining the situation well.

Remy, our inexperienced tree-planter, is a fantastic character. He is so determined to not quit, to succeed, but he doesn't do it in a way that is arrogant or selfish. He was a product of his upbringing in many ways, yet he was able to see beyond the restrictions the lifestyle they led placed on him. He had an amazing strength of character that I admired. I enjoyed that he was different to the other workers but yet he managed to fit in whilst retaining his inner self. He brought a wonderful new dynamic to the tree planting group.

Levi was perhaps more typical at first glance, yet beneath that first impression is another strong character - but one who is able to take time to help the newbie. Maybe reluctantly at first, but he saw the determination Remy carried and helped him. It was the start of a friendship - and then something more. 

I liked the author's writing style. She was easy to read and engaging. I loved that this book was set in Canada - a place I've never been but would love to visit. I liked that the characters weren't run  of the mill, carbon copies of characters I've read a million times. I really enjoyed this read and am thoroughly glad I read it. 

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.

Audiobooks Release Blitz + Giveaway: Leaning Into Always and A Kind of Home by Lane Hayes

Lane Hayes and IndiGo Marketing celebrate two audio releases: Leaning Into Always and A Kind of Home! Check out today's release blitz and enter in the giveaway! You could win a $10 Amazon gift card!

Two titles from two different series by Lane Hayes are now available in audiobook.

Leaning Into Always

Series: Leaning Into, Book 2
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher: Self Pub
Original Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 30k
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Established Couple, San Fran, Beach, Surfer, Geek, Opposites Attract, Friends to lovers

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Life is good for Eric Schuster. He owns a highly successful tech company, has a great group of buddies, and he’s about to marry the man of his dreams. Eric is pleasantly surprised to find the transition from friends to lovers has been easier than he thought. However, after running into an overly friendly ex-boyfriend on an impromptu trip to their shared hometown, Eric realizes things are about to get complicated.

Zane Richards is a quintessential California surfer dude turned professional sailor. His laid-back approach has helped him navigate difficult times in his life. Eric may not share his easy-going mindset but Zane knows without a doubt Eric is the one. However, carving a future together may require confronting a piece of the past Zane thought he’d left far behind. Both men will have to decide if they’re willing to risk what they know for a chance to lean into always.

Listen to a Sample

A Kind of Home

Series: A Kind of Stories, Book 4
Author: Lane Hayes
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press
Original Release Date: June 23, 2017
Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 77k approximately
Genre: Romance, Bisexual, Rock star, NYC, humor, light suspense

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Isaac Dalton is the guitarist for Spiral, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The band’s meteoric rise to superstardom has its perks, but fame and fortune aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nonstop touring and performing exhaust him, and when an overzealous fan makes it imperative that Isaac travel with a clingy bodyguard, he is ready for a break from the madness. More so when his newly single first crush shows up on his doorstep. The man is strictly off-limits. He’s a memory from a place Isaac would rather leave behind. And he’s straight.
Fun-loving former athlete slash construction worker Adam McBride desperately needs a new beginning. And New York City is the perfect place to start over and think about how to rebuild his life. A short stint as roommates with his brother’s best friend from high school seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, when friendship gives way to fierce attraction, both men find themselves in uncharted and possibly dangerous territory. Isaac has to decide if he’s willing to take the ultimate risk for a kind of love and a kind of home he never dreamed possible.

Listen to a Sample

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

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Audiobook Review: Stalking Buffalo Bill (Shifter U #1) by j. leigh bailey

A smitten coyote isn’t the only one stalking Buffalo Bill.

A buffalo walks into a cafe. Sounds like the start of a bad joke, but for coyote shifter Donnie Granger, it’s the beginning of an obsession. Donnie is a little hyperactive and a lot distractible, except when it comes to William. He finally works up the nerve to approach William but is interrupted by a couple of violent humans.

While William—don’t call me Bill—is currently a professor, he once worked undercover against an international weapons-trafficking ring. Before he can settle into obscurity, he must find out who leaked his location and eliminate the thugs. He tries keeping his distance to protect Donnie, but the wily coyote won’t stay away.

It’ll take both Donnie’s skills as a stalker—er, hunter—and William’s super-spy expertise to neutralize the threat so they can discover if an excitable coyote and a placid-until-pissed buffalo have a future together.

Listening Length: 5 hours and 30 minutes
Narrator: Finn Sterling

2.5 Hedging Hearts

I’ve got to say that half the time I liked this story while the other half drove me to frustration.

Donny works in the local coffee shop and has been crushing hard on the enigmatic and reticent new professor William, who teaches at the nearby shifter university these last few months. One day, out of nowhere he’s asked by sinister strangers if he knows the quiet customer, and Donny’s first instinct is to protect William despite the fact that he hardly knows the man.

What ensues is kinda a comedy of errors as Donny finds himself wittingly and unwittingly embroiled in a revenge scheme where bad guys want to kill William, a retired undercover agent who brought down a notorious weapons dealer. The charm of this is pretty much all on Donny who is fiercely independent with some foibles that include being overly chatty, clumsy, and sarcastic but always with a heart of gold. He surely seems to find himself in absurd situations as he tries to help William who never wants his assistance in the first place. Donny’s bumbling nature was mostly endearing, but I do admit he had a temper and acted stupidly impulsive one too many times.

There also seems to be a lot of reader frustration with William’s lack of communication. Granted, he does come clean around the 45% mark, but he still holds his cards close to the vest and is very reluctant to part with any extra information if he doesn’t have to. I admit, his mysterious badass nature was appealing and who doesn’t like to see a gruff stoic guy fall in love?? Many a time though, his slow to reveal crucial information was just the impetus for Donny to go off half cocked which added to the above mentioned frustration.

Note to self. Narrator Finn Sterling and I just don’t get along. I’m still scratching my head at how he basically makes Donny sound like a girl most of the time. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. I’ll give credit that his voice for William was a dream and he does character distinction like a charm, but it is just so jarring when you’re expecting a certain octave and what you get is a boy going through puberty. Granted this isn’t as bad as Out of the Shadows, but it’s there and it was enough to throw me out of the story multiple times. Admittedly, one’s listening experience is highly personal and we all vary in what we like and don’t like - I just don’t think this narrator is for me.

Again, this had its various charms with a good dash of smexy that helped negate the negatives. Mostly. This definitely has potential in its interesting set up about a small town that’s the hub for shifters as it boasts a university that caters to such. The next story is about Donny’s bff Ford, who’s an elusive mysterious thunderbird, and I’ll strongly consider continuing but I’ll hold out to see what others think about it first.

Thanks to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Review: Beyond the Tunnel (The Wizard Shifter #1) by Daniel Mitton

Adam Stephens is a man with a mission. It has been three years since they chopped that malignant brain tumor out of his head, and he is off on a solo motorcycle camping trip through the Appalachian Mountains.

When he rides into the Pine Mountain Tunnel in North Carolina and rides out into another realm—a realm that comes complete with a big sexy grizzly bear shifter, mages, and an evil sorcerer—he isn’t sure he isn’t lying in the tunnel after crashing his bike. Can such a world exist? Or is he dreaming? If he is dreaming…it sure is realistic.

Along the way, there will be some major hurdles to surpass including no indoor plumbing…and no coffee. A man needs some basic luxuries, correct?

Reviewer: NeRdyWYRM

I Want One!

I want a tunnel just like this one. Yep. Gimme. Portal to a magical world? Sign me up. Meet my life mate in the first five minutes. Where's the dotted line? Discover I now have magical powers and I'm Billy Bad-Ass, savior of shifters in another dimension. Hand me the knife, I'll sign in blood.

There's a May/December theme here ... sort of. There's a hell of a twist there, too. But it leaves us with a mature-thinking MC, which is a bonus in this situation. There's disability, too, in a way. I'm vacillating, I know, but you'll see what I mean when you read it. There's shifters and evil wizards, and good wizards and people who just wanna live a normal life fighting the good fight, underdog style.

eat my shorts

There's no indoor plumbing and then there is. There's a one-way ticket to another world and then there's a way out but maybe no way back in. There's soulmates and mysteries, murder and mayhem, genocide and death.

There's also love, friendship, camaraderie, second chances, first chances, new leases on life, and bright sunshiny places in which to live them.

Gimme. Gimme. Gimme more. If you like paranormals with a twist, if you like feel-good stories that talk a walk on the dark side, if you like it when the good guys win one even if they have to lose a few first, this is the story for you.

More reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be found on Goodreads here.
Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.
An ARC copy of this title was provided for an honest review.

Giveaway + Blog Tour: Relay (Changing Lanes #1) by Layla Reyne

Layla Reyne & Riptide Publishing are here today promoting Relay, the first in the Changing Lanes series. Be sure to enter the giveaway below. It's a good one. Good luck!

Welcome to the RELAY Blog Tour, presented by Layla Reyne and Riptide Publishing! RELAY, by Layla Reyne, is Book 1 of the Changing Lanes sports romance series featuring Olympic swimmers. RELAY is an enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance between Alex, the team captain, and his closeted ex, Dane, swimming’s biggest star. Read on to learn more about RELAY, Changing Lanes, and Layla Reyne!

About Relay

Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

About Changing Lanes

A chance at gold or a chance at love? Members of the US Men’s Swim Team fight for both in this sports romance duology following two couples on one medley relay team as they train and compete in the world’s biggest sporting event: the Olympics. To reach the top of the podium, they’ll need to depend on one another and be willing to change lanes—in their lives and hearts, and in the biggest race of their athletic careers.

About Layla Reyne

2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bicoastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. When she's not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

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To celebrate the release of Relay, one lucky winner will receive a signed paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Review: Counting on You (Counting #3) by Kelly Jensen

Henry and Marc can’t seem to catch a break. They’ve had two disastrous dates—the first trapped in a car during a blizzard and the second locked in a basement—followed by nearly two months apart. Even though they work for the same firm, their relationship is held together by flying visits, phone calls, and text messages. A joint assignment in Washington DC might be more togetherness than they can handle, however.

Henry is still battling insecurity, and this assignment is too important to his career to mess up. Marc is committed. He’s falling for Henry and looks forward to having him permanently on his team and at his side. But the real test isn’t the assignment. When Marc finally lays his heart on the line, can he count on Henry to be there for him, in every way that matters? And can he do the same for Henry when Henry needs it the most?

I fell for this series when I read the first story, Counting Fence Posts. The characters are memorable and unique and I’ve loved reading the evolution of Marcus and Henry’s relationship. The author has been able to cover a host of issues for these guys without losing focus on their growth and individuality. She got me invested in them, both separately and together.

The relationship with Henry is the first Marcus has had with another man, and he’s working his way through his coming out. He wants to do it for Henry but knows he needs to do it for himself. Henry is a shy sweetheart who’s been hurt in the past and is still a little surprised that his long time crush is as into him as he is. The two books leading up to Counting on You have had a mosh pit of obstacles for them that were overcomable, but the situations afforded them plenty of time to communicate so they were able to move forward with the “getting to know you” stuff more quickly than if they went on traditional dates.

Counting on You has no real external shenanigans, this one is all about Henry and Marcus. This one also felt more angsty to me than the previous two, but it made sense since there were no distractions and the two of them were finally going to be able to spend some time together after traveling so much for work.

Marcus has a complicated non-relationship with his parents and Henry promised to stand by his side, no matter what. At what turned out to be the “ugliest lunch ever” shit got incredibly real and ugly things were said in the heat of the moment and promises were broken. Everyone was heartbroken, no one was intentionally wrong and no one was completely correct. It read realistically and while it was frustrating, it did make me love the MC’s all the more, faults and all.

Both guys were terribly hurt but neither were ready to give up. I really appreciated that they communicated like adults, working through their hurts and listening to one another. They understood more about each other after that lunch nightmare and the aftermath than they may have ever learned otherwise. The resolution was ideal for them and Henry’s family is the absolute best. When one partner’s family is such a terror, it’s heartwarming to read the other being so amazing.

I hope the author will revisit these two again. I totally bought into their HEA, but I so enjoy reading about Marcus and Henry and would love to be able to check in on them now and again.

**a copy of this story was provided for an honest review**

Review: Reawaken (Under My Skin #2) by Christina Lee

Losing his adoring husband shattered Tristan Rogers's world. For the past few years, he’s been going through the motions, running their dog grooming business while hiding the loneliness he feels down to his bones. When he witnesses an ugly breakup between a pretentious customer and his boyfriend, Tristan can’t help but intervene. Something about the unassuming younger man calls to him, and he can’t help wondering if he’s experienced some heartache of his own.

Life took a tragic turn for Jonas “West” Hollis as a teen, and he’s felt indebted to his overbearing lover ever since. Tristan’s kindness draws him from the start, but with his dreams finally in reach, West can’t risk getting close to someone else. Not now that he can live his life and stand on his own merit.

From innocent texts to companionable rides on Tristan’s boat, what starts as an unexpected friendship between the men sparks into undeniable attraction. Neither are ready for anything deeper than a couple of passionate nights wrapped in each other’s arms but their connection becomes too intense for either to ignore. If Tristan and West want to heal their broken hearts, they’ll need a considerable amount of trust and courage—not only in themselves but also each other.

No sophomore slump here!

From the blurb I expected this to be super heavy and was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn't. Both men have suffered losses in their lives and are at varying stages of coming back from that. Tristan has had three years to deal with the loss of his beloved husband whereas West has just broken free of his controlling sorta boyfriend and is trying to stretch his wings. So... heavy adjacent?

Tristan and West have kind of been eyeballing each other for quite some time. We were introduced to West and his overbearing "boyfriend" in Regret. There is some underlying attraction from both parties but West is skittish. He wants to make a life for himself that's all his own thus is relationship averse but he also craves a connection. He begins calling and checking in with Tristan at Doggie Styles after Tristan helped him get away from Michael (the sorta ex); there is some flirtation and they meet up occasionally but he always always takes off before any bonding can happen. They slow burn from friends to friends with bennies to definite strings attached.

The dynamic these two have was delightfully unexpected! I heart me a big guy bottoming and these two even have a little D/s thing happening! Tristan likes to let West run the show and West likes to run it which makes them really compatible as well as smokin' hot! But what got me in the feels was they're both cuddle bunnies with West preferring to be wrapped up by Tristan, who's got some size on him. I thought this evened the power dynamics. Age difference, size difference, big buy bottoming = #WINNING!

I also really liked that West likes to cook and wants to pursue a career in the culinary arts. I thought the way Lee handled all of the restaurant stuff was on point. No matter what happens or what choices West makes, Tristan always supports him and is very perceptive about his boundaries. Both are well constructed characters who are relatable and their decisions and thought processes made sense given their individual histories which is something I appreciate.

Since we got the benefit of both of their perspectives it's clear they are falling for each other and I liked that they sort of energize the other. Tristan starts boating again and West asks to be taught to swim and things just click between them. They have fun together and the trust builds gradually. I'm not really certain what things they have in common for the long-term but I still bought into them as a couple.

And I liked the realism that Lee brought with Tristan's connection to his husband's family and how they will always be important to him as well as some of the interactions with the other guys from Doggie Styles. I'm assuming Elijah's book is next and I'd be interested in reading it if only to see Elijah kick Stewart and his controlling ass to the curb.

Recommend to slow burn, hurt/comfort lite and/or contemporary romance fans.

A review copy was provided.