abusive ex

Crunch (The Riley Brothers #4) by E. Davies Review

   Crunch (The Riley Brothers Book 4) by E. Davies 3.5 Stars! 

“I don’t have a right to complain.”
Tattoo artist Floyd Turner’s faith in justice was destroyed when he was a rookie cop. He struggled for a couple years with drinks and his own anger. He’s long past that stage – now, he runs a tattoo shop downtown. But despite his fulfilling career, he’s nervous about the upcoming high school reunion. Not having a date to bring there reveals his insecurity: he aches for something more. And then, when he thinks things can’t get any more stressful, his former patrol partner walks in.

“These tattoos better make a difference.”
After his past caught up with him, cop Greyson Peters became a fitness instructor and moved back home. His old career was hard from the start, and he’s always struggled to find a healthy outlet. He’s slowly healing, pouring his energy into exercise, but he’s still got unsightly scars he wants covered. It’s hard to be a playboy when his self-confidence keeps taking hits. Worse yet, his family keeps pressuring him to get back into the force.

“I turned my pain outward, you turned it inward.”
With Floyd’s family chasing him for a debt he’s long since paid and Greyson struggling to find closure for the career he still misses, the two old classmates are drawn together sharing skills. Both men are openly gay now, and they slowly realize they could always be fake dates for the reunion. As their feelings strengthen, can they even hold out until the reunion to admit that they’re both afraid of wanting more? And can they open their eyes and see the support all around them?

Review

Davies books are always solidly good. This romance between Floyd and his ex police partner explores a range of topics from guilt, to policing, to self harm, to what we own our families.

The romance is hot and tender.

I am so happy for Floyd to get a happily ever after and to rejoin this circle of friends in this lovely series.

Winter Knight by L. Valko Review

  Winter Knight by L. Valko 3 Stars!

fter three years living as a rich man’s toy, Micah Zaine is on his own again and struggling to salvage both his career and a shattered sense of self-worth. Accepting a position as a substitute kindergarten teacher seems like an excellent start, until he develops a crush on a student’s father.

Two years after the death of his beloved wife, Jacob Lournigran’s life revolves around work and raising his young son—a social life is nowhere in the picture. Until his meddling sister extends a holiday dinner invitation to his son’s handsome kindergarten teacher.

Spending time with Micah makes Jacob wonder if a friend could be just what he needs to start rebuilding his broken heart. And when financial difficulties and an angry ex put Micah in distress, Jacob has all the makings of a knight in shining armor.

Except Jacob is straight, and Micah is no damsel.

Review

This is a slow burn with Micah who is starting over after leaving an affair with a married man and Jacob whose is still grieving for his wife while raising his child.

Jacob is likely demisexual but the novella doesn’t talk about it much. This is mainly a book about falling in love, healing, and a bit of fairy tale love makes everything okay.

Don’t Twunk With My Heart (Loving You, #2) by Renae Kaye

Review:

Don't Twunk With My Heart (Loving You Book 2) - Renae Kaye

Kee Smith isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows who he used to be—the ignored gay son who chose a blue-collar job just because no one expected it, the submissive bottom who enjoyed large, masculine jocks who put him in his place, the sleek, fashionable twink who partied all night. But after his ex-boyfriend hit Kee and called him names, Kee retired from the social scene.

Back after a year’s hiatus, Kee still doesn’t know where he fits. His friends say he’s a twunk—a twink who put on muscle and turned into a hunk—but Kee is searching for somewhere to belong. Instead of going back to his usual type, Kee hooks up with twink Tate Stevens—a fashion-industry professional who works the image hard. It proves to be the best decision he’s ever made, and not just because he’s starting to regain his sexual confidence.

With Tate, Kee can open up about his fears and confusion without ridicule. Tate has his own fears about putting on weight and getting old. It will take work to make a relationship of opposites succeed, but they begin to realize the compromises will be worth it if they can be together.

 

Review

 

This is an interesting and enjoyable romance. I picked it up because I love Jay from the first book in the series and knew he would show up in here. He did and he is wonderful. 

This couple is the kind that accidentally fall in love. They aren’t really each other’s types until they are. They don’t have much in common until they do. It is lovely.

The dancing and friend scenes are the best.

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Strong Enough (Family, #2) by Cardeno C. Review

  Strong Enough  by Cardeno C. 3.5 Stars!

When a casual hookup turns into the potential for love, staid Spencer realizes he wants to build a life with vibrant Emilio.

When twenty-two-year-old Emilio Sanchez sees handsome Spencer Derdinger walking by his construction site, Emilio makes it his goal to seduce the shy professor. Getting Spencer into bed isn’t difficult, but Emilio soon learns that earning the trust of a man deeply hurt will take time and patience. With a prize like brilliant, sweet Spencer on the line, Emilio decides he is strong enough to face the challenge.

Spencer is surprised when he’s approached by the gorgeous construction worker he’s admired from the safety of his office window. Acting spontaneously for the first time in his thirty-eight years, Spencer takes Emilio home. When the casual hookup turns into the potential for love, Spencer realizes that if he wants to build a life with Emilio, he’ll need to be strong enough to slay his personal demons and learn to trust again.

Review

Awww. Emilo and Spencer are great. I love how Emilo was steadfast and sure in his pursuit of Spencer. I love his kindness and care taking.

Spence takes risks even though he is pretty damaged from abusive past relationships. There is some great sexual healing in this love story.

Emilo’s family and Spencer’s friends are great. We get a wonderful opposites attract and even though there is a age difference Emilo more emotionial stability makes him a great match for Spencer and there is nice equality in the relationship.

It is sexy sweet romance with a little eye rolling moments (like that Emilo just moves right in) but overall a reread for sure.

Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall #1) by Tara Lain Review

   Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain 2 Stars

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

Review

I have liked several books set in this world but not this one.

It was too short for the kind of work it was trying to do: setting up a poly relationship, coming out, dealing with an abusive ex, internalized and then externalize homophobia, friends to lovers, loved forever.

Every move was just too fast.