An Ali Audiobook Review: Close to You (Sunshine and Happiness #3) by Skylar M. Cates and Tristan James (Narrator)

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 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
close-to-you-audioIt’s hard to recover from a first love. Some people never do.

How hard would you fight to keep your best friend? Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have been best friends forever, but now their friendship is in a crisis. When they were boys, betrayals ripped their world apart. They thought it was fixed, but some parts remained broken. Ever since he saved him from a humiliation at school, Marc has loved Tomas. The last thing he expects is for Tomas to love him back. To keep his best friend, Marc revisits an abusive past he’s tried to forget.

For Tomas, loving Marc has been anything but easy. His upbringing told him it was wrong, so why did it feel so right? Accepting who he is as an adult, Tomas decides he needs a committed relationship. To his deep sorrow, he can’t seem to find it with Marc.

When the two find themselves alone and in the grip of a hurricane, long-buried feelings emerge. Being “just friends” is no longer an option. They must risk it all on love.
When I started this I was under the impression I could read this as a standalone since it’s about a different couple than the previous books.  Once I started it though I felt like I was missing something so I went back and read the previous books.  I’m glad I did that because these two are side characters with important roles in those stories and it helped me transition into this book.
The story is told from dual points of view and it’s told in the past (when they were teens) and the present.  Tomas comes from a loving home but Marc grew up in a very abusive home.  Child abuse is shown and while I didn’t find it super graphic, be aware if this is an issue for you.  As this story goes along Marc has to start working through his issues to be happy with himself and to be able to have a relationship with Tomas.  Marc has a lot of intimacy issues and fear based on his childhood and these two’s journey is painful and angst filled.
While there is a lot of angst and heartache is this story it ends with a beautiful happily ever after and I loved the journey the author took the characters and the readers on.  This was my first time reading this author and I will definitely be looking to read more of her work.
Cover Artist: AngstyG:  I like the cover.  I’m not typically a fan of the color brown in a monochromatic form but this still stood out and it really fit the mood of the story.
Sales Links
Audiobook Details:
Audiobook
Published December 8th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published March 28th 2016)
Original TitleClose to You
ASINB01N9ENUL1
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSunshine and Happiness #3

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Trust Trade (Gem City Grit #1) by Ki Brightly

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Rating: 2 Stars out of 5
 
trust-tradeJeb Birchman has been a kept man for Nolan Whitmoore for almost four years. He has gotten used to Nolan and cherishes the time he gets to spend with Nolan’s son Max. But after four years Jeb has become a bit too old for Nolan’s tastes and for the first time in a long time Jeb doesn’t need to sell his body to live.
 
Freddy Williams is a guy who is basically a gym freak, he is very into fitness and health. One day at a bookstore he comes across a beautiful guy who he can’t keep his eyes off. That man is Jeb Birchman and Freddy has no idea what he is getting into.
 
Once Jeb’s sordid past is out on the table will these two make it is a couple or buckle under the pressure.
 
I read the first 20% or so and I didn’t find the book interesting at all. In fact truthfully if this wasn’t a review copy I would have just not finished this book but I had to and I basically waited till the very last moment to read it too. Having said that the book does become better but don’t take the book’s blurb at face value. This book starts off as a college romance and it goes places I never expected it to go, for one I had no idea that this story was inclined to go in such a direction and the fact it did should have surprised me but by the point I understood where this book was going I was just not that invested in the storyline.
 
I feel that when an author starts writing a book they make so many decisions about how exactly to write that particular book but if the book is well-written their decisions never trouble the reader but in this particular book I’m having a hard time reconciling the need for dual POVs (that of Freddy and Jeb). Firstly, because in the beginning of this book these two people are living in two different worlds, Freddy is looking for a relationship and all he can think about is well, sex and getting to know Jeb, meanwhile Jeb is a mess who keeps debating with himself when he should tell Freddy the truth about his life and what will happen them. These two people are definitely not on the same page and personally it’s distressing as a reader to reconcile these two POVs which are normal in their own rights but together make me wonder how these two can work things out. Even later on in the story there are instances that make me feel that these two guys are just so off balance in regards with each other. Secondly the fact is that the author doesn’t do much with Freddy’s storyline. His life is moulded to fit around the main storyline which is Jeb’s story. I never got the feeling that Freddy was living his life or was important in his own right. He just felt like a puppet in Jeb’s story. Thirdly because no matter how you slice it this is Jeb’s story the last chapter which is Chapter 32 has a scene where Freddy goes to reconcile with his Dad that was the only scene I actually wanted to be from Freddy’s perspective but it isn’t which highlights the fact that even the author chose to give a greater importance to Jeb’s side of the story. And that’s why for the love of God I can’t figure out why this book wasn’t just from Jeb’s POV alone.
 
There is a fourth reason but it isn’t as logical as the ones above and more on emotional and personal lines and that is the fact that I just didn’t like Freddy’s character. I got the impression from the blurb that Freddy was going to be a good guy but that wasn’t the case he was a regular guy but the fact that I was expecting him to be great means he started off with a disadvantage and then just kept adding negatives to it. Freddy’s anger issues came across as pathological. He accidentally hits a guy because he thinks he is someone else but instead the guy he hits is the guy he loves but instead of apologizing on the spot, he kind of made it sound like it was the other guy’s fault. On top of that he is forgiven way too easily which might be in character for Jeb but the fact that he forgave himself so easily to actually argue about it with Max just didn’t sit right. Also what do you do when you have a bad guy unconscious on the floor and your lover is bleeding, call 911 I hope, but not if you are Freddy Williams and what made it worse was that it was a teenager who had to keep himself together to call for help. Lastly the fact that almost any small touch or look from Jeb would have his cock stand up and take notice was very annoying and believe me this fact is repeated a lot of times in this book (my guess is at least 50).
 
And the unofficial fifth reason is that this book is way too long and without Freddy’s perspective it would be half its length which was an estimated 372 pages as per my reader. This book didn’t need to be so long it really didn’t, this story would have been much, much more better if it was 250 or so pages or maybe even lesser and if nothing this story would have been infinitely more interesting if it was faster paced these leaps of time between chapters just about killed the book for me.
 
The most descriptive scenes are the sex scenes and the scene at the end of this book. I wished other things were as detailed especially with regards to Freddy’s life. Freddy and Jeb have great chemistry so the sex was hot but after a while it got repetitive because you definitely need something to fill up 372 pages.
 
Also two things I would have liked elaboration on were Jeb’s deafness and his aversion to blood both of which seem to be mentioned only when it seemed convenient.
 
Besides all of the above the rest of the story makes for an okay read. I liked the emphasis on sign language and the fact that it isn’t English.
 
Cover Art by Bree Archer. I liked the cover for this book.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
ebook, 340 pages
Published January 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332427 (ISBN13: 9781635332421)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesGem City Grit #1

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Spell Fall (The Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #4) by Jacob Z. Flores

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
 
spell-fall-by-jacob-z-floresAs the protector covens gear up to fight the latest threat to the Gate, the Blackmoors are receiving the silent treatment from the Conclave. In a bid to find answers they devise a strategy that completely backfires.
 
Meanwhile Drake is having nightmares where the villain is none other than Mason. As Drake works to find out the meaning behind his dreams, he is confronted with an age old truth about himself, his family and the spell bond he shares with Mason.
 
My Thoughts on Spell Fall
 
What I am coming to love about this series is the action scenes, the scenes where we get answers to a few questions only to be riddled with many new ones.
 
I love it when something is happening in this book, because it is awesome to see everyone work together to figure out how to defeat the big bad.
 
This book has a lot of my old favourites. This book is told from Drake’s perspective and it was so awesome being back in his and Mason’s life as they navigate the perils of their magical life. Especially Drake as he is faced with some pretty impossible situations in this book but it was also really nice to finally have some background on Drake and his life. Also, we finally find out about his immunity to magic.
 
My one problem with this book was that Drake’s immunity to magic isn’t consistent throughout the book while in the previous books Drake has been singularly immune to all types of magic, in this book we see him get transported by the Conclave, and his dreams infiltrated not only when he is sleeping but even when he is wide awake. This leaves me a little confused as to if magic can affect Drake in some small way if he is unaware or not expecting it or maybe not actively fighting and if yes then what are the limits to that influence. Also the amount of power needed to cast a spell on him isn’t consistent initially the Conclave can transport him and then Icarian can work dream magic on him and then he needs two crests to wrest control over Drake. It would be nice if we could for once and for all quantify Drake’s immunity in some relatable terms instead of having it vary constantly across the board.
 
I have always loved Mason and Drake, and it was nice getting another story focused on them but I, also kind of, missed being in Mason’s head. I really wish that in the subsequent books we can get at least one book told from his perspective and see his powers grow. Another thing I really want the answer to is – Who is the strongest Blackmoor brother? Just tell us already because I’m infinitely curious.
 
Also as usual I love the entire dysfunctional extended family. The scenes which have all the Proctors, the Stonewalls and the Blackmoors together are some of the most important scenes in this series and they are always so special. Personally when all the three families are fighting together, it is beyond epic. I also love their interactions with each other and how they help each other, especially the kids.
 
This book raises a lot more questions and I’m excited to see what happens in the next book and to know if any of my speculations come true.
 
Cover Art by Paul Richmond. I loved the cover. The guy on the cover is a take on Drake Carpenter and he shares a startling resemblance with the Drake in my head, so that was an added bonus.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: January 27th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332168 (ISBN13: 9781635332162)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Warlock Brothers of Havenbridge #4

An Alisa Review: Rockin’ the ‘Nog (Seasons of Change #2) by Michelle King

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

 

rocking-the-nogKyle had been riding in the back of Logan’s cab for months—so he could become a familiar face among Portland’s rent boy culture for his case. His job as a county prosecutor often made relationships difficult and his gayness continued to be a stressor, law of the land or not. More problematic, the driver of the cab Logan was triggering every bit of interest he had.

 

What he wouldn’t give to be able to touch and taste that guy…but no. He was there for his case. And getting a blow on the “down low”, while enjoyable, only took the edge off.

 

Twice a month, Logan drove the city attorney around Portland’s seedier streets, playing tour guide to the man he’d come to like. To really like, and wanted to “like” more.

 

Earlier that week, Logan had received a text canceling this Friday’s trip into “the Dark Side.” Canceling a cab ride was fine but he wasn’t interested in canceling his time with Kyle. He’d already formed a plan for their evening that began with a glass of eggnog.

 

Kyle plans on spending the holiday weekend pretty much drinking his trouble away while at home alone, however Logan isn’t going to let that happen.  These two had great chemistry in bed, but had trouble putting aside other worries in their real lives.  I think their time together just kind of became like an escape from everything else.

 

We get to see how both characters are thinking and feeling, but I wasn’t really left with the impression that I knew the characters all that well.  The story has connections to the author’s Portland’s Men series and I was thinking it would be more along those lines, but with all the background the story had these men didn’t really seem to be doing more than getting together for the night with only the slight possibility of a future.  For a short holiday read this is a nice story, I was just expecting something a bit different.

 

Cover art by GD Leigh is a great picture of Blau and Rob.

 

Sales Links: Loose Id | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 55 pages

Published: December 5, 2016 by Loose Id

ISBN: 9781682522646

Edition Language: English

Series: Seasons of Change #2, Portland’s Men

A Caryn Pre Release Review: The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple by K.A. Merikan

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

the-black-sheep-and-the-rotten-apple-by-k-a-merikanFirst, the official blurb:

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”

“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

Cornwall, 1785

Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.

Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.

No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.

When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.

Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.

But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.

I had to include the blurb, because it was really well written and catches your attention, and it truly does describe the plot, and the nature of the book.  There are layers and layers to the two main characters, and I actually read the book through twice before writing this review, because, well, it deserved it.

The first read through, I felt this was a tale of two men who descended into an amoral quagmire, as each crime committed led to another, until they truly were deserving of punishment.  The second read through was a little different and I could appreciate more of how Evan and Julian interacted with each other, as well as the way they rationalized their actions, even as their crimes escalated.  The blurb mentions “morally ambiguous protagonists” and that was the god’s honest truth – and got to me a little more than I thought it would.  I guess I’ve gotten way too used to my romances involving characters who are always, at the deepest level, good men, or at least men who have repented and changed by the time the book ends.  Not so here.

Julian is a narcissistic, entitled, shallow, immature, spoiled brat, who thinks nothing of using other people – family, friends, and strangers alike.  And though he is forced to recognize all of those traits in himself, and how despicable they make him, he didn’t care who he hurt to save Evan.  Was he a better man at the end of the book than at the beginning?  Jury is out on that one.  Evan probably started out as a good man, but abuse and neglect from his family, self-loathing for his homosexuality and punishment kink, a misplaced sense of responsibility, and a tragic end to his first love affair have left him with his priorities really screwed up.  Which not only led to his first theft, but kept him going on that path until the denouement that was shockingly violent.

Whew.  Not for the faint of heart, but definitely a book that will leave its mark on you.  If you truly believe “all’s fair in love and war” – and I mean, you really think it is OK to hurt anyone who stands in the way of true love – you will like the ending, and you will like the book.  I have qualms about that attitude, even when it’s absolutely appropriate for the setting of the book, so the whole thing left me a little disturbed.  Did I like the book?  I’m not quite sure because I’m so conflicted – I truly got invested in the characters, the romance was emotionally very passionate, and I wanted them to overcome obstacles, but the way they did that, well….. 

The kink level was not nearly as high as I expected from the blurb.  The historical perspective of homosexuality, class privilege, and gender roles was very well done, really reinforcing the fact that 1785 was a more violent time with very different social mores than 2017.

Cover art by Tiferet Design is nice in a very Fabio/regency romance way.

Sales Link coming soon

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Book Details:

ebook, 471 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Acerbi & Villani ltd
Edition LanguageEnglish

Michaela Grey on Writing and her release ‘Broken Halo’ (author interview and excerpt)

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Broken Halo by Michaela Grey
D
reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: AngstyG

Publication Date:  January 30, 2017

Available for purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Michaela Grey today.  Welcome, Michaela! 

Thank you so much for having me on your blog! I’m here to talk about Broken Halo and a little of my writing process, and share an excerpt from the book with you.

For Micah Ellis, boundaries are paramount. He needs strict order and cleanliness to stay sane—no dirt or germs allowed.

So when Devon Mallory shows up, Micah knows he should stay away. Devon is a mechanic, and he’s everything Micah isn’t: dirty on the outside, pure within. He’s a far cry from what fits in Micah’s sterile, boundary-bound life.

Micah doesn’t understand why Devon’s bright blue eyes won’t let him go, or why he wants to spend the rest of his life looking at Devon’s smile. He knows happily ever after doesn’t exist for him… but Devon makes him wonder if it could.


Where do you normally draw your inspiration for a book from?  A memory, a myth, a place or journey, or something far more personal?
I’m open to inspiration wherever it may come from. I’ve woken up from dreams and jotted down the idea before I lost it. I’ll see a movie, and think “well, this is great but it could be gayer”. (To be honest, that’s 95% of my thought process when consuming media.) I’ve even simply thought a person was pretty and spun a story around them, which is how I ended up with the spinoff to Halo. (Harry Lloyd’s face is a public menace.)

Are you a planner or a pantzer when writing a story? And why? I’ve always been more of a pantser than a plotter, but that’s not to say I go in blind. I hash out plot points and overall arcs with both my betas. My primary beta knows everything, from beginning to end, with no spoilers or surprise twists, before I write it. My secondary beta reads as I write it and offers input and feedback on the spoilers as she experiences them in “real time”. This gives me a dual feedback loop and helps keep me focused on what’s working and what needs to be tweaked.

Can an author have favorites among their characters and do you have them? Don’t tell any of my other characters, but Micah and Fox (from the spinoff) are my absolute favorites.

If you were to be stranded on a small demi-planet, island, or god forbid LaGuardia in a snow storm, what books would you take to read or authors on your comfort list? Anything from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, as well as Maggie Stiefvater and Seanan Maguire’s entire works.

Were you an early reader or were you read to and what childhood books had an impact on you as a child that you remember to this day and why? My father read most of the classics to us from the time we were tiny. I have many fond memories of being sprawled on the floor, coloring busily, while he described Middle Earth or the great white whale or Narnia to us. We were encouraged to read from the minute we could hold a book in our hands. I fell into new worlds daily, and finally succumbed to the urge to build my own, because of his and my mother’s love of the written word.

EXCERPT:

Micah pointed at the table. “Sit and keep me company while I cook. You haven’t given me many chances to spoil you rotten.”

Devon obeyed and dropped backward into a chair. “Maybe because I like spoiling you.” He hooked his long feet over the bottom rung and rested his arms on the backrest. “So I was thinking,” he said. “How do you feel about collars?”

Micah dropped a dosa on the floor and stared at Devon.

“That was… that was just mean,” Micah said. “Warn a guy.”

“Question stands,” Devon said, dimples flashing.

Micah dumped the dosa in the trash and turned back to the frying pan. “Umm. Collars… collars are good.” He cleared his throat and shifted his weight. Then he looked up as a thought struck him. “No leashes, though. Barrett used a leash sometimes. I didn’t—”

“No leash,” Devon said quickly. “What kind of collar do you want, then? Shall we pick it out together, or do you want me to surprise you?”

“I trust you,” Micah said, startled to realize that was true. “Surprise me. Nothing too flashy.”

He piled the dosa on plates, added the rava and coconut chutney, and then brought them to the table. Devon turned around in his chair and caught Micah’s wrist as he passed by on his way back to the kitchen for drinks, and he tugged until Micah toppled with a squawk into his lap.

Devon caught him and tipped Micah’s chin up with one long finger. “Hey,” he said quietly.

Micah swallowed, caught in Devon’s bright blue gaze. “Hey back,” he managed.

Devon’s lips curved up. “I’m glad I met you,” he whispered and pressed their mouths together.

Micah slid his arms around Devon’s neck and held on. Devon’s hands on his thighs kept him in position, his thumbs rubbing gentle circles, and their lips and tongues fit against each other perfectly.

When they pulled apart, Devon cupped Micah’s cheek. “Have you thought about a safeword?” he asked.

Micah nodded shyly. “Ah… I was thinking… manta ray.”

Devon’s smile lit up the room. “I like that,” he breathed and kissed him again. “You’re so beautiful,” he said. “The light from the kitchen is haloing you, and you look like an angel right now.”

Micah couldn’t help but snort at that. “So not an angel, pal.”

“You are to me,” Devon murmured and kissed him again.

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About the Author

Michaela Grey told stories to put herself to sleep since she was old enough to hold a conversation in her head. When she learned to write, she began putting those stories down on paper. She resides in the Texas Hill Country with her cats, and she is perpetually on the hunt for peaceful writing time.

When she’s not writing, she’s knitting while watching TV or avoiding responsibilities on Tumblr, where she blogs about cats and writing, offers dubious life advice, and tries to keep her cat off the keyboard.

Tumblr: greymichaela.tumblr.com

Twitter: @GreyMichaela

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GreyMichaela

E-mail: greymichaela@gmail.com

In Our Romance Spotlight: The Worst Best Man by M.J. O’Shea (excerpt)

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The Worst Best Man by M.J. O’Shea
D
reamspinners Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host M.J. O’Shea today.  M.J. O’Shea is here talking about her recent release, The Worst Best Man.  Welcome, M.J.!

~

Hi! 

This is Mj O’Shea I’m here talking about my newest book, called The Worst Best Man.

One of my favorite parts of writing a romance is… well obviously the romantic couple. But another favorite is developing relationships between the two romantic leads and the people in their lives. I often end up liking the friends so much that I give them books of their own eventually.

In this book, August, my main character works at an event planner and his team partner and best friend Will is one of those characters that I love to death.

I thought I’d leave a bit of their banter… since I love writing it so much. And even more than writing it, I love reading it. It’s one of the things I look forward to the most in books romance or otherwise. Before I babble too much, here’s a bit of August and his best friend Will.

“Hey, mate, do you have the signed contracts for the Steinberg bat mitzvah yet?”

“I haven’t had a chance to deal with getting them yet. Why?” August had been slammed all day with work orders and phone calls. He hadn’t had time to hound customers for signed paperwork. August the enforcer had taken a backseat to a million more pressing matters.

“I just wanted to get started on the flower orders, and I can’t do that until we have a signature. Remember what happened with the Stout wedding?”

What had happened was nine hundred pounds’ worth of blush-colored roses and calla lilies, a cheating groom, and one very angry bride—also incomplete signed paperwork. Their company had to eat the cost of the flowers since there wasn’t anything holding the ex-couple to the payment. Not endearing to their boss, Helena, in the slightest, even if she did love Will and August. Usually.

August would never make that mistake again.

“Can you get on the Steinbergs?” Will asked.

“Will, you know I have a huge list on for today. I don’t have time to run a paper chase.”

Will started to make one of the signature pathetic noises that usually got him whatever he wanted. It was the blond hair and the big blue eyes. August wasn’t immune, even if Will was straight as a stick and practically his brother. Wasn’t going to work, though. Not today.

“It’s your fault I’m so busy.” Time to go for the guilt trip. “You’re the one who ‘didn’t want to deal with another society wedding full of posh wankers.’”

August knew Will hated the finger quotes. It was a surefire way of pissing him off.

“I hate the finger quotes.”

He said it every time. August enjoyed annoying him every single time as well.

“I know. But I’m still the one who got stuck with the Pritts-Shackleton wedding because you didn’t want to deal with them.”

“People like that always look at me.”

August sighed. “I know, I know. You’re Northern and not a blue blood, and they give you attitude about it. Well, a Northerner has to be better than an American in their eyes, and yet here I am about to meet with one of London’s premiere society couples. I think you can call the Steinbergs. It’s more than an even trade.” August raised his eyebrow and waited for Will to crumble.

“Fine.”

“What do you think our prince and princess will be like?” Will asked.

“Apparently it’s going to be our princess and her GBF,” August said with an eye roll. “Prince Shackleton is in the import-export business, and he’s quite busy.”

“This tosser’s really sending a stand-in?”

“You probably shouldn’t call our clients tossers.” August bit back a grin. “I guess the dude’s been friends with both of them since birth. Maybe it makes sense in their world.”

Will made a face. “Better you than me, mate. I don’t love weddings at the best of times. Give me a nice corporate golf tournament to organize any day. Maybe the girl’s mate will be hot. You need a shag.”

“Thanks for keeping track of my sex life.” AugustDignified gave Will another eye roll for that. He was far too invested in how often August got laid. “I’m sure this random gay man who walks into our office to plan his friend’s wedding will be up for it. Probably should just skip trousers altogether and tell Miss Pritts to take a hike.” August snorted loudly.

“Don’t sell yourself short.” Will shrugged. “I would be up for it if I was into dudes.”

August giggled. “I love you,” he said on a laugh.

“By the way, you sure you have to go home for Christmas?” Will asked. “My mum was looking forward to seeing you. I swear she loves you more than me. Plus, there isn’t a chance in hell I can make your sticky toffee pudding recipe for her.”

The holidays were coming up soon, and August had booked ten days off from the office to visit Boston. It had been two years since he’d gone back for more than a long weekend, and he actually missed the big, loud O’Leary clan. Will’s family was a close substitute, but it wasn’t quite the same thing.

“I can’t this year. I promised my mom I’d come home. She said you’re very welcome to come as well. Maybe our families can just do a son trade.”

There was something about Will’s down-to-earth rough-and-tumble personality that fit into the O’Leary family perfectly, maybe even more than August ever had. They loved him, and he loved them right back.

“I think that’s a solid plan. But we need another solid plan for tonight. One last lad’s night before you desert me for nearly two weeks.”

August looked out the window at the snow drifting down, a few lazy flakes at a time. The London streets were covered with thin, slippery black ice, and the snow had been falling slow but steady for hours.

“It’s cold as hell, mate,” he muttered. He had dreams of his cozy little flat and a book.

“Mate,” Will snickered. “We’ll make a Brit out of you yet. And don’t be a baby. After a few pints, you won’t even be able to feel the snow.”

August had about zero chance of getting out of the pub night. Will was a force to be reckoned with.

“Okay. Lad’s night. But No Weezy. He causes trouble.”

Weezy was Will’s best friend from Sheffield, who’d sort of followed Will to London and never left. He was a laugh when August had nowhere to be for the next three or four days and plenty of time to nurse a hangover. Not when he had to spend the day packing for an evening flight home.

“I might have already texted Weez. He misses you.” Will gave August his best puppy dog eyes.

August sighed. “Okay. I’ll be ready after my meeting with the wedding couple. Er, I mean, the bride and her best friend.”

It was weird. He’d had far weirder. August tried to wipe the memory of eye patches, parrots, and a whole lot of pirate hats from his head. It was best not to think of it.

“I’ll wait in my office with Louise. She’s coming too.”

“Louise? Who else did you invite?” It was starting to sound less like a quiet lad’s night at the pub and more like what Will called “A right piss-up.” Those rarely ended well for August. He still hadn’t found his trousers from the last time.

“You know she’s one of the lads,” Will said.

August wondered how long it was going to take Will to figure out that their sensible, no-nonsense assistant was desperately in love with him.

“One of the lads,” August echoed. “Shoo,” he added, making the motions with his hands. “I have to get ready for my meeting. And call the Steinbergs. I want to get properly started on that one when I get back from Boston.”

Will saluted him as he strolled backward out of the office.

That’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed a little bit of August and Will. I definitely had a great time writing them

I’ve left a blurb and some links below! I’m always available on social media for questions or comments.

Thanks for having me stop by ❤

Xoxo

Mj O’Shea

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About The Best Worst Man by M.J. O’Shea

It was her special day… but his worst nightmare.

Despite his American background, August O’Leary is the most sought-after wedding planner in London. Naturally, Libby and Edward come to him for a wedding the city will never forget. But Edward is an international businessman, so the details are left to Libby and her best friend – who happens to be the love of August’s life and the one who broke his heart eight years ago: Christopher Burke.

How’s August supposed to pull off the event of the year with Christopher distracting him and old feelings crashing the party uninvited?

Christopher has let money and status dictate his life, but no more. His failure to stand up to others’ expectations of him cost him his future with August – one he’d hoped would include marriage. Now he has to face August’s hurt and anger and prove he’s still the best man to make August happy.

About the Author

Hi everyone! I’m Mj O’Shea:) I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then.

When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano, dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they comes up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping.