A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : American Fairytale (Dreamers #2) by Adriana Herrera

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

The minute I saw this book was available I grabbed it. Book one, American Dreamer, was so outstanding I knew I’d be in for a treat with more. Could the author top her debut book? Oh yes. Milo’s story is highly entertaining and fulfilled my fantasy of having everyone find Mr. Right to make them happy.

Am I sappy? Yes, I am. But the story made me feel so very good I simply want to share the experience with others.

Four young men grew up together in New York City. All sons of Caribbean immigrants, the men are of an age to strike out on their own. In American Dreamer, Nesto pursued his dream by taking his food catering business to Ithaca, where he met the man of his dreams. Now, in book two, we spend time with Camilo Santiago Briggs, or Milo to friends and family, a social worker and project manager in a nonprofit that serves victims of domestic abuse.

When he’s assigned as liaison to Thomas Hughes, a wealthy donor who is contributing to renovating the home for women and to funding future projects, he’s thrilled to be chosen. Until he meets the man and realizes he’s the guy he recently hooked up with at a friend’s wedding, and he wants to crawl into a corner and hide out. But Thomas isn’t going to let that happen. He’s smitten with Milo and plans to pursue him until he’s good and ready to walk away.

Milo is attractive, friendly, driven, and fiercely independent. He’s family-oriented, a hard worker, and takes his responsibilities to his mother, his friends, and his job seriously. Born in the Dominican Republic, Thomas is strong, wealthy, goal-driven, and totally head over heels for Milo. He values Milo’s individuality and refuses to give up before finding a way to make their lives mesh.

Just like with American Dreamer, there’s so much to like about this story—the writing, the pace, the interesting Dominican Republic cultural information, the relationship-building, the secondary characters, and the core message of drawing strength from family and friends.

I’m definitely looking forward to more from this author in future. I can’t wait to read stories devoted to Milo’s best friends, Patrice and Juanpa. I very highly recommend this book to all lovers of MM romance, and especially to those who enjoy stories so rich in cultural heritage that readers are inspired to learn more.

The cover features a close-up of a handsome Lantinx man wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt. It’s very appealing and similar in design to the cover of book one.

Sales Links:   Carina Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: May 20th 2019 by Carina Press
ISBN 1488054061 (ISBN13: 9781488054068)
SeriesDreamers #2

An Alisa Release Day Review: A Cordial Agreement by Ryan Loveless

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Can a wealthy but frustrated CEO and a guilt-ridden stripper find what they need in a consensual, nonsexual whipping boy arrangement?

 

Billionaire mogul Grant Jessup, fifty-three, buries his sexual tastes and the reasons behind them—the stresses of his business empire and family. In contrast, Jim Sieber understands the regret that makes him seek pain and penance. As an asexual averse to erotic touch, Jim sets strict boundaries. But as the relationship evolves, Grant struggles to respect them, and both men realize for their association to continue and perhaps grow into real feelings, they’ll have to explore new ways to satisfy each other.

 

I enjoyed this story and seeing Grant and Jim navigate a relationship with a few hurdles to overcome.  Though Jim and Grant’s arrangement is strictly business it quickly changes to much more.

 

I have enjoyed a few asexual romances before and this was one of the better ones, it didn’t go to romancy but I easily saw how hard it was for Jim to find happiness or even someone he could trust to spend time with and not push him.  I could see how stressed Grant was and how Jim made him want to not be so much though not much changed on that front.  This was short so it didn’t go into how their relationship would evolve but was nice.

 

The cover art by L.C. Chase is nice with a visual of Grant.

 

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 118 pages

Published: May 17, 2019 by Dreamspinner Press

ISBN-13: 978-1-64405-223-5

Edition Language: English

A MelanieM Review: Made in Manhattan (Made In #2) by Ana Newfolk

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Will they get a second chance to rekindle their love?

Isaac was kicked out by his family at a young age.
It took him years of hard work to become his own man. Now he’s helping the LGBTQ youth of Lisbon so they don’t have to go through the same.

Max has a long and troubled past.
An ER nurse in New York City who volunteers at the local Liberty center, he knows first hand what it’s like to lose your family and having to make it on your own.

A chance encounter between the two a year ago has them hoping for a happy ever after, if not for the distance between them, but when Isaac takes a temporary work placement in Manhattan, the two men have an opportunity to find what their love is made of.

Will they make it, or will life’s tests tear them apart for good?

Made In Manhattan is the second instalment in the Made In series by Ana Newfolk. It is a standalone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger. Fair warning, there will be naked man-parts touching, a touch of angst, and the claws of an overprotective cat.

Made in Manhattan is 62k words and features the same main characters from Made In New York – A Christmas Short Story.
You don’t have to read it, but you may want to find out how Max and Isaac first met.

I first fell in love with this universe and characters with the first story in the series Made in Portugal.  And while the blurb and tours may indicate that this is a standalone story, imo, I don’t feel that is entirely true.  So many of the characters and foundation for this novel rests in the first story. You need that knowledge of who these people referenced here are, well as all the events,locations, and even youth centers visited.  These two stories are intimately connected as both couples and casts travel back and forth from Manhattan to Portugal repeatedly, mixing past storylines with this one, and even future ones in novels to come.  So yes, not a standalone.

However,Made in Manhattan (Made In #2) continues to enrich and layer this series universe being created by Ana Newfolk.  This time the couple is  Isaac and Max, two people we met in Made in Portugal.  Both are men who were tossed out of their families for being gay but with different results immediately afterward, the revelations of which will unfold here in this story.  We know Isaac’s having seen it happen in Made in Portugal.  That leaves Made In Manhattan to be Max’s story. His past history that returns, his turbulent romance with Isaac, and many other serious themes that run through this story.

In addition to a complicated romance, Ana Newfolk deals with issues of feelings of abandonment, domestic violence, homelessness, shelter living, even family court.  And the author does so with a realistic eye towards a system that doesn’t always work with the best interests of the child.  While that seems like a lot to fold into a story, it all works.  Especially when using two separate countries, as Portugal and the US, specifically Manhattan where the other “sister” LGBT youth center is located are linked, not just by the two operations but by families and couples.

While I was missing the lushness of the Portuguese countryside and culture that I got in the first story, the complexity and suspense built into Max’s story made up for that.  However it sounds like a return to Portugal is coming in the next novel.  And I can’t wait.

All of these people are slowly feeling like family and a return to the series means seeing them all once more as they all make appearances in each novel. Made in Manhattan (Made In #2) by Ana Newfolk is a warm hearted, sweet, layered contemporary romance, much like the one before.  I highly recommend them both.

 

Cover Artist: Rhys Athanasiadis-Lawrence, Ethereal Elaine.  love that cover.  Its exactly as I picture the characters and its eye catching to boot.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 221 pages
Published January 15th 2019
ASINB07MT34MSG
Edition Language English
Series Made In :

Made in Portugal

Made in Paris: A Christmas Short Story

Made in Manhattan

A MelanieM Review: Chicken Soup by Mel Bossa

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Though Jimmy’s ill and isn’t getting any better, he hopes to have a bit of fun during Pride weekend. When he meets Nolan, a young dancer in the parade, Jimmy takes a chance on making himself vulnerable for the first time in years.

What Jimmy doesn’t expect is how strong Nolan will make him feel with a simple gesture of support.

Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.

Chicken Soup by Mel Bossa demonstrates exactly how precisely a writer can build a tiny portrait of a man who has lost all hope of a future in every respect, despair and depression slowly weighing him down by his daily new illness and as the story eventually lets on, his  varying viral count.

While we don’t know specifics, we are lefts enough clues to put together a vague past history of a man soon to see his 40’s birthday, alone, even among his friends during Pride weekend.

Mel Bossa does a beautiful job with Jimmy and we feel his desolation of the spirit that suddenly lifts when he meets a 27 year old bank teller from Nova Scotia pursuing his dream of becoming a ballet dancer.  What follows is a sweet, tear inducing tale of recognition, connection, and of hope.

This is such a gem of a short story, certainly a HFN.   But its message is clear and life affirming, the characters well defined for such a brief story and the ending left me sniffling.  Yes, I certainly recommend this lovely story to everyone in need of an uplifting tale to read.

Cover art by Written Ink Designs:  I get that its branding a series of short stories but this shows its short failures.  It’s in no way appropriate for this story which is due something far better.

Sales Links:  JMS Books LLC | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 14 pages
Published March 2nd 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ASINB07PWTZ9B

Release Blitz and Giveaway for It’s In My Blood (Criminal Delights: Obsession) by Sean Azinsalt

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Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited
 
Length: 62,000 words approx.
 
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
 
Blurb
 

Death eventually comes for us all. But what if there’s a way for older people to regain their youth? To stay a step ahead of the grim reaper?


Turning 40 was the last straw for me. It’s practically 60 in gay years and I wasn’t ready for dentures yet, so I came to Youthology — a program that injects clients with blood transfusions from young, fit and healthy donors.


I chose Nick.


Handsome. Masculine. And more importantly, young.


I thought I hit the lottery, until my life started to change for the worst. Not even the top medical experts can explain what happened to me. From the moment Nick’s blood flooded into my veins, I stopped being me, and I became something new; something dangerous and deadly.


I became my donor.


His obsessions are mine now. His darkest desires, his dreams, his needs, and nightmares are all a part of me, and I don’t want to let them go.


I embrace them and the beautiful boy who haunts both of our dreams.


My blood pact was sealed the moment I entered Youthology.


I never thought I’d become a killer.


This book is part of CRIMINAL DELIGHTS. Each novel can be read as a standalone and contains a dark M/M romance.


Warning: These books are for adult readers who enjoy stories where lines between right and wrong get blurry. High heat, twisted and tantalizing, these are not for the fainthearted.

 

Author Bio


Sean Azinsalt is the pen name for Shane K Morton.


Shane lives in Studio City, CA with his husband Jody and their fur baby Slayer. His first novel, The Trouble With Off-Campus Housing was published in 2016. When not writing, Shane can be found at a film festival or performing cabaret somewhere in a dark dive bar in LA.


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Retro Review Tour for Made In Manhattan by Ana Newfolk (excerpt and giveaway)

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RETRO REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: Made In Manhattan

Author: Ana Newfolk

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Rhys Athanasiadis-Lawrence, Ethereal Elain

Release Date: January 15, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s: Second chance

Heat Rating: 5 flames   

Length:  62 000 words

Add on Goodreads

Tagline: Lisbon and Manhattan are only a heartbeat apart

 

Blurb

Will they get a second chance to rekindle their love?

Isaac was kicked out by his family at a young age.

It took him years of hard work to become his own man. Now he’s helping the LGBTQ youth of Lisbon so they don’t have to go through the same.

Max has a long and troubled past.

An ER nurse in New York City who volunteers at the local Liberty center, he knows first hand what it’s like to lose your family and having to make it on your own.

A chance encounter between the two a year ago has them hoping for a happy ever after, if not for the distance between them, but when Isaac takes a temporary work placement in Manhattan, the two men have an opportunity to find what their love is made of.

Will they make it, or will life’s tests tear them apart for good?

Made In Manhattan is the fourth instalment in the Made In series by Ana Newfolk. It is a standalone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger. Fair warning, there will be naked man-parts touching, a touch of angst, and the claws of an overprotective cat.

Made in Manhattan is 62k words and features the same main characters from Made In New York – A Christmas Short Story.

You don’t have to read it, but you may want to find out how Max and Isaac first met.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Excerpt

Max

Lisbon, June

“I missed you so much.”

Isaac pushed me away, his eyes tight and piercing.

“What do you mean, you missed me so much? If you’d missed me so much then why didn’t you—”

“Isaac.” I put my hands on either side of his face so he would have no choice but to hear me out. “Can we talk, please?”

Fate really was a bitch.

I didn’t dare break eye contact for fear this was all a dream.

The club was packed so when someone elbowed me as they were trying to get past the motion jolted me into action, and with one step forward I wrapped Isaac in my arms, my face burrowing in the space between his neck and shoulder, his mass of dark curls soft against my skin.

He froze for a moment but then his arms came around me. As his body relaxed into the embrace, I swear a sob came from his chest.

He smelled of fresh pine; manly, woody, and so familiar it was making me dizzy.

I wanted to stay with Isaac like this for as long as I possibly could, which turned out to be not long at all because I had to ruin the moment with those five words.

He let out a long breath as if he was reminding himself we were in a club surrounded by people, and sat down at the table. I wanted to sit next to him, but it would be easier to keep eye contact if we were facing each other.

It had taken two days last Christmas for Isaac to do what many had tried and failed. He’d unpeeled the many layers of protection I’d built around my heart before hopping on a plane to return to his home in Portugal.

Six months later and three thousand miles away from my home in New York, I found myself right back where I’d been on the night I’d saved him from a fire, feeling like I’d been punched in the gut.

Except this time it was worse because I already knew what those eyes looked like when he smiled, what those lips looked like when they were all plump from kissing, and what his mere presence could do to my heart.

I should have known this would happen. There hadn’t been a day since I’d booked my flight to Portugal that I hadn’t thought of him. If I was honest, there hadn’t been a single day since I last saw him that he hadn’t teased my thoughts.

The first time I’d looked into his eyes, after I’d saved him from the fire, he’d been barely conscious, sitting against me on the pavement outside the LGBT Youth Center. All I’d seen was his wild curly hair, but when I’d pushed it away from his face and seen him open his eyes, he’d literally taken my breath away.

The second time I’d had the chance to look into his eyes from a close distance I’d seen it all, and it had been just before he’d pulled me into a kiss on top of the Empire State Building.

 

 

About the Author

Ana Newfolk was born in Portugal where she grew up surrounded by sunshine and countryside.  She has always had a deep love of reading, and ever since she can remember her favorite presents and treats have always been books. She would often be found in her not-so-secret spot reading her favorite adventure books (when she was younger) and romance novels (when she discovered boys). At 20 years old she moved to the UK where she has lived since.

In 2015 Ana stumbled across her first MM romance novel by chance, and she was hooked. She loves reading about men falling in love, hard, fast and ever so sweetly. This new found love for LGBTQ+ romance has opened a new world for Ana, and in 2017 she decided to finally listen to the voices in her head and write them down.

In addition to the time she spends reading and writing Ana has a full-time job that involves meeting lots of people with interesting stories to tell. She also loves baking as much as she loves watching people eat what she creates, much to the delight of family, friends and work colleagues alike.

You can follow Ana on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or through her blog for up to date news of her book releases.

 

 

Social Media Links

Blog/Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Pinterest

 

 

Giveaway

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Looking for Your Next Romance? Check Out the New Release Blitz for A Cordial Agreement by Ryan Loveless (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: A Cordial Agreement

Author: Ryan Loveless

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: LC Chase

Ryan Loveless Artist: Alexandria Corza of Seeing Static

Release Date: May 17, 2019

Heat Level: 1 – No Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 118 pages

Genre: Romance, BDSM, age gap, gay, asexual, bisexual, contemporary, rich/poor

Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

Can a wealthy but frustrated CEO and a guilt-ridden stripper find what they need in a consensual, nonsexual whipping boy arrangement?

Billionaire mogul Grant Jessup, fifty-three, buries his sexual tastes and the reasons behind them—the stresses of his business empire and family. In contrast, Jim Sieber understands the regret that makes him seek pain and penance. As an asexual averse to erotic touch, Jim sets strict boundaries. But as the relationship evolves, Grant struggles to respect them, and both men realize for their association to continue and perhaps grow into real feelings, they’ll have to explore new ways to satisfy each other.

Excerpt

JIM SIEBER kept his attention on the television in front of him, pretending to be engrossed in the telenovela playing. He didn’t need to be fluent in Spanish to know Ricardo was in deep shit with Sofia. Occasionally he caught a glimpse of the bartender in his peripheral vision and doubled down on his TV viewing. Behind him, a steady slap of leather against bare skin pulled a rich, throaty holler from a man. Jim sat at the corner of the bar, loosely surrounding his double whiskey with his long fingers. He sensed a few stares, but people left him alone. He’d figured they would after his first time when a man had snaked his hand around Jim’s neck and called him boy. Jim had twisted the man’s thumb so far back he’d almost broken it. “Not your boy,” Jim had said, after he’d forced the man to his knees in pain. Evidently, word had gotten around. No one had approached since.

It was his own damn fault. He didn’t know why he’d come to an S&M club if he wasn’t going to get involved. He hadn’t come to watch. Hell, he wasn’t watching, not anything except the telenovela. The beatings going on behind him could have been happening on another planet. But he had to stop himself from flinching with every stroke he heard, and curled his fingers into his glass with every scream. He’d come here because he’d wondered if pain would make him forget. No, not forget. He’d come here because he’d wondered if pain would absolve him. Sure, he could have tried boxing or started a bar fight, but he didn’t want to be arrested, and his boss got huffy about facial injuries. A respectable S&M club had seemed like his best option. Except for the red flag that Jim hadn’t considered, and which had stopped him from taking action. As the subs walked past after their sessions, hugged against their Doms, he knew why he could never do that. Aftercare involved touching. It might turn sexual. Jim’s skin prickled at the thought, a march of ants that he couldn’t shake off.

So he stared at the television and talked to no one.

“Hey. Hey!” Jim jumped and blinked. The bartender was talking to him. He thumbed to a set of stairs leading up to a balcony and a single door. “Boss wants to see ya.”

“Boss?” Jim asked.

“Wouldn’t keep her waiting,” the bartender said.

Jim looked around, expecting to find some muscle waiting to haul him up, but he saw a clear path to the stairs. “Okay.” He considered his glass.

“I’ll keep it for you, if you want it later.” The bartender pulled it off the bar. So that settled it. Jim headed for the stairs. At the top, he knocked. The door flew open. A woman with an olive complexion and straight black hair reaching to the middle of her back beckoned him in. He’d expected leather, lace, and high heels. She wore smart black slacks and a maroon shirt tailored to hug her waist and not strain at her bust. The amount of cleavage on view from the two open buttonholes would have been acceptable in any corporate boardroom. Instead of heels, she wore what looked like bedroom slippers. Not the sexy kind, either. More like the “home alone with a Harlequin novel and a mug of hot chocolate” kind. He relaxed instantly. The image reminded him of many pleasant nights spent with his mother when he was a child. With almost nothing between her feet and the floor, the top of her head barely reached Jim’s nipples. As soon as she closed the door, the sounds from downstairs disappeared.

“Soundproofing?” Jim asked.

The woman smiled and extended her hand. “I couldn’t concentrate without it. I’m Tanya Wyatt. You can call me Tanya or Miss Wyatt, whichever you’re more comfortable with.”

“Jim Sieber.” He left the implication that she could likewise call him whatever she wished unsaid. They shook hands.

“Come sit down, Mr. Sieber. Take the seat of your choice.”

He followed her back to her desk. As she sat in her chair, he noticed his options—a straight-backed wooden chair or a pillow on the floor. He chose the chair. If Miss Wyatt noticed his fraction of a second of hesitation, she didn’t comment.

She folded her hands and made a serious expression.

He waited.

“Mr. Sieber, when a new person comes to the club and doesn’t engage in activities, whether that is actively, voyeuristically, or simply socially, for a week, we understand. This is a new experience for them, and we appreciate their need to acclimate at their own pace. Some people can take two or three weeks before they are ready to take the next step.”

Jim’s throat tightened. “So?”

“You have been coming for nine weeks, and aside from nearly breaking Henry’s hand, you haven’t spoken to anyone.”

“So, you called me up here because I haven’t made any friends?”

“I’ll put this bluntly. My staff and clients are starting to wonder if you’re police. Are you the police, Mr. Sieber?”

“No, ma’am, I’m not.”

“Then what can I do to help you achieve your goals here? Because unless you’re here to improve your Spanish, I’m guessing that you’re not getting what you need out of your visits.”

Jim wished he’d brought his drink along. He stared down at his hands, which had subconsciously assumed the position like they were gripping a glass. “It’s hard to explain.”

“I want to help you.”

On the cusp of voicing his needs, he felt stupid. “I should go. I’m sorry. I won’t come back.”

“Truffle?” Miss Wyatt asked. Jim blinked in surprise as she opened a box on her desk and offered a tray of cocoa-dusted chocolate drops to him.

“Thank you.” He took one and popped it in his mouth before he could think about it.

As he chewed, she spoke. “People come here for a variety of reasons. They aren’t all what you might suspect. So, if you’re thinking that you’re out of place because your reasons don’t match what you believe they should, believe me when I tell you that you are wrong. Look at me.” She gestured at herself. “I’m a heterosexual woman who owns and operates an exclusively male S&M club. What are my motivations? Why do I do this? I bet they aren’t what you think.”

Jim wasn’t sure if she wanted an answer. He stopped chewing to let the chocolate dissolve on his tongue.

“Delectable, isn’t it? A good friend goes to Belgium on business. He always brings me a box. He’s a considerate man. We won’t talk about his personal life.” She offered a bland smile that Jim interpreted as “I’m sure you know what I mean.”

“Is he a client here?” Jim asked.

“He’s a dear friend.” She smiled again. “Another?”

Jim shook his head. “No, thank you.”

“I’ll have one.” She closed her eyes as she chewed. Jim watched her jaw and throat move. She didn’t seem to be putting on a show. For a moment, he wondered if she’d forgotten him.

“I, um, I’m not sure I’m comfortable here.”

Miss Wyatt opened her eyes with the laziness of a cat waking. “In the office or in the club?”

“Here.” Jim gestured, taking in everything. “Everything’s so sexual. If you knew what I do for a living, you’d think I’m weird to say that, but….”

“But sexual is not what you want from your experience here,” she finished.

He nodded.

“So what do you want? Pain? You said not sexual, so I assume you don’t want pleasure?”

“Sex isn’t pleasurable for me.” He cringed. He hadn’t meant to share that.

“Mr. Sieber, if you’ve suffered a trauma and you’re here to work through it, I have to advise you against this. I can direct you to other resources—”

“I wasn’t traumatized. I’m not interested in sex. I don’t like… being touched like that. It makes me uncomfortable.” That put it mildly.

“Well. You might be the first asexual we’ve had here that I know of.”

“I don’t sign autographs.”

She laughed. “All right, you’ve explained why your goals aren’t sexual. Let’s talk about why you’re asking for pain. Are you a masochist?”

“No, ma’am.” He dug his heels into the carpet as she unraveled him.

“But you want to be hurt.”

She sounded sure. He glanced up, wondering if he should put up a front and demand to know why she’d jumped to that conclusion instead of asking if he sought to hurt someone. Her thoughtful expression shut him down. She looked ready to explain his life for him. And worse, she would be right.

“Yes,” he said, instead of the protest he’d halfheartedly intended. “I want to be hurt.” He said it aloud, slowly, to hear himself.

“Why?”

One look at Miss Wyatt told him she already knew why. She wanted him to say it.

“Because I deserve it.” He swallowed.

She kept eye contact and gave a small encouraging nod.

“Because I’m guilty of something and I… I want to be absolved.”

“Mr. Sieber, are you a fugitive?”

“No, nothing like that.” He realized what he sounded like, talking of guilt and absolution with such fervor.

He fell back in relief when her lips twitched into a smile. She reached across the desk. He grasped her hand.

“Mr. Sieber, I give you my word that I will match you to a client who will respect your boundaries. As for the absolution you desire, I’m afraid you’ll only find that if you’re willing to let yourself.”

“Thank you.” He began to shake with relief. He’d have what he needed soon. Everything would be okay.

“Now. Let’s go downstairs so I can introduce you properly to our bartender, Noel.” She pulled a pair of heels from beneath her desk and quickly swapped her slippers for them. “You have a lot of paperwork ahead of you, young man, and you’re going to need a soda to help your nerves.” He jumped when she touched his shoulder. “This is a big step.”

“I’m ready.” He stood up and walked to the door, where he waited for her. “Thank you, Miss Wyatt.”

THREE MONTHS Later:

Tanya Wyatt never failed to add excitement to his day, so Grant Jessup had allowed himself a rare nonbusiness lunch when she’d invited him out. Of course Rory had scowled at him. His leaving meant she needed to cancel a meeting on his account, but it was a one-on-one and it involved spreadsheets. Frankly, Grant was glad to be free of it. He still had heartburn and acid reflux from the day before after two acidic meals, one featuring citrus and the other tomato sauce. It had worsened overnight.

A new box of chocolate truffles sat on the table between Grant and Tanya. Grant had dutifully handed them over upon arrival, kicking off a conversation about his most recent European business trip. Then, when the waitress carried away their entree plates, Tanya slipped the truffles into her bag. Recognizing the significance of the action, Grant glanced around for eavesdropping ears.

“So, what’s the occasion?” he asked.

“There’s a young man I want you to meet. He started coming into the club about five months ago. I haven’t been able to match him yet. He’s breathtaking but asexual. He only wants to be beaten, but the Doms I’ve paired him with get handsy. It’s counterproductive to his needs.”

“So you think I could keep my hands off him?”

“You have a considerable amount of restraint. You are possibly my last hope. Plus, given what you’re currently looking for, I think he’d be a good match for you as well.”

Grant considered it. “How attractive?”

“Greek god.”

“Mercury or Hercules?”

“Narcissus.”

Grant arched an eyebrow as his heart clenched with a mix of youthful guilt and nostalgia. Tanya had touched a nerve she couldn’t possibly know about. Unless… she’d been to Grant’s home. She could easily have seen the painting of Narcissus that hung in Melanie’s former office. Melanie had left it and a number of other paintings behind after the divorce. Tanya might have guessed it belonged to Grant.

“You’d trust me to work out my frustration on his ass? I know how protective you are of your clients’ bottoms, Tanya.”

“Oh, you won’t touch him until you and I have spent at least forty hours together and I’m positive you know how to recognize when your temper isn’t in check.”

Grant gave a light snort. “Please. I didn’t get this rich by losing my cool.”

“That’s my point. You’re so good at hiding when you’re about to boil over that I wonder if you even know when you’ve reached the point before it’s too late. I’m not about to put a whip or any other implement in your hand before you’ve proven yourself to me, especially considering your reasons for doing this. You can keep your temper in business interactions, but you’re talking about family.”

Grant sighed. He didn’t care for Tanya’s methods, but he respected them, and if this plan worked out, it would meet a need he’d been looking to fill for a few years. “Fair enough. I suppose you’ll want to start this training the usual way.”

“Naturally.”

“You know, I think it’s hilarious how you’re protective of everyone’s ass but mine.”

“Darling, no Dom gets in my club without getting whipped by Miss Wyatt. You know that. If you can’t take it, there’s no reason I should let you dish it out.”

He sniffed. “I don’t see why one needs to give repeated proof. You’re a perverted woman.”

She grinned. “If you made yourself more of a regular, I wouldn’t have to keep reassuring myself.”

“Come on, Tanya. I can’t exactly be seen there, no matter how discreet you insist everyone is. My family is already in the tabloids more than I’d like.”

“I know. So, I’ll see you at mine at ten tonight?”

“Fine.” He dug into his pocket for a pillbox and pulled out an omeprazole tablet. “When do I meet this young man?”

“Heartburn or ulcer?” Tanya asked. She nodded at the tablet as Grant put it into his mouth and swallowed with a bit of water. It wouldn’t be as effective with food already in his stomach, but it was better than not taking it.

“Heartburn, but ulcer is around the corner I’m sure.”

“What does the doctor say?”

“Says I have too much stress in my life and I need to cut back.”

“Are you going to listen to him?”

He smiled. “Why do you think I take so many trips to Europe?”

“Grant, I know you take pride in your job, but—”

“It’s not a job. It’s a career. It’s the family business that I built on my father’s framework, so whatever you’re about to say, stop.”

Tanya put her hand up and changed the subject back. “He works at a strip club in upper Manhattan. I don’t want you to meet him yet, but you can send one of your spies to check him out.”

“And by ‘spy’ you mean Rory?”

She smiled. “I do. See you tonight, babe.”

Grant sighed, already anticipating the pain in his ass the evening would be.

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Meet the Author

Ryan Loveless is the author of numerous M/M romance novels and short stories. She is honored to be recognized as a Rainbow Book Award winner (several titles), an Epic eBook Awards finalist (In Me an Invincible Summer), and a Florida Author and Publisher Association bronze medalist (Ethan, the young adult adaptation of Ethan, Who Loved Carter). She lives in New York with her family, a sentence that brings her great joy to write.

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