A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: My Fair Brady by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4. 5 stars out of 5

KC Wells took an old classic—My Fair Lady—one of my all-time favorites—and created a Dreamspun Desires book that gave me all the feels I’d expect from a story with that theme done in the MM romance genre.

In this instance, Brady Donovan is the best PA any exec could hope for. He’s bright, cute, anal about being organized, and anticipates his boss’s every need. Jordan Wolf couldn’t ask for a better assistant, and the sweet, smart nerd with his dark-framed eyeglasses is cute too. When Brady is suddenly no longer there to meet his needs, it takes a few days, but Jordan finally goes to Brady’s place to check on the guy. There he finds a Brady so ill he can’t take care of himself and Jordan’s nurturing side comes out. Added to that, getting to know Brady in a different way tweaks something in Jordan’s heart and he no longer only sees his PA when he looks at the young man.

Not long after that, Jordan asks Brady if he’d be his plus one at a weekend party in the Hamptons, and when he agrees, Jordan treats him to a day at the spa followed by a shopping trip that awakens Jordan’s hidden desires and gives Brady hope that his attraction may not be one-sided after all. Get the picture? Of course, this is based on a well-worn trope, but KC Wells infuses it with new life, and I was transported to my happy place where the smile never leaves my face as I engage with two very nice men who needed a subtle push to get together. 

Are there angsty moments? Definitely, but they’re not overdone. And is there a nasty surprise over the weekend—a protagonist determined to break them up? Well, yes, but there are also friends who won’t let that happen, and there’s the bloom of new love and open communication which seals the foundation of their chance for love.

I totally enjoyed getting to know these characters and was caught up in their lives within the first 10% of the story. The long, slow love scenes were explicit and yet more romantic than a quick hop into bed. KC Wells does this so well. A host of secondary characters round out the cast and add enough to the story without taking it over.

All in all, a very satisfying and heartwarming read. MM romance at its best. 

The cover by Alexandria Corza features a handsome young man, wearing glasses, a button-up shirt and a bowtie. He’s the perfect representation of Brady and the bright colorful cover is very attractive.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 226 pages
Expected publication: February 19th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB07NN5GSDX
Edition Language English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Truth Will Out (Merrychurch Mysteries #1) by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Jonathon de Mountford’s visit to Merrychurch village to stay with his uncle Dominic gets off to a bad start when Dominic fails to appear at the railway station. But when Jonathon finds him dead in his study, apparently as the result of a fall, everything changes. For one thing, Jonathon is the next in line to inherit the manor house. For another, he’s not so sure it was an accident, and with the help of Mike Tattersall, the owner of the village pub, Jonathon sets out to prove his theory—if he can concentrate long enough without getting distracted by the handsome Mike.

They discover an increasingly long list of people who had reason to want Dominic dead. And when events take an unexpected turn, the amateur sleuths are left bewildered. It doesn’t help that the police inspector brought in to solve the case is the last person Mike wants to see, especially when they are told to keep their noses out of police business.

In Jonathon’s case, that’s like a red rag to a bull…

In the spirit of Dame Agatha Christie, KC Wells delivers a mystery worthy of the great British authors who preceded her. And no sex on page! Imagine that. I actually liked the fact that sex didn’t distract from the story. Yes, there’s a romance, but it’s secondary to the mystery.

There’s a large age gap between Jonathan, who doesn’t have good luck with romance, and Mike, who’s older and doesn’t have much opportunity to meet new men in Merrychurch. But they grow to like each other, and they work together to solve the mystery of Jonathan’s uncle’s death. Mike is a former cop so has the skills and Jonathan has the determination and persistence needed to eventually find the culprit.

Did I guess? Yes! The author gave us clues, but it’s not easy to figure out and it was likely my love of Poirot and Miss Marple that helped me guess correctly. Since this is mystery #1 in a new series, I expect we’ll see more of Jonathon and Mike in future. At least, I hope we do. Mystery buffs should enjoy this one, for sure.

Cover Artist: Kanaxa.  The cover is done in sepia tones with both MCs pictured—one superimposed over the shadowed image of the other. To be honest, though it may represent the MCs and setting, I don’t care for the color and it doesn’t stand out at all.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 1st edition, 204 pages
Expected publication: October 30th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640806290
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series Merrychurch Mysteries #1

An Alisa Audio Review: BFF by K.C. Wells and Michael Mola (Narrator)

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Rating:  5 stars out of 5

I’m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.

I met Matt in second grade, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what’s really amazing? After all these years, we’re still the best of friends.

Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I’m scared to death of what he’ll say. If I’ve got this all wrong, I’ll lose him—forever.

Oh, this was such a sweet story.  Matt and David have been best friends forever and really have been in love with each other for just about as long.  I loved been able to hear about their journey to discovering this and the life they have built together.

We get to see snippets of their lives growing up but it was the important moments that helped shape who they are.  It’s clear that these two just didn’t realize how they feel about each other until David has a major health scare.  Even though the story was told from David’s point of view he really describes Matt perfectly, it make it easy to understand and love both of these characters.

Michael Mola did a great job narrating this story.  The different voices also helped with keeping track of the story and I think they were perfect for the characters.  I could easily feel the characters emotions through the way he portrayed them.

Cover art by Reese Dante is perfect and I love the different pictures of Matt and David together.

Sales Links:  Audible | Amazon |  iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audiobook, 5hrs 31mins
Published: September 11, 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review : Truth & Betrayal by KC Wells

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

When I began to read this story in the morning, little did I know I would not be able to put it down until the last page—and that was somewhere past midnight. This story was so interesting, so riveting, and so beautifully written that I kept reading throughout the day to the exclusion of everything else in my life.

Character-driven, this emotional tale takes us from the time Jake learns his older brother Caleb has died in a traffic accident through the next year as Jake discovers that he’s not the only one with a Caleb-sized hole in his life. Through Caleb’s death, he learns more about his brother as he meets both his partner and his friends who lead Jake on a journey that reveals details of the last seven years of Caleb’s life. Some details are sweet, and some are shocking, but they help to bring him closure. They also give him the willingness to accept who he is and move forward with a new strength to his convictions. He falters and stumbles along the way but ultimately with support of his new friends, he discovers the love of his life, a man who can be both friend and companion, supporting him, loving him, and giving him hope for a bright future together—that man is Liam, Caleb’s former lover.

Without giving away spoilers, it’s tough to describe the full scope of what takes place, but I must say one of the things that stood out clearly to me was the fact that the story wasn’t rushed. Details weren’t glossed over. Situations were realistic. And the pace was unhurried. This story literally unfolded, page by page, and each page was filled with dialogue. To me, an author who “shows” the action rather than “tells” the action can engage the reader and pull them into the story more easily. Allowing the characters to come to life with words and thoughts through dialogue, text messages, and email conveys what’s actually happening at the time and adds to the overall enjoyment.

Ms. Wells also covers sensitive topics throughout the story. Liam is black and gay and Caleb and Jake come from a rural, predominately white Southern town. Several gay couples Jake meets while visiting Caleb’s friends in Atlanta have an open relationship. He learns intimate details of Caleb’s relationship with Liam that shock him. And he learns the pros and cons of PrEP and bareback sex for men in a committed relationship. The author brings a sensitive approach to these topics but is clear and concise in explaining a variety of views.

I believe this story is the best KC Wells has written, to date. I have my favorites as I’ve read almost all of her work, but this touched my heart in a special way. I don’t recall being so captivated by a story in a long time. It’s the love that shines through here—love for a brother, a lover, a parent, a family, a friend, and more. I suppose I could go on and on, and I could go into detail about Jake’s discovery of love and Liam’s discovery of the kind of love that lasts a lifetime, but it’s best if I leave the details for the next reader. And I hope there are many. This is a story that deserves to be shared. And it’s most definitely going on my Best of 2018 list. I very highly recommend it to all lovers of MM romance.

The cover by Meredith Russell perfectly depicts both MCs, exactly as described in the story.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 403 pages
Published August 3rd 2018
ASINB07G1BWKXF
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lucy Audiobook Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells and Narrator: Daniel Henning

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Nate and Dylan are the joined at the hip kind of friends.  They have been best friends, confidants and support for each other since they were young children. When they get together with their group of friends, they still mostly pay attention to each other, although they don’t realize it.  It is during a night out with what they though would be the group that they end up going further than even the closest friends would.  The blurb is a little misleading because it states “…until the night they share a drunken kiss…” when in actuality it is a drunken handjob that starts it all.  While that part goes just fine, the aftermath not so much.  Nate reacts badly, “Okay, Dylan got that Nate had to be embarrassed as he**, but still, to treat him like some cheap trick…”  I felt bad for Dylan and agreed, I wouldn’t have spent the night on Nate’s couch after that either but they were both just so confused.

I felt like they should have had a little inclination, since they did think of each other as cute, but it is so easy to be oblivious! Their friends, however, were not clueless. “You don’t think there’s something going on here?  Because we sure do. Think about it. When you get good news, who’s the first person you call?  When you’re feeling low, who do you call? Are you telling us that you’ve never noticed how your life revolves around him?”  That takes some thinking.

There really isn’t any problem or angst here.  There is a little tension with a conversation between Nate and his mom but that’s about it.  Otherwise it is a very sweet romance with both of them coming to the realization that they love a man pretty easily.  There is a little concern about losing their friendship but it’s minimal.  Their friends are completely accepting and supportive.

This is the sequel to K.C. Wells Out of the Shadows, which I did not read but didn’t feel as though I were missing any vital information.   One minor peeve was the use of “He did NOT just do that” or “He did NOT just say that.”  It was only five times but, and maybe it was because I was listening to the story, it caught my attention.

Something I definitely liked about this was that the first blow job wasn’t perfect. There was choking and learning about gag reflex.  There was Nate nearly getting kneed in the face and then being unable to work a sixty-nine because he was too distracted by what Dylan’s mouth was doing.  I loved that while both Nate and Dylan went to gay friends about sex, it was Nate the teacher who pulled out a notebook to take notes and who, at a sex shop, bought books.

The narrator, Daniel Henning, did a good job with inflection though could have used a bit more differentiating voices.  Sometimes when I am listening I would lose the thread of who was talking but it didn’t happen often. I liked the narration overall and would listen to this narrator again.

Cover art by Brook Albrecht is very cute and fit the feel of the book.  Two men looking playful with two hearts worked well to capture Nate and Dylan.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 3 pages
Published June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press (first published February 14th 2018)
Original TitleBromantically Yours
ASINB07DGG8YG8
Edition LanguageEnglish

A MelanieM Release Day Review: BFF by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I’m about to do something huge, and it could change… everything.

I met Matt in second grade, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We went to the same schools, studied at the same college. When we both got jobs in the same town, we shared an apartment. And when my life took an unexpected turn, Matt was there for me. Every milestone in my life, he was there to share it. And what’s really amazing? After all these years, we’re still the best of friends.

Which brings me to this fragile, heart-stopping moment: I want to tell him I love him, really love him, but I’m scared to death of what he’ll say. If I’ve got this all wrong, I’ll lose him—forever.

I’m having a terrific contemporary fiction week! BFF by KC Wells is a warmhearted, feel good story of discovery, friendship, and love.  It’s  got a sort of tone to it that caught me off guard that I attribute to its format.  I almost had to read the   first couple of paragraphs twice to make sure  it was part of the story and not an author’s forward.  Well, it was an author’s forward.  But it  didn’t come from K.C. Wells but rather from David, our narrator of this story.

You see BFF is the coming of age, coming out story that charts two men’s friendship from their first meeting as second graders where they became the Dynamic Duo, through high school, all through roommates at college and after graduation as they start their various careers…always together.  As the best of friends.

But David is recounting it at the beginning of novel, he’s writing it all down as a story, complete with notes and reflections on his behavior towards Matt at the time (hindsight is everything).  It gives the book an immediate and intimate feel as his thoughts and feelings come tumbling out along with the memories.  Through David’s eyes, both Matt and their families come alive as does their long, blended history together.  If the two boys were always side by side so too were their parents (and siblings), matching them for support and love, even in the toughest of times.

Oddly I’m talking financially here.  This wonderful story has these families carry with them many of the strains most modern families do….job security, moving, eduction issues, and learning disabilities.  Even sex education and tolerance in the nicest of ways.  What it doesn’t have?  Extreme angst of any sort.  This is a gentle, moving story of a journey of a friendship and a deep love  towards a final revelation and HEA.

KC Wells really got to me.  Even when she had David remarking on his own dialog as a kid (too smart) in his story, to his interactions with Matt throughout the years, I was there with them, throughly invested in their relationship, their happiness.  That included their families.  I tell you I loved both sets of parents and when you read this story, you will too.

Honestly, that blurb gives you one idea of the plot line. But the story is so much more than that.  It’s bigger, warmer, decades in these mens lives and a touching, joyous journey to love.  Trust me, I really didn’t want to let them go.  I highly recommend this story.  It left me smiling and with a happy heart.  Doesn’t that sound like a grand afternoon?

Cover art:  Reese Dante.  This cover is perfect in every way.  That’s David and Matt and an importation location.  Love it.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: June 5th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781640801004
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lila Release Day Review: Bromantically Yours by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A friends-to-lovers novella that came from Out of the Shadows, because Nate and Dylan needed a story….

Nate and Dylan have been pals for a long time. So what if their friends think they’ve got a little bromance going? Doesn’t mean there’s anything more to it than that, right? And even if there is, Nate and Dylan are totally oblivious….

Until the night they share a drunken kiss—and everything changes.

Bromantically Yours was an unexpected surprise. I didn’t know this story was related to Out of the Shadows until the moment I started reading it. It can be read as a standalone but having the background of Nate’s and Dylan’s friendship complements the reading experience. It gives the reader an extra in into their relationship that’s not available with most short stories. Also, it’s good to see Christian and Josh again.

I liked the slow start to their transition from bromance to romance. It was unexpected for them, but they didn’t let their new feelings get in the way of their friendship. They asked questions and took the time, not only to date but to get to know the other’s expectations and fears.

It was funny, sweet, and smexy. The short length didn’t take away from the character development or the story plot. It’s simple, traditional, and nothing out of the ordinary but it works perfectly for the holiday.

The cover by Brooke Albrecht shows a perfect representation of Nate and Dylan. It is a cute Valentine’s cover for a sweet short story.

Sale Links: DreamspinnerAmazon | NOOK

ebook, 97 pages
Published: February 14, 2018, by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781640805347
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Silk (A Material World #3) by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

My favorite of the series so far, in this story—which can easily be read as a standalone, by the way—a young male escort and his older client discover much more than a surface attraction when they first down and dirty between the blue silk sheets. 

Matt Dorning is twenty-seven and works as a waiter at his parents’ restaurant. He’s also an underwear model and an escort.  Does he have to do the escort work? Well, the extra income goes a long way toward his independence in living on his own in New York City, plus he loves sex so it’s win-win in his book.  The personable biracial man has plenty of friends, a hot body, and a keen intellect.  He’s on track to take over his father’s restaurant business—something he’s looking forward to in the future when his dad is ready to step down.  But for now, he’s livin’ life and enjoying every moment, and every repeat client, and every new opportunity.

Lucas Sawyer is forty-six, a highly successful entrepreneur, and unknown to most people, suffers from social anxiety.  It’s much easier for him to hire an escort than it would be to cruise a bar for a date, and he always keeps it simple by never hiring his escort for more than one night. No strings. No regrets.  His Park Avenue apartment is secure, convenient, and comfortable and the boys he hires seem so to enjoy their time with him between his silk sheets in his oversized king bed. And then he meets Matt and all bets are off.  Matt loves his job and he’s not afraid to ask for what he wants and to be a bit bossy in the bedroom—all things that Lucas hasn’t really experienced before.  Lucas is usually the dominant in the bedroom, telling the escorts what to do and when to do it, but Matt just goes for what he wants and that includes telling Lucas what to do and when to do it.  Matt has heard of Lucas from fellow escorts and knows he’s only going to have one night so he figures why not do what he wants? As it turns out, this approach really piques Lucas’s interest and he thinks of Matt long after he’s gone. 

As they see each other again, their dynamic begins to change and they share more than sex. Matt suddenly decides to help Lucas with his anxiety by inviting him to Matt’s brother’s wedding—something Lucas normally wouldn’t enjoy but does—and the bonus is the night they get to spend sleeping together before a nice round of wakeup sex the next day.  Over time, both men acknowledge that they aren’t really escort and client any longer, but Matt faces some huge personal challenges, and without any commitment from Lucas, he’s not sure what to do.  How will Lucas feel when Matt continues to have sex with his other clients?  Is there room for each man in each other’s lives?

This was a terrific story, very different from others I’ve read that featured escorts, and I enjoyed both the writing style and the cast of characters—all well-developed and interesting characters.  My favorite was Diane, Lucas’s grandmother.  I can’t tell you how happy I was to see that she was not portrayed as a faded lily—a little old lady who was on her last leg.  I bowl every week with women in their nineties and I aspire to be like them when I grow up.  Diane can go on that list—I loved her!

I also enjoyed the dynamic between Matt and Lucas and the development of each individual character and the couple as a whole.  They took their time and it wasn’t all about sex, though I must admit there were some smokin’ hot scenes! Whew! Get the personal fans out for this one. 

In all seriousness, however, I must say that I can very easily highly recommend this MM romance to all—and especially to those who enjoy age-gap.  Twenty years here with unforgettable characters.  Don’t miss out on this one. 

“““““`

The cover by Meredith Russell features two men reclining in a bed covered with dark blue silk sheets. The older man has silver hair and the shoulder tats described in the story and he’s staring at the camera, while the younger man is obviously biracial and sound asleep.  It’s hot and delicious and perfect for this story.  Very attention-getting!

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published September 29th 2017 by Island Tales Press (first published September 2017)
ASINB0762Y7Y1J
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesA Material World #3

A Lila Audiobook Review: Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells and Finn Sterling (Narrator)

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?

Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.

Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.

When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?

Out of the Shadows is a slow burn romance between a recluse Christian and an extrovert Josh. I like how they communicated when Josh started working at Christian’s apartment and would have loved to see more of it.  It allowed them to get comfortable with each other, creating a foundation for their relationship.

This is a very sweet and fluffy story but those aspects worked with the Dreamspun series. I wanted a slower transition for Christian to adjust to his new reality but in this case, love cured it all. Their attraction was immediate as well as Christian’s acceptance of Josh’s plans for him.

Overall, this story has nice characters, and interesting instigating event, and the potential for so much more. Unfortunately, I never connected with the main couple. Their bromance was stronger than their romance. In the end, it was an okay story.

The narration by Finn Sterling was a fifty-fifty for me. I enjoyed all the characters but Josh. And since he’s one of the main characters, it took from my enjoyment of the story. I think he tried, too hard, to create a distinctive voice for Josh, but ended with a cartoonish version of a young man instead. Everything else saved his performance.

The cover by Bree Archer is a bit theatrical. Perhaps a hoodie would have worked better. The model doesn’t reflect Christian’s description, either.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner | iTunes | Audible

Audiobook Details:

Narrator: Finn Sterling
Length: 6 hours 6 minutes
Published: September 13, 2017 (Audio Edition) by Dreamspinner Press
ASIN: B075KNQDCT
Edition Language: English

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Release Day Review: Out of the Shadows by K.C. Wells

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

This story was exactly what I look for in a romance novel.  Exactly. And, oh, how rare it is to find such a story!  Two men who get to know one another, do little things to make each other happy, date, build a friendship, avoid sex as a lubricant to romance, a little wining and dining, spending time with others, and finally a declaration of love—all before getting to the bedroom.  It’s so very rare.  And this story was so very good, I can’t express how much I appreciated the opportunity to spend time with Josh and Christian. 

Josh is a gardener and handyman in a housing complex where a mystery man resides in the first floor corner apartment.  Well, he’s a mystery because no one ever sees him, and they’ve noticed he gets everything delivered—from food to other necessities.  When Josh is promoted to the role of remodeling the apartments, his first assignment is that one, and when he arrives to the quiet of an empty apartment, he’s a little disappointed not to have met the mystery man.  It doesn’t take him long, however, to figure out that the man is there—he’s just hiding behind the locked bedroom door.

Over time, the two converse through the crack of the door, but when Josh arrives early one day and hears a crash in the bathroom, he rushes in to find Christian on the floor with the shower curtain covering his groin and blood flowing from his forehead. But it’s the scars covering half his face, his right arm, and hand that immediately grabs his attention and he instinctively knows he needs to maintain a neutral expression and look at Christian, not his scars.  It’s this instinctive reaction that sets the pace for a friendship to grow between the two.

Ultimately, trust grows as well, and then affection. And then Josh goes out of his way to find a restaurant where he can take Christian to help him make baby steps back into the world.  Christian finds the courage to accept this first date, and then the courage to meet Josh’s best buddies, and to go bowling, and finally, to tell Josh he loves him. 

I can hardly begin to describe how well the author built these characters, infusing them with life and warmth, sweet personalities, and an obvious need for each other.  Christian’s injury and resulting scars was gently handled and clearly portrayed.  Josh’s personality, his humor, his circle of friends, and his slowly developing love for Christian were all so very well done.  This just hit all my buttons and I devoured it like a starving woman.  I’m left with a case of “feel goods” that I hope will last me a while because stories like this don’t come along every day.  Don’t miss out on this one!

The cover by Bree Archer shows a very good-looking man with a hoodie pulled half over his face.  This perfectly represents the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: August 15th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleOut of the Shadows
ISBN139781635338706
Edition LanguageEnglish