An Ali Review: Love It Like You Stole It by Ki Brightly

Rating: 2 out of  5 stars

Michael Levine is backed into a corner. He started tearing apart cars for the local mob with the best of intentions—to save up money to pay for his mechanic certifications and impress his crush and mentor, Ben. But Michael soon finds himself in way over his head. He knows stealing is wrong, but it’s only cars, and the insurance will pay to replace them, right? What started out as a small job to make some extra bucks soon turns into a nightmare he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to find his way out of.

Ben Jelen isn’t sure where his life is going. On the surface everything looks fine. He has a successful business, he’s raising his niece into a strong person, and he has a boyfriend most guys only dream of—sexy and rich. But nothing feels right. The only things that really keep Ben’s attention anymore are his classic Road Runner, his niece, and Michael—his Meeko. Ben took him under his wing forever ago, and their love of old cars and fast driving has forged a strong bond. Ben’s days don’t feel right if he doesn’t get to see Meeko at least once. But something seems drastically wrong in Meeko’s life, and Ben hopes he can put the pieces together to help him before it’s too late.

I picked this book solely because of the title. I had not read this author before and was hoping for a new gem. Unfortunately this didn’t work for me at all.

My first issue was early on in the prologue. We meet Ben who is an adult who owns his own business. He sees some teens picking on another teen and goes to break it up. He is immediately sexually attracted to the one being picked on. The one he thinks is about 15 years old. I was immediately creeped out. I’m not down with adults perving on kids. This might have not been an issue for me if we knew how old Ben was. Maybe he was only 18 or 19? I don’t know because the author never told us. We have a story about an age gap romance and we never find out how old one MC is. It messed up the entire romance for me because I didn’t know. When they got together were they 20 and 25? 20 and 30? 20 and 50?? Those numbers make huge differences for me in how I perceive a story and if I’m going to enjoy it or not. I decided  I was going to just make Ben a few years older and go with that. Even with that Ben still felt like a creeper in many places. His relationship with an adult fails because he can’t stop thinking about “his Meeko”.  Even though Michael is 20 when they start their relationship he is presented as frail and dependent and he felt very young and teen like to me.

My next issue was I didn’t like any of the characters. Ben was just so bleh and boring. No depth to his character. Michael was such a victim. Everyone is his entire life picks on him. No one likes him. (Literally no one in the entire book except Ben). There is no explanation for this. It made no sense. Then, I’m also expected to believe he’s going to be able to run a bunch of chop shops? With what social skills?  How could he be the boss of anything when no one listens to him or respects him and when he can’t even meet people’s eyes when he talks to them? The side characters were all really terrible people. Michael’s “friends” were horrible. They were the kids who used to bully him. No logical explanation was made as to why they were now friends. Ben’s teenage niece was such a rotten, disrespectful brat. (His parenting could not have been worse.)  I seriously would have been happy if her character had gotten killed off. And Ben’s ex Grant.  That relationship was also not a bit believable and Grant was a super unlikable. I have no idea why he was even there. It totally took away from Ben and Michael’s romance and it felt like it was just a tool for more drama. A big part of my dislike of the characters was because I felt they were poorly developed. There was no substance to any of them.

Their romance made no sense to me. They don’t talk to each other, they don’t even meet each other’s eyes. Michael because he’s scared and Ben cause apparently looking in Michael’s eyes will make him lose all control and confess his love.  They say they’re best friends yet they tell each other nothing.  Michael didn’t even tell Ben when his grandfather died. Years before. What??? As the plot goes on they start telling each other all kinds of things about their lives but by then I wasn’t buying it. How were they best friends for 5 years yet knew nothing about each other?

The overall plot with the bad guy also made no sense to me.  It was a convoluted and you have to suspend giant amounts of reality to buy even just a little. So, so many things that were unbelievable to me. By the last 25% I couldn’t even take it anymore so I just started skimming.

This story was drama llama drama on steriods.  Soap operas and telenovellas have less drama than this book did. I know this is a personal thing.  Some people enjoy drama in their stories but it is not something I enjoy at all.

The thing that made this book catch my eye ended up making me cranky. The title was catchy and creative when writing about car guys. The author didn’t stop there though. Every single chance they got to use a car reference or metaphor they did. Every. Single. Chance. I thought I was going to throw my Kindle if the phrase “it’s cherry” was used one more time. It just went on and on.  I went from “This is kind of cool” to “Oh my god I will throat punch the next character to make a car pun”.

Unfortunately nothing about this story worked for me.  I did not enjoy it at all.  I’m giving it two stars because some of the things I disliked may have just been me and because the technicality of the writing was fine.  I know I have used the phrase “Made no sense to me” repeatedly but really it didn’t.  I’ve never met people like these in my life and I don’t know anyone who acts like these people so I just couldn’t find any frame of reference with any of them.  This is completely subjective though and other readers may related more based on their life experiences.
Cover Art:  The cover was done by Natasha Snow and I really like it.  I think it’s an eye catching cover that fits the vibe of the story perfectly.
Sales Links:  NineStar Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 1st edition
Published July 9th 2018 by NineStar Press
Edition LanguageEnglish

New Release Blitz for Love it Like You Stole It by Ki Brightly (excerpt and giveaway)


Title:  Love It Like You Stole It

Author: Ki Brightly

Publisher:  NineStar Press

Release Date: July 9, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 99400

Genre: Contemporary, contemporary, blue-collar, mechanic, classic car love, age-gap, mobsters, crime, family drama

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Michael Levine is backed into a corner. He started tearing apart cars for the local mob with the best of intentions—to save up money to pay for his mechanic certifications and impress his crush and mentor, Ben. But Michael soon finds himself in way over his head. He knows stealing is wrong, but it’s only cars, and the insurance will pay to replace them, right? What started out as a small job to make some extra bucks soon turns into a nightmare he’s not sure he’ll ever be able to find his way out of.

Ben Jelen isn’t sure where his life is going. On the surface everything looks fine. He has a successful business, he’s raising his niece into a strong person, and he has a boyfriend most guys only dream of—sexy and rich. But nothing feels right. The only things that really keep Ben’s attention anymore are his classic Road Runner, his niece, and Michael—his Meeko. Ben took him under his wing forever ago, and their love of old cars and fast driving has forged a strong bond. Ben’s days don’t feel right if he doesn’t get to see Meeko at least once. But something seems drastically wrong in Meeko’s life, and Ben hopes he can put the pieces together to help him before it’s too late.


Love It Like You Stole It
Ki Brightly © 2018
All Rights Reserved


“It’ll be a month, Bennet.”

I clutched the small silver bolt so hard it cut into my palm. The pain wasn’t enough to distract me. Rick’s bottom lip jutted out. It always did when he was on a roll. He crossed his heavy arms, eyes shadowed by his ball cap. With a sigh, I ignored my big brother, cutting my attention to the object of our current bitchfest. Vandi, his daughter, lounged nearby with tiny pots of fingernail polish out on the dusty, paperwork-covered desk.

“I’ll be good, Uncle Ben,” she chirped, her bow mouth turned up into a wide smile. She almost wasn’t a little girl anymore. It wasn’t long ago that I’d sit with her and do the painting. The sun cutting into the garage through the open bay door lit up her gold curls making them shine brightly. Her eyebrows furrowed in concentration as she dabbed a little brush covered in pink paint at her thumb. In her white summer dress, she couldn’t have looked more out of place.

I bent back over the motor of the beat-up, blue Ford Taurus and stared at it without seeing much of anything.

“It’s damned good money. They need mechanics for when the machinery goes down. If her mother hadn’t—”

“Rick,” I warned. Vandi’s head snapped up at the mention of her mom. I had no intention of mopping up tears today. He leaned a hip against the front quarter panel of the car and rested an elbow there, sending me a winning grin. It was the same bullshit one I used when trying to get my own way. “I’ve known you your whole life. That shit don’t fly.”

He chuckled, but his smile didn’t waver as he leaned in close, pushing his cap back with a thumb. I caught a whiff of the cologne I used and sighed. He’d raided my dresser again. Looking at him was like looking in a mirror—his brown eyes and long face with its blunted nose were just like mine, except mine was cocked a little to the left. He wiggled his eyebrows, and I blew out a hard breath.

“Those oil rigs are dangerous, and ask next time you steal my stuff.” I poked him on the shoulder with my ratchet as he shrugged, not at all bashful about his thievery.

“It’s a month on, three weeks off. And with the bonuses, I could be pulling in over a hundred grand next year. We can get the garage set up right, get more clients in…I won’t do it forever.”

I frowned and rubbed at my chest. He winced and scowled right back, like maybe he understood why I was upset. The idea of Rick being away for more than a few days made me nauseous. We’d always been a little too close, and it only got worse after Mom died. I sneaked a look at Vandi to see what she was thinking about all this, but she didn’t seem to be listening.

“I’m not sure it’s worth it,” I muttered. Shit. Money. We sure could use more of it.

A low humming started up from Vandi—a familiar song from the radio. “Check it out!” She flashed her pink fingernails at us. Rick turned and nodded at her.

“Real pretty, baby doll,” he said fast, not quite covering up the irritation in his tone. Her smile vanished.

I smacked his arm, but he was back to cajoling me with his half grin. I smacked him upside the head, sending his ball cap flying, but he ignored it and patted my cheek.

“I want this garage to get off the ground,” he said, “and so far, we’ve only been getting in about five or six people a week because we don’t have a lift. I had to send Mrs. Hopper to fucking Firestone because we didn’t have the right size tires.” He waved his hand toward the empty space stretching out behind us that practically begged to be filled with equipment. “We don’t have half the shit we need…”

“What if you’re out there in the middle of the ocean and there’s a hurricane or a blowout or—”

“Get back here you four-eyed fuck!” someone shrieked from outside. The low voice cracked on the swear word.

“What the hell…” I turned to look over my shoulder, and the bolt from the oil filter slipped from my fingers. With a ting, it disappeared into the abyss of hoses in the engine. “Shit.”

I slammed my ratchet down on the motor casing, and the air compressor at the rear of the work area chose that moment to kick on, filling the old cement-block garage with its chugging clatter. I strained my ears, but the voices outside were drowned out. “Turn that off, Rick.”

Nodding, he headed back to flip the switch. Vandi craned her neck forward to look out the wide door.

“He thinks he’s too good to talk to us. Mickey Mouse won’t open his mouth.” The bully’s voice dipped deeper on that last word, and an instinct for trouble sent me striding out the door into the gravel parking lot, past the few sad vehicles waiting for their turn in the repair shop.

Across the small side street, three teen boys surrounded another one on the sidewalk. He was hunched in on himself with his arms crossed protectively over his gut, his stance practically screaming, “Hammer me.” One of the boys—short, with a mean twist to his lips and a cheap buzz cut on his carrottop—smacked the glasses off his prey. Sparkling in the late afternoon sun, the lenses sailed in an arc and landed in the street.

“Should we do something?” Rick’s long shadow loomed near mine, arms crossed.

“Come on, hit ’em back,” I muttered, clenching my fists. “Protect yourself.”

Instead, the kid just rubbed at the bridge of his nose with one hand. He was coltish and stretched thin, like he’d grown too fast. But he was tall, and if he would throw a punch, he’d have reach. He didn’t move to defend himself or say a word, though, simply stared at his feet. I glanced at Rick, but when I looked back, the tall boy was shaking his head. Sunlight caught and glimmered on blue highlights in his black hair. The short asshole shoved him hard while the other guys circled, grunting out guttural encouragement that puffed up Mr. Attitude.

Outrage propelled me toward them at a fast clip.

“Ooooh, fuck,” Rick said on a chuckle.

I hadn’t planned on anything more than bitching out the bullies—until the short kid threw a hard jab. The tall one gasped and staggered back a step at the blow, but one of the kids in the circle shoved him upright so he could take more abuse. Wincing, the tall kid shook his head so hard he seemed to make himself dizzy. He staggered to the side but righted himself at the last second.

“You’re no better’n me—us.” The short kid hopped up and down imitating a wet chicken, darting his gaze around the circle. “You’re no better than us!” He screamed out a war whoop as he lunged forward to land the next punch. The tall kid took it on his left cheek and—pow!—crumpled to his knees.

“You little shits! Knock it off!” I ran toward them, hands pinwheeling, but had to slow down as a car shot by, going way too fast on the narrow street, separating me from the teenagers. Crunch. I winced and sighed as I jogged past the flattened glasses. No coming back from that.

The kids stilled as I approached—became panicked, malicious little statues. But when I stepped onto the sidewalk, fists balled up at my sides, my shadow fell across them, and the obnoxious brats scattered, helter-skelter—like I might actually chase them down and dish out a taste of their own medicine.

“You better run, you little pricks. Stay off my block!” I yelled after them. “I’m badder than you’ll ever be!”


NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Ki grew up in small-town nowhere pretending meteor showers were invading aliens, wild flowers were magic potions, and secret agents hid around every corner. (Ki probably read more than was healthy.) They had one amazing best friend, one endlessly-out-of-grasp “true love,” and a personal vendetta against normalcy.

College was a catapult out of that sleepy little hamlet into a slightly larger, more entertaining city—Erie, Pennsylvania.

In their adopted hometown they enjoy the sandy beaches, frigid winters, and a wonderful fancy water addiction. Ki shares life with two sweet Muses, their Sugar Plum, and two children. Every day with these wonderful people is full of adventure.

Website | Facebook | Twitter


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An Alisa Advent Release Day Review: Pining for Perfect by Ki Brightly

Rating:  5 stars out of 5
Stokely leads a solitary life, trying to do all the right things. He has a solid, respectable job, a properly decorated, respectable apartment, and goes to work every single day, no matter what. But it’s Christmas, and he hates Christmas, especially since his one guilty pleasure, listening to Asher Banks on the radio, is ruined with upbeat, holiday garbage.
Asher is the polar opposite—he loves Christmas to a fault and schedules himself into the ground with fundraisers to help the local community. When Asher and Stokely meet during one of the holiday spectacles Asher has thrown together, sparks fly, but neither one of them has ever had a real Christmas—or a real home. Will they be able to make one with each other?
I loved this story.  Both Stokely and Asher grew up in foster care but in drastically different situations and it has affected their adult lives.  It was great to see Stokely adapt and bend from his strictly structured life and ideas to help Asher and give them both happiness.  Both of them deserve anything they can get and the story ended with me rooting for them to continue.
Cover Artist: Brooke Albrecht.  Love the cover, just perfect for the holidays and story.
Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 61 pages
Published: December 9, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Edition Language: English

Ki Brightly on Writing and her release Trust Trade (Gem City Grit #1) (author interview)



Trust Trade (Gem City Grit #1) by Ki Brightly
reamspinner Press

Cover art by Bree Archer

Available for Purchase at



Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to welcome Ki Brightly here today to talk about her writing and her latest release, Trade Trust.  Welcome, Ki!


Hi! I’m Ki Brightly. My book Trust Trade is due out on January 27th, and Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words was kind enough to invite me to their blog for an interview today. I’m excited to answer some questions, so I will get to it!

How much of yourself goes into a character?

This is a tremendously difficult question to answer, though it appears up front. I don’t think any writer can say nothing of themselves makes it into a character. Any character, no matter how unique or researched or villainous, can only react to a situation as a writer can imagine that character reacting. Now, a person can have a damned good imagination, but the writer is the limit. So, how much of myself goes into a character? I think that depends. If I start out writing with a clear picture of a character, or say I have gone all out and created a character sheet for them (attributes, thoughts on certain subjects, and what not) then I would say that less of me goes into them. They become more of themselves when I know who they are to start with. If I start writing and I’m sort of discovering a character as I go, say I just can’t get a bead on them or I’m confused about what type of person they will be, then I would say more of the essence of my thoughts ends up in that character because they don’t have their own thoughts yet. Sometimes when that happens and say I hit the middle of the book and realize it is happening, I will go back and edit a little or a lot, sometimes I don’t. There a couple of characters that have a lot of “me” in them. I would have to say one of the ones that most has “me” responses out of all of my books is probably Duncan from Threefold Love, (he also briefly appears in The Paranaturalist). Duncan works in a museum. I have a history degree and adored my art history classes. He loves to cook and I would spend about 6 hours a day cooking and eating if I could. He’s pudgy. Left to my own devices, without my marathon training, I’m pudgy. I’ll let you guess at what other attributes he and I share. He is a character, but yes, there are definitely bits of me there.

Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Not really. I define a Gary Stu as “perfect person syndrome”. It’s when that character is a super hero with a fix for every situation to the point where their story is almost boring. I can quickly and easily think of a few stories with these types of characters, both mainstream and other. If I’m doing a good job putting together a story you should never know that the experiences I’m using to create it are my own. In any event, most of the things that I would probably use while writing would be unpleasant things, creating trouble for the character, and since I try to write realistically, whatever it is would likely end up being a pie in the face to said unsuspecting character.

There’s that old saying, “Don’t do or say anything around a writer or it will end up in a book.” It’s true. Writer’s mine their own lives as well as anything and everything around them for inspiration and story ideas. I don’t think it is unusual to use personal experiences to write.

Does research play a role in choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Yes, for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever written a book or article that didn’t require some form of research or another. For Trust Trade I think I probably spent somewhere around 100 hours doing research on Deaf culture to create a single aspect of the story as accurately as possible.

I don’t know if I enjoy research, but I certainly don’t mind reading about things that I find interesting, so to that end I like it. I don’t like the time it tends to eat up. It can really slow down a story if I decide to write about something I am minimally informed about. I do like story building and world building, my first published books were paranormal romances, but even with those I spent a lot of time researching. While writing The Paranaturalist I did paranormal research (before the time I spent with a local paranormal investigator I would have called it Ghost Hunting) and made a very nice friend along the way.

I think I like hands on research best.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes and no. I was a large fan of Ann Rice when I was younger. To that end, I do enjoy writing paranormal romances, but I don’t think I particularly emulate her style. I do like description, but anyone who has ever read Interview will know what I’m talking about when I say she LOVES description. She takes description above and beyond. To some degree I like that. I like showing people what is in my head, creating a reading experience that can compete with a movie or television show. But I mainly write gay romance. I’ve toyed around with writing something a little more mainstream, and perhaps someday I will, but right now I’m focusing on what I love to write and attempting to do it well.

Have you ever put an ‘in progress’ story aside because of the emotional ties with it? You were hurting with the character or didn’t know how to proceed?

Yes. I have two separate stories right now that I have set aside. One I will be coming back to this year, hopefully, because it is sitting pretty at 60 thousand words (that is novel length for those of you not familiar with word count, but probably about 1/3 of the size of the books I usually put out). One is a paranormal romance, and one is a contemporary.

Both have an abusive boyfriend.

I started the first book, untitled except for the main characters Matteo and Devin, and ended up setting it aside. After I finished Trust Trade I started the second book, tentatively entitled The Bullsh*t Hippy Cure, but it also has an abusive boyfriend. I get stuck when there are abusers involved in the storyline, mainly because I had a quite lengthy (five years) emotionally and physically abusive relationship while I was in college. I refuse to write a book where the abused individual doesn’t “save themselves” because honestly, even if a prince comes along to rescue a person from the outright violence, they still have to do the work of putting themselves back together. I suppose the problem arose when I was trying to move the person who had been abused into a new, healthy relationship. I think it is an issue of time collapse in a novel, you only have so much time, and in real life it could take a person years, if not longer, to get over something like an abusive relationship. I suppose when I figure out a healthy way to move those characters forward those books will almost write themselves because I know the story arcs, the plots and the sub plots, but I just haven’t gotten them written yet.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I suppose I prefer Happy for Now over Happily Ever After, simply because it is more realistic. I have no way of knowing, even with characters I wrote, what the future will bring. That being said, I have to stop myself from ending every book with a ring because I so badly want my characters to be happy, even when, or maybe especially because, I put them through the wringer.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Yes! Of course! I’m not sure anyone could write romance and not read it. I used to read m/f as well as m/m, but in the last several years I’ve slowly progressed into reading primarily m/m. Every once in a while I think maybe I’m missing out on something and will venture back out into het land, but I still prefer gay romance to mainstream.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer? Now and growing up?

I’m not sure. Growing up I loved Ann Rice and she spawned many a started and abandoned vampire novel. For a while I was stuck on Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Meredith Gentry series, but the shine has worn off those for me. I read all Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse books and liked them a lot. Mostly what I read now days is in the gay romance genre. I have a New Year’s resolution to read one “mainstream” book for every gay romance I read this year, but I’ve been reading true crime novels as research for the upcoming two books in my Gem City Grit Universe. Love It Like You Stole It (the one I’m working on editing it now) will be a mob influenced book, and the one after that (actively writing) will be more of a gang crimes book…it features Gus Jolliss and Kare Eckland. For anyone who reads Trust Trade and wonders what happens to Kare…well, you’ll find out, hopefully by this time next year, if I can get moving faster. 

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

Ebooks are a mixed bag for me. I love them for their affordable price points and space saving. If I had every ebook I own as a physical book then I wouldn’t have room in my house for anything else….I have book problems. I also like that I can make any book a large font book. On the other hand, sometimes I want to give my eyes a break from screen time, but most of my books are digital. Then I have to make a choice between reading the digital book I’m currently sucked into (and there always is one) or picking up a paperback that I haven’t started. This is how I end up with seven books going at a time. At this point I feel ebooks are well established and I don’t see them going anywhere. As the economy improves I think perhaps we will see a resurgence in physical book buying, but only for those people who have issues reading digitally or thoroughly enjoy the physicality of holding a book.

How do you choose your covers?

I have to take a moment to gush about the Dreamspinner Press art department. They are absolutely amazing. I get beautiful art packages before my books are published, including book marks and post cards. I can’t say enough good things. The book cover choice starts almost as soon as the book is accepted: the art department asks for everything possible about my characters and the setting of my book. They also give me samples of covers from the artists they have on hire, and I can choose anyone, so long as they are available. Only once have I not gotten to work with the artist I requested, but the artists I did work with are all amazing. I tell them the ideas I have for the book and they send me several mock ups to choose from. I pick, and from there on out they do their wonderful, artisty goodness and produce glamorous, beautiful covers for me. The artist for the cover of Trust Trade was Bree Archer and she was a delight to work with.

I always want to have one of the most engaging scenes from the book on the cover, but unfortunately, that usually isn’t possible based on how covers are made and what is determined to “sell well”. With The Paranaturalist I had a sketch artist, Christine Griffin, so I did get to have Joe in the river, which was spectacular. Working with her was fun because I could give her input on any and all aspects of the cover, down to the lights on the water and the shade of Joe’s eyes. It was great! As a writer there is no better feeling than seeing a talented artist breathe life into the wisps of your imagination.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?

Any time I’m asked this question the answer is usually going to be the book I just worked on, so I will go ahead and say Trust Trade. I think that happens because in order to put a book out you have to become so immersed in it, eat sleep breathe it, that it becomes a part of you. During the first professional edit for Trust Trade I literally spent four days, ten hours a day, sitting in my chair, staring at my laptop with Trust Trade—littered with spelling and grammar and other errors—staring back at me. I was on deadline. It was brutal. I had to edit it four more times. When you go through a process like that you either start loving or loathing something, and I usually turn toward loving it. Eventually.

What’s next for you as an author?

I’m currently working on the next book in the Gem City Grit universe. It features Ben Jelen and Michael Levine, two characters who aren’t in Trust Trade, but there will be several other characters you should recognized throughout the book. Ben is a mechanic. Michael works for Ben, and finds himself caught up in a mob run scheme to funnel illegally procured car parts out of the country. There are a lot of different nuances in this book—Ben rescued Michael (he usually calls him Meeko) from bullies when he was a teen, and Michael has been hanging around Ben’s garage, learning about and working on cars ever since. But Michael’s all grown up now and Ben’s not entirely comfortable with how he feels about him. I had a good time writing this book because for the first half Ben’s part of the book is a “romance”, mostly, and Meeko’s part of the book is sort of a romance but mostly a crime drama, and then they run headlong into each other. I’m hoping everyone else likes it as much as I’ve enjoyed burning the midnight oil on it. 

Ki, that was a terrific interview.  Thank you so much for sharing.  And now for more information about Trade Trust!


Blurb for Trust Trade

Life hasn’t been good to Jeb Birchman. When he attempted to escape his abusive, zealot father, he found himself on the streets, making a living the only way he knew how, the victim of more violent men—one of whom orchestrates a series of vicious attacks that leave Jeb deaf. Now that he’s aged beyond his latest client’s interest, Jeb knows he needs to escape his risky lifestyle before it’s too late. Seeing one last chance for himself, he earns a GED and enrolls in college.

Freddy Williams enjoys a life that couldn’t be more different from what Jeb has survived. He loves sports, being a personal trainer, and hanging out with friends. The son of deaf parents, Freddy is an outspoken advocate of the Deaf community and works as an interpreter at his college. When he meets Jeb at the bookstore, he’s struck by how attractive he is, and as they get to know each other, he finds Jeb’s good heart just as appealing. By the time he learns of Jeb’s past, it’s only a few steps behind them, and Freddy must make a choice between school and his familiar routine and protecting the man he’s falling in love with.

About the Author


Ki Brightly

Ki grew up in small town nowhere pretending that meteor showers were aliens invading, turning wildflowers into magic potions, and reading more than was probably healthy. Ki had one amazing best friend, one endlessly out of grasp “true love”, and a personal vendetta against normalcy.

Now, as an adult, living in Erie, Pennsylvania, Ki enjoys the sandy beaches, frigid winters, and a wonderful fancy water addiction. Seriously, fancy waters…who knew there were so many different kinds? It’s just water…and yet…

Ki shares this life with a Muse, a Sugar Plum, and two wonderful children.

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

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.
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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