Someone to Hear Me by T. A . McKay

Title: Someone to Hear Me             Word Count:290pgs
Genre:Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Kohan has a simple life but he’s happy. The only thing that’s missing is that special someone to come home to at night. That is until he literally bumps into Ares, a man who sparks his interest, but he rushes off before Kohan can talk to him. When he sees the stranger again, Kohan is determined that he’s not going to let him escape this time.
What Kohan doesn’t know is he’s falling for a guy that has been through more than he could ever imagine, and when Ares’ dark past catches up with him, there might be a chance that neither man will walk away unhurt.

We all dream of finding that one true love, the person who completes you, and when you find them you should hold on tight to them. But what happens when that dream turns into a nightmare, one that you can’t escape from? Ares is running from a past that almost cost him his life, a past that changed everything.
When he meets Kohan he’s scared of letting someone in, scared that history will repeat itself, but finally he sees that not everyone is out to hurt him. He sees that maybe someone could love him without causing pain.
But when the thing Ares is hiding from appears again, it takes him right back into that dangerous past and he doesn’t know if he will survive it this time.

My name is Ares, and the man I married is the person who will probably kill me.
I want to leave.
I want to escape.
I don’t want to die.
My name is Ares and I want Someone To Hear Me.

Please Note this book contains scenes of domestic abuse that some people may find uncomfortable.

My Review: It is never easy when someone who swore to love and cherish you breaks your trust. Twenty five year old Ares learns this the hard way, after he wakes up in the hospital with his life irrevocably changed. After being beaten and terrorized numerous times by his husband Micah for the slightest infractions, his husband finally went to far. Micah has beaten Ares so badly that his face is left disfigured with a scar bisecting his forehead and he is now deaf. As many victims do , Ares blames himself for what Micah did. Even though Micah is imprisoned, Ares still lives in fear for his life.

Ares suffers from PTSD and he has panic attacks if he is surrounded by too many people. He flinches at every shadow , and he is virtually a hermit. He knows he has to do something to reclaim his life. Ares’ therapist suggests that he find a job and meet new people. Ares finds a job as a cleaner at a newspaper office and that’s where he meets Kohan. Kohan is a journalist and he is immediately intrigued by the quiet man who refuses to look at him and make eye contact.

There is just something about Kohan that makes Ares feels safe. Its the safest he’s felt in a long time with another man. The two men form a tentative friendship and Kohan soon realizes that he wants more, but he sees a dark fear hidden in Ares. Ares finds himself confessing the horrors of his past, at least some of it. Kohan is saddened to know that such a sweet man has been hurt by such a monster. Kohan is extremely patient and understanding with Ares and his issues.

Everyday Ares gets a little bit stronger mentally and continues on his quest to reclaim his life. He makes a concerted effort to open up more to Kohan even though it scares him. He doesn’t feel like its fair to take things any further with Kohan for fear that he won’t be able to follow through. Kohan notices every time Ares takes two steps forward he retreats a little. He refuses to let Ares push him away, because he knows he is the light that Ares needs to step out of the shadows.

Things heat up between the two after Ares attempts a night out with Kohan and his best friend Sophie.Ares feels almost normal after a few drinks, he definitely feels desire when Kohan rubs against him while they dance. He gives in to the pleasure and allow himself to feel again. Kohan realize that underneath that fear is a very passionate willing young man and he wants to stoke that flame. These moments are heartbreaking and oh so tender and just what Ares needs to move past his pain.

We see all the atrocities Micah perpetrated against Ares through his nightmares and flashbacks. One thing that comes through is how much Ares blames himself. He fears he will make the same mistake with another man because he feels like he can’t trust his own judgement. This is a continuous setback in his relationship with Kohan. Kohan’s strength and patience is constant, because he knows its what Ares needs whenever he catches a glimpse of his past pain.

Kohan soon realizes that the key to making their relationship work is to treat Ares as normal as possible and not like he is fragile glass. Ares is able to experience the beauty of a relationship and receiving pleasure without the repercussions of pain. It is exhilarating for Ares the freedom he is finally experiencing. Ares takes charge for the first time in his sexual encounters. Kohan relishes this new dominant side of Ares and he allows him this freedom of taking the role of top. He understands that this role empowers Ares and continues to strengthen his positive personality.

They make plans to go out to meet with Kohan’s brother Carey and his new beau Duncan. The whole night starts going downhill from the beginning when Duncan doesn’t turn up. Carey’s in a foul mood and this causes the brothers to argue. Kohan is upset that Carey isn’t even trying to get to know his boyfriend. Ares gives them a moment . He has a panic attack when he thinks he sees someone who looks like his ex Micah. Ares bolts from fear and leaves in a cab.

Once again Ares does not trust his instincts and this proves to be his downfall. It turns out that Duncan is actually Micah who is out of prison on a technicality. Micah attacks Ares and the horrible abuse starts right away. Ares tries to break up with Kohan through a text. Kohan goes straightaway to his house, but Ares is firm in pushing him away. Kohan respects Ares’ wishes and go on a three day drinking binge. It isn’t until a family crisis that his brothers pulls him out of his stupor.

By the time Kohan figures that something is wrong, Ares has been held hostage for more than a week with his despicable ex. The abuse he endures is horrendous and almost pulls Ares deep down in the dark abyss. It isn’t until Micah hurts Kohan that Ares gets the courage to defend the love of his life. Ares kills Micah and ends his cruel reign. Kohan just got a taste of the atrocities that Ares must have experienced, but it scarred him pretty good. Kohan has nightmares and flashbacks now, but it is Ares’ steadfast presence that keeps him sane . I really enjoyed this one. It had the right amount of angst. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

Psycho ( Brawlers 2) by J.M.Dabney

Title: Psycho                               Word Count: 129 pgs

Genre: Biker Gay Romance
Blurb:Welcome to Brawlers Bar…

Life wasn’t easy when you were certifiable, Gerald “Psycho” Clemons lived on the fringes of society. Five years he hadn’t thought twice about riding with a group who saw most laws as flexible. When the leader of the group turned crazier than Psycho, he stepped in and made the man pay. He’d never been rewarded for his temper before, yet that’s what happened when he earned a permanent place and a job as a bouncer. Everyone walked a wide circle around him, and he liked it that way. One look from his cold black eyes and he had people backing up. Then he met a man who had to be crazier than him. 

Decadence Bakery was Ben Morin’s dream come true, and he loved it, but he grew tired of his lonely existence. Six months earlier he’d turned on the open sign and hopefully changed his life for the better. Ben loved his small cottage in the middle of nowhere even with the 3 a.m. rumbling of motorcycles and loud music at the farm next door. Although one thing he didn’t love, was his new hobby of watching one of the terrifying men next door. What could a little harmless peek now and then hurt?

Sweet and older wasn’t his type, but Psycho couldn’t deny the need to possess the beautiful baker. It was stronger than even the insanity he barely kept at bay, could he have a man who looked passed it or would Ben run like all the rest?

My Review: Psycho, his name says it all. Psycho is one of the Brawlers crew who is known to be psychotic and crazy as hell. He has had a rough upbringing and this has defined his life to a tee. Psycho’s life is inundated with violence and tenderness is a very foreign concept. Lately,he finds himself yearning for someone to call his own. He has scrutinized his bosses Scary and Tank’s triad relationship to their husband Elijah. Reason being that Scary and Tank are rough and tumble bikers like himself and Elijah is gentle and sweet. What he really craves is the love and gentleness that he sees flowing through this triad, he wishes that he knew how to make a relationship work like that. 

Psycho is confused about dating and everything that goes into a relationship. When he meets the older sexy baker Ben Morin, he wants to see where it could lead. They have a very awkward first meeting where Psycho takes care of Ben after he has been accidentally knocked down by his employee. Psycho is extremely gentle, taking care of Ben’s bleeding nose without even thinking about it.  However, he spoils this tenderness by demanding that Ben goes home with him. Ben is definitely not used to a persona like Psycho and he is confounded by his request. As tempted as he is by the big sexy biker, he doesn’t do casual hookups. Psycho feels rejected and doesn’t even wait for Ben to explain.

Psycho goes back to Brawlers feeling dejected and sulking. It is Scary who decides to help the confused man and give him a few dating tips. Psycho is still wary, but decides to give it another shot. His chance comes when Landon ,one of the Twirled crew tells Ben about the wedding that his crazy mishmash family is having. Ben decides to make a cake for the triad wedding, leaving Elijah ecstatic. Ben has definitely found new friends with most of the partners of the Twirled and Brawlers crew. Psycho suggests nicely that they chill and watch some movies. Ben is surprisingly comforted by Psycho’s stilted conversational skills.

Their relationship starts off slow when Psycho keeps on second guessing his every move with Ben. Ben sets him at ease by telling him to be himself. He continuously reassures Psycho that he enjoys his company, verbal diarrhea and all. Once Pyscho sees this for the truth, everything takes off at full speed. It soon becomes clear that Psycho likes his sex rough and tumble, just like how he lives his life. This certainly is nothing like the vanilla sex Ben is used to , but he finds it refreshing and sexually liberating. He gets a kick out of being Psycho’s ‘boy’ and loves  it when he is spanked. This certainly leads to some sexy man on man action.

Ben soon realizes what he has set himself up for being in a relationship with Psycho, when Psycho lands himself in jail beside his friend Joker. Ben is just mad that his man is kept for over two days, he is not mad at Psycho for getting caught beating the hell out of the man who put Harper,a transwoman in the hospital.  Ben understands that with Psycho he will have to take the good with the bad. His acceptance and his support of Psycho’s personality goes along way to forging the strong relationship that Pyscho has  dreamed of recently.

Ben is honoured to be a part of Psycho’s rough, crazy biker family. He even goes so far as to befriend Psycho’s ex wife Bernie and her  beautiful wife. Psycho is so much more relaxed and secure in his love for Ben. They are even talking about kids in their future. I really enjoyed this one. I give this my ratings of 4 – lose the underwear.

Finn: A Bully Novella 2 by Morgan Campbell

Title: Finn: A Bully Novella             Word Count: 157pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:It all started with a doll…

All I wanted was to be a kid,

to have fun with my friends and make mistakes.

But little did I know that my father had other plans.

A daily life lesson constantly spat in my face.
Every day, for years, I’ve been told that I’m wrong.

That I’m a mistake.

That I’m a sinner.

That no matter what, I’m an abomination.

A reminder that’s been drilled into my head;

beaten into my body and soul;

like a punch to the gut;

shoved in my face,

that what I am is a betrayal to my family.

Simply for being me. Simply for being gay.
Now, all I want is to be free from this nightmare that I’m trapped in.

To find the one that got away.

The one with the hazel eyes…

All I want is to find him

so he can save me from myself.

**This is not a standalone and is book two of the Bully Series. This book may contain certain triggers**
My Review: Here we have the other side of the story. We get to see the same journey of the characters through Finn’s eyes. For me, I wouldn’t say it was total redemption for Finn. The truth of the matter is that Finn is definitely a flawed character and you just have to accept him despite his shortcomings and foibles. Finn’s journey starts when he is a five year old boy, hero 

 worshipping his father. He is soon disillusioned with his perfect family life,when his father beats the hell out of him for asking for a doll for his birthday. 

The horrors of his childhood continued everyday until he was 15. Finn and his mother was beaten on numerous occasions especially when his father believed that he wasn’t being manly enough and showing gay tendencies. Finn obliterated his true self to the point where he was so deep in the closet and constantly lived in fear of being exposed. He hurt and bullied his high school crush Grayson so deeply that he pushed him to self harm. When Grayson disappeared from school, Finn feels guilty but pushes him to the back of his mind and continued on with his selfish teenage life.

Finn’s armour cracks a little bit when he gets to college and meets his confident gay roommate. He finds a bit of acceptance with Gunnar who reveals to him the joys of exploration through sex toys. Finn feels very liberated when he tries an anal plug and dildo Gunnar gifted him for the first time. Finn becomes more self aware and gains a new understanding of his sexuality. He relishes the idea of being a ‘bottom’ and wants to embrace it fully. These explorations go no further when Gunnar graduates and leaves him alone. Finn falls back into the destructive cycle of lying and pretending. He hooks up with Allison who soon turns into his wife, because of an unplanned pregnancy. He tries to suppress that part of himself still undeveloped and unexplored, but this facade can’t be sustained for very long under the pressures of real life.

Finn becomes very unhappy in his marriage and starts cheating on his wife with a man. For the first time in his life , he feels free to be who he was meant to be.After his first time with Gary, he makes a vow to stay away but he is reeled in by the forbidden feelings he was taught was wrong. He gets carried away by the newfound feelings he has for his beau. Finn is soon caught red handed with his pants down. There are some tears, but Allison has reconciled that her marriage is over. However, she cautions Finn to be totally honest the next time around and stop hiding. So far , Finn is definitely not painted in a great light. His resume consists of bullying, cheating and an all around self centered bastard.

The next chapter of his life begins with him finally  standing up and accepting who he is , a gay man. He is reunited with Grayson, his high school crush. It is a rough rocky road and they both have to find the strength to forgive each other for all the bad blood between  them. Finn especially will have to find the strength to forgive himself for all the pain he’s inflicted on his loved ones. He knows that even though Gray has forgiven him and proposed, he needs to get Gray’s families’ blessings.Finn bares his soul to them and at the end they have no doubt of his love and devotion for Grayson. There is definitely a fairytale ending with them getting married and two years down  the road still blissfully happy and welcoming their  baby girl. I give this my ratings of 3 – it was ok, it was nice to gain a different perspective of their journey together.

A Bit of You (Love in Xxchange 7) by Bailey Bradford

Title: A Bit if You             Word Count:200 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Billy’s been the bouncy, perky, somewhat slutty drink server at The Xxchange since it opened, and frankly, he’s tired of those labels, but it will take the love of FBI agent Liam Stone to give Billy the strength he needs to become the man he’s always wanted to be.

Billy’s used to everyone looking at him and seeing a perpetually perky, goofy twink.

Inside he knows he isn’t those things, or not only those things, at least. He isn’t sure how to get anyone to see past that. He isn’t sure if he can stop acting the part, either. It’s always been easier to let people see what they expect to see. But lately he’s been thinking, and he’s not at all sure the easy way is the right way.

Liam Stone came to The Xxchange to blow off a little steam.

An FBI agent working on the kidnapping case of one James Stratton, Liam figures he’ll head back to Dallas as soon as he can shake the dust off his heels. Then he sees Billy and Karma slaps Liam on the ass. How many times has he scoffed at the idea of love at first sight, thought people who said it happened to them were full of cow patties?

A lot, and now he’s been hit between the eyes with something he can’t quite explain, except it all has to do with Billy. Now if he can protect the man from a sadistic jerk and help Billy come to terms with his past, maybe they can have the happy ending they’ve both always wanted.

My Review:  From the first moment Agent Liam Stone laid eyes on Billy in club Xxchange, it was insta-lust. Billy has that androgynous, effeminate look that turns Liam’s crank. This is not always ideal, since this brawny FBI agent doesn’t advertise to the world that he is gay. Billy’s exuberance and sweet smile draws him in like a moth to a flame. Liam’s horniness is tempered by the scared, nervous vibes Billy is exuding. Before he knows it Billy disappears out back and when he hears the owner Xavier Talbot looking for Billy he gets concerned.

Liam follows Xavier and the bartender Troy outside and is shocked to see Billy laying on the ground hurt after being assaulted by Randy, Xavier’s brother.  Xavier is pounding the hell out of Randy since he sees Billy more like an adopted little brother than an employee. The guys are surprised at Liam’ s presence, but they let it go when Liam explains that there is just something special about Billy.

Liam stays by Billy’s hospital bed  for awhile just watching the sexy little blond. Liam is surprised at the depth of his feelings since he’s never even spoken to Billy. Xavier allows Liam to stay with Billy because he sees a longing in his eyes that can only mean he cares for Billy. When Billy awakes to find the sexy hunk of a man is not a figment of his imagination,  he is definitely excited and it’s  a bit hard to hide.

Liam is so tempted by Billy, but he would really like to show him how special and precious he is before having sex. Liam lets Billy know that he wants more than one night together. All of Liam’s good intentions fall to the wayside, when he gets Billy back to his hotel room and he begs to be touched. Billy loves the chivalrous side of Liam , but he desperately wants the horny beast he sees lurking behind his eyes.The pull between them is so strong and they enter into a whirlwind romance. Their first night together is filled with so much passion and intensity.

Shortly after, Liam has to go back  on the case of a missing man named James Stratton who happens to be Xavier’s boyfriend Chase’s best friend.Liam and his boss Agent Glenn Shearing go on a wild goose chase and after a few bum leads , they find James severely malnourished and beaten, but alive. Liam misses Billy fiercely, but he is hoping that the time apart will show Billy that they have a future together. They spend the time texting whenever they can and Billy realizes how much he misses his man. 

When the couple is reunited, Liam gets to see a more confident Billy. There is a role reversal where Billy aims to please Liam. Billy takes on a more dominant aggressive role and Liam is pleasantly surprised at how good it feels to bottom for his sexy little blond. Liam is definitely feeling sexually liberated. Their relationship continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Liam knows its too soon ,but he asks Billy to move in with him after professing his love for him. The only reason Billy is hesitant is because he has a few secrets that he thinks will make him unworthy of Liam’s love.

Billy is nervous to reveal secrets that he has never told another soul. With his newfound confidence comes bravery. He tells Liam how he was abused by his aunt’s lovers at an early age and when he couldn’t take it anymore he ran away and started hooking on the streets at 15 and that’s how Xavier found him. Liam makes a vow to  find those responsible for hurting his sweet Billy. With his resources at the FBI , it doesn’t take him long. Its small consolation when Liam confronts one of the men to find him withering away in a nursing home. Liam knows that justice will be served in the end.

Billy decides to take the plunge with the love of his life and move in together. He’s also decided to further his education at college with the support of his sexy lover Liam. Liam has a few insecurities that Billy will find someone younger, but he knows he needs to trust in their love. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

A Bit of Me ( Love in Xxchange 6) by Bailey Bradford

Title: A Bit of Me              Word Count:309 pgs

Genre:  Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Chase Murphy lost everything—money, his best friend, and his confidence-but one man wants to help him regain what was taken from him along with a love that Chase never expected to have and doesn’t believe he deserves.

A chance encounter gives hope…

Xavier Talbot has everything a successful man should, or at least he thought he did. Suddenly he discovers that his brother is a sick sadistic jerk, the boy he found on the streets and raised for the past several years is going to give Xavier a clear understanding of ‘empty nest syndrome’, and the club he’d built up from nothing, The Xxchange, now seems like a sleazy place instead of the GLBT paradise Xavier had imagined. Then a chance encounter with one man gives Xavier a bit of hope in his rapidly depressing world.

…but will they discover love together?

Chase Murphy only wanted one thing—to find his best friend, James Stratton, who’d been kidnapped by a vengeful sociopath. Hurt and stranded in a town he has no intentions of staying in, Chase meets a man he wants to hate, but he can’t stop thinking about Xavier Talbot no matter what he does. Slowly, seductively, the town and its inhabitants draw Chase in and make him rethink his opinion on forming friendships and the possibility of a long term relationship. He isn’t sure he wants to hang around to see if things would work out, but it isn’t until James is found that Chase discovers the truth about what it means to love people, as friends and, for Xavier, as a lover.

My Review: Xavier Talbot, owner of club Xxchange can be described in so many ways: snarly, sexy, dangerous and definitely dominant but never vulnerable. But that is exactly how he feels when he thinks he is about to lose Billy, his faux brother/ son. Xavier has protected Billy since he picked him up off the streets since  he was 15. Billy is very effeminate and a twink to boot. He is always getting into trouble since he bites off more than he can chew with the burly men he’s attracted to.

 When Xavier finds his own brother Randy assaulting Billy for the second time, he goes off the rails and beat the holy hell out of his brother. Xavier is helped  by FBI Stone who also comes to rescue Billy and who promises that he wants to become a more permanent fixture in Billy’s life. Xavier’s bond with Billy feels threatened and he just knows that his place in Billy’s life will be usurped by this sexy FBI agent. He feels insignificant and he knows he is experiencing the empty nest syndrome even if it hasn’t happened yet officially.

When he meets Chase Murphy, a friend of his former employee Adam, he knows he is just the man to fill the void. Their connection is very electric, but there is only one problem, Chase is determined to fight their connection every step of the way. Chase has been tortured by some bad people from Adam’s past and even though he is hurt, he is on a mission. A mission to find his best friend James Stratton who  has been missing for awhile and feared to be dead. Chase believes he has no time to pursue whatever he feels brewing between him and Xavier. Also, Chase has a few issues with intimacy. He is definitely a self professed top in the bedroom and looking at Xavier it is clear that he is definitely very toppy and dominant. Chase just doesn’t see how things can  work out for them. 

These guys realize how potent heir attraction is when they see each other again, but Chase is still fighting it. Also , Chase is in the midst of receiving confirmation from agent Liam Stone that his friend James is alive, but has been thoroughly tortured. He pushes all thoughts of Xavier to the side,but his fantasies are too vivid and he lives through these. Chase tries to be honest with himself and in his dreams its feels liberating to be vulnerable and bottom for Xavier.

Things come to a head when Xavier is drugged at his club by a twink named Paulie. Chase is livid that something like that has happened to Xavier. He can’t seem to stay away anymore. As soon as Xavier is out of the hospital, Chase goes up bluntly to tell him that he wants him. Xavier counteracts by letting Chase know he doesn’t bottom and that he is not looking for a one night stand. Chase has to rethink everything he ever understood about himself and sex. He compromises, but it wasn’t very hard since he can’t lie about the way Xavier makes his body open up. Their first time is combustible even though they don’t go all the way. Xavier knows that he will have to earn Chase’s trust.

Trust comes in increments for them and soon these sexy strong- willed men find out what its like to be vulnerable while falling for each other. They both open themselves up to each other, both doing things that they said would never be a possibility because of their dominant personalities. The trust that they feel for each other is amazing and definitely a good foundation on which to build their relationship. 

Chase proves to Xavier that he is in it for the long haul. He pools their resources together and makes plans with Xavier to revamp their club the Xxchange into something more sophisticated. Xavier also helps Chase to sneak around trying to find out the secure location where his friend James is being hidden. Chase is so happy to see that even though James is just a little broken , he is still alive. They are all hoping to to have James recover to his former self. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

 Love in Xxchange 5: Ex’s and O’s by Bailey Bradford

Title: Ex’s and O’s            Word Count: 294 pgs

Genre: Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Adam Masterson paid a steep price for doing the right thing, but it might be more than worth it if he can get through tough cop Les Stanton—and if they can survive one man’s plans for vengeance.

He tried to do the right thing…

All Adam Masterson tried to do was the right thing—stop a psychotic man from hurting anyone else. While he may have succeeded, he also put himself in the crosshairs of the man’s wealthy father, and Adam soon finds himself battered, homeless and unemployed. When his mother is also evicted from her home, Adam packs up his car and takes Charlene, his mother, with him as he heads to Texas to plead for help from someone he isn’t sure will help.

…so they might have a chance together.

When officer Les Stanton pulls over the beater car with Montana plates, he already knows who is in the vehicle. His friend Josh has been complaining about his partner, Nick, helping out the too-attractive blond from Montana. Les soon finds himself irresistibly drawn to Adam. Even his fear of Charlene can’t keep him away. Now, if he can just let go of the past and learn to trust, he and Adam might have a chance-unless one wealthy man swearing vengeance destroys them both.

My Review: Tough as nails Officer Les Stanton has always thought of himself as straight. Until he meets the spunky blond named Adam who he stopped for speeding. Les recognizes the name from his friend Josh, so he is surprised at the bruises he sees on Adam’s face.He remembered that Josh told him that Adam had been run  out  of town after taking down his would-be rapist. It just so happens that the rapist’s Dad Mitch Rollins Sr. is very rich and has quite a few people in his pockets. A few of his goons roughed up Adam, before he got away with his mother Charlene. 

Les decides to take Adam to the hospital where Josh works as a nurse so he can patch him up. Josh’s partner Nick and Adam are really good friends and this makes Josh a tiny bit jealous since Adam is so gorgeous and twinky. Josh is just as much a twink and he sees him as competition. After seeing how downtrodden he is, Josh decides to cut him some slack and offers Adam and his mother Charlene his old apartment to stay.

With the help of friends , Adam soon gets himself a job at the club Xxchange. Adam doesn’t mind the work , he just hates that he has to fend off the owner’s brother. Adam decides to put him in his place and almost breaks Randy’s hand in the process. When he is called to the office , he is almost sure that he will be sacked. He explains himself to his boss Xavier telling him he was just defending himself. He is in the process of showing Xavier the bruise on his buttocks, when Les walks in. The possessive beast rises up in Les and he just can’t stand anyone else seeing the man who he wants for himself. Les is furious when he sees Adam’s bruises, he just wants to kiss them away.Les is surprised at the feelings Adam incites in him, he never really thought about his sexuality since he is a virgin. Adam is happy at the possessive traits he sees within Les, it makes him feel special and definitely wanted. That night he goes home with Les.

Adam makes Les  want to share all his secrets. Les opens up to Adam and tells him that he is a virgin. Adam can’t believe that this big sexy cop is untouched, he knows that there is a story there. However, Adam decides not to push and accepts it for the gift that it is. Their first time together is explosive and Les knows that he has found someone very special in Adam. Les wants to explore with Adam, but he feels vulnerable to let someone so intimately in his body. He enjoys himself thoroughly with Adam and he realizes that there is no shame in the passion between two men.

Things are going great for them and the sex is out of this world. It has certainly opened up their eyes to having a more long-term relationship. It doesn’t take long for things to go south though. Chase Murphy , the PI who helped Adam send the would be rapist to jail shows up thoroughly beaten, but tries to warn him. Before he can get the words out, Chase falls unconscious. Les is worried that Adam and Charlene is in danger and offers his home as a sanctuary even though he is a bit uncomfortable around Adam’s mom. Adam is scared out of his mind that he has put his friend’s lives in jeopardy. Les lets him know that they will face things head on , because he loves Adam and wants to spend his life with him.

That moment was the turning point for Les where he decides to reveal his whole self to his lover. Les had a horrific childhood and his mother was a monster. She purposefully made Les and his brother sick by slow poisoning them. She succeeded in killing his brother and Les was able to expose her to the authorities before she killed him. It is no wonder he has certain trust issues and is standoffish with Charlene.

After Les’ revelation , things definitely progressed in their relationship when Les realized that their was no judgement , just unconditional love. Their is definitely a storm cloud hanging over their happily- ever- after  and this comes in the form of more thugs sent by Mitch Rollins. This time they are sent to kidnap Les and intimidate Adam in their  home. With the help of friends Josh and Nick, the situation is thwarted. Adam is frantic with the need to find his man and is happy when Les is finally found. They are happy to hear that this whole debacle is resolved with the death of Mitch Rollins who was gunned down when he tried resisting arrest. They can finally move on with their lives without fear. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.

Scars We Hide (CadburyNovel 2) by Jaclyn Osborn

​Title: Scars we Hide             Word Count: 308 pgs

Genre :Contemporary Gay Romance

Blurb:Trust makes you vulnerable. Weak. Peyton Evans learned that lesson long ago. Being shuffled between foster homes since he was five, and then surviving for so long on his own, he has kept a wall around his heart. The abuse he suffered at the age of fifteen refuses to fade into the past, and the scars it caused impact him every day. He’d thought he’d found love before, but that relationship showed him once again that trust only led to more pain.

Struggling with an addiction he developed as a teenager, Torin Hayes found himself one screw up away from going to prison and decided to get clean. But a sudden incident threatens to send him back down that rocky path, and he fears people will never look past his intimidating appearance and will only see the tattooed delinquent he’s been labeled as for years. Moving to Cadbury, Oklahoma is his only way to start over.

When the two men meet, the attraction between them is far from instant, but Torin’s persistence blurs Peyton’s opinion of him as a tattooed bad boy who will break his heart and shatter him all over again. Peyton’s scars run deep and make it hard for him to let go of his fear and accept a love he doesn’t feel he deserves. But, when it comes to matters of the heart, even the most strategic plans can change.

*Trigger warning: This story contains content that may be sensitive for some readers. The triggers are: drug/alcohol abuse and flashbacks of sexual abuse including rape. This is Book 2 in the Cadbury series, but can be read as a standalone.*

My Review: The main character Torin has a lot of demons plaguing him. Torin a recovering alcoholic has just lost his best friend/ fuck buddy to a drug overdose. This causes Torin to relapse and go on a bender. His uncle steps in and decides to take him to his hometown in Cadbury. This is exactly the break that Torin needs to get away from all the bad influences. From the moment he lays eyes on the quaint little house that his uncle sets him up in, he knows that he can finally make a change in his life. He quickly starts looking for a job, but his bad boy persona coupled with a scar on his face can be very off-putting. 

Torin meets Peyton, the sexy blond barista that works in the coffee shop where he is applying for a job. Torin is smitten and there is an innocence and vulnerability that surrounds Peyton that makes him want to protect him. He is turned down for the job, but that does not stop him from asking Peyton out. Peyton is very attracted to the sexy bad boy , but he is cautious about relationships because of his experiences. 

All the people in Peyton’s life has always left him by the wayside. He was taken from his drug addicted mother and put in foster care. When he was finally placed with a family, he was sexual abused by his foster bother constantly. Peyton’s foster brother caused him a lot of emotional scars making him feel unloved and unworthy. Peyton tends to shy away from relationships because of the pain he believes will come from it.

Peyton tells Torin he is only interested in some no strings attached fun and Torin agrees. They both find out soon enough that won’t work. Peyton causes Torin to yearn for more, because he is the only guy that keeps Torin’s demons at bay. When Torin is with Peyton, he doesn’t think about drinking. He starts wanting more and this scares Peyton. It seems that Peyton has become his new drug of choice. When Peyton’s  ex Luke accuses Torin for not being good enough, that sets him on edge. Torin realizes in  that  moment that his sobriety is definitely going to be an uphill battle when he almost has a panic attack. He calls Peyton right then to see if he can soothe his raging demons.

 From the tone of his voice Peyton comes to the conclusion that something is  very wrong with Torin and rushes to his side. Peyton has to admit to himself that he does care for his sexy badboy. Torin opens up to Peyton telling him about his addiction  and about his grief over his bestfriend. However,  he stirs up a lot of Peyton’s demons when he pushes too hard , too fast. When Peyton rejects him , he gets really upset and this pushes Peyton even further into his shell because of his past abuse. Torin doesn’t understand that Peyton’s rejection stems more from self preservation than anything else. Here are two guys who are so damaged that they don’t recognize that they are each other’s healing  balm.

After about a week , Torin’s heart is aching after all his texts to Peyton has gone unanswered. He decides to take the bull by the horns and see if Peyton will give him another shot. At first , Peyton  rebuffs him but when Tor turns to leave he realize that he really want to lead a normal life where he can have a boyfriend. Tor is ecstatic that Peyton is willing to give them a chance. They start out slow and their makeup sex is extremely hot.They are with each other everyday and even though it’s slow going Peyton starts to open up a little more. He goes more in depth and tells Torin about being raped by his foster brother Jason. All of his insecurities are laid bare, his feelings of worthlessness and his stuttering. The pieces of the puzzle that is Peyton all comes together and Torin gets a better understanding of the man who has captured his heart. 

Torin has turned into the sweetest most loving boyfriend and this causes Peyton’s healing to progress. Torin encourages him to speak to a professional and finally Peyton acknowledges that he does need help.These two men are able to find their strength from within each other to help heal their individual scars. Torin continues to go to AA meetings so that he can be a better man to support his sweet Peyton. Torin introduces Peyton to his mother and brother when they come for the holidays. Peyton sees how warm and loving Tor is with them and he feels a sense of belonging for the first time ever. They both work together to overcome any residual fear of intimacy leftover from Peyton’s past abuse. It’s slow going but Tor is very patient and so protective of his ‘baby boy’. Their relationship progress to the next level where they move in together and Tor gets Peyton a cat. The love that they feel for each other is something that is almost tangible. I really enjoyed watching these two men healing each others hearts. Their sexual chemistry was definitely a big plus as well. I give this my ratings of 4- lose the underwear.