Noah Can’t Even

Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green: Review by Lost in a Book

Noah Can't Even (Noah Can't Even, #1)

Blurb:

Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother’s Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is…Well, it’s pure HELL. Why can’t Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone – maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely – he’d be seen in a different light? But Noah’s plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That’s when things go from bad to utter chaos.

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2.5 Stars

*sigh*

It’s me…

*cranky face*

I went into Noah Can’t Even with the preconceived notion that it would be a coming of age read with sexual discovery, lots of humor, sweet and steady relationship progression, and with touching moments interspersed throughout. See? My fault for having so many assumptions

What we actually get is Noah being a nerdy high schooler that thinks there are certain things he can do that would make him a tiny bit more popular and wash away the embarrassment that his parents’ actions have caused (Totally fine). He has one person in his corner, Harry, his best friend (Still working for me). Noah is also insanely dramatic and chaos follows in his wake.

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As the blurb mentions, Harry kisses him at a party but that takes for-freaking-ever. This isn’t really a coming of age romance. It’s more about Noah navigating high school and being a 15 year old that’s clueless about life, his family, and his sexuality. Most of the story is about Noah navigating a shitstorm of events that just. won’t. quit.

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Was it funny? Sure, there were funny parts. But it was also stressful. The bullying, the parents, Noah, etc., all became OTT. There weren’t enough funny parts to counteract the never ending drama that was Noah’s life, IMO.

I didn’t give up though. I was still rooting for Noah. I wanted to see something lighthearted and positive come out of it for Harry and Noah. They get their HFN (I think?) but of course it doesn’t come with total bliss. There’s a life circumstance cliffhanger for Noah that…

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Whatever. It wasn’t my cuppa but YMMV.

Salt Magic, Skin Magic

Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch: Review by Lost in a Book

Salt Magic, Skin Magic

Blurb:

Lord Thornby has been trapped on his father’s isolated Yorkshire estate for a year. There are no bars or chains; he simply can’t leave. His sanity is starting to fray. When industrial magician John Blake arrives to investigate a case of witchcraft, he finds the peculiar, arrogant Thornby as alarming as he is attractive. John soon finds himself caught up in a dark fairytale, where all the rules of magic—and love—are changed.

To set Thornby free, both men must face life-changing truths—and John must accept that the brave, witty man who’s winning his heart may also be about to break it. Can they escape a web of magic that’s as perilous as love?

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4.25 Stars

Well, Well, Well. This is a captivating (and a tad gruesome) read. Sign me up for immediate membership into Lee Welch’s fan club. I’ll patiently await my official VIP card, please and thank you.

Lord Thornby is trapped on his father’s estate. Still. After being kept there somehow for well over a year, the days are bleeding together and he’s barely keeping a hold on his sanity. Thornby’s father and step-mother arrive back in town and there’s an increase in the already peculiar happenings taking place around the Yorkshire estate. Luckily, John Blake shows up to investigate some unexplainable magical happenings.

Thornby and Blake have an immediate dislike and are forced to work with each other to make sense of what is holding Lord Thornby hostage. Their dislike changes fairly quickly and a necessary companionship is formed. They have great chemistry, entertaining banter, lots of heat, and are frequent passengers on the orgasm express. Apparently danger turns them on…

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Salt Magic, Skin Magic is a historical paranormal romance that is very well done. I was enthralled from the very beginning and didn’t want to stop until the end. Once the plot picked up, I was on edge until the end. There are many PNR/fantasy elements taking place. Some of them made sense and other elements weren’t fully explained and left me wondering if it’s slightly lacking world building is setting up another book? I’d definitely read it.

I wanted to give it more stars but I needed more at the end. There’s a HFN but where do they go from here? That could be me just being picky but I didn’t feel completely settled at the end. Still, very enjoyable and definitely recommend.

Copy provided for honest review.

August Book Highlights

This blog post will differ from our normal review posts. Sometimes the TBR list gets tackled faster than I can write reviews and sometimes real life jumps in the way.  When this happens, I’ve decided to start something new and post a compilation of books that I’ve really enjoyed lately but couldn’t quite write “real” reviews for. Here are 5 books I’ve read/listened to recently and really enjoyed.

The Rebuilding Year (The Rebuilding Year, #1)

The Rebuilding Year by Kaje Harper
Reviewer:
Lost in a Book
Format:
Kindle
Rating:
 4 Stars
Initial Thoughts: Low relational angst but higher plot angst. I’m not a fan of ex/custody drama and this had it in spades. That’s just my preference and the main reason I went with 4 and not 5 stars but YMMV. Well written, enjoyable, and definitely recommended

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Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, #1)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Reviewer:
Lost in a Book
Format:
Audio through Audible
Rating:
 4.5 Stars
Initial Thoughts: This book is amazing and the audio is perfection. I took off 1/2 a star because I’m a greedy wench and wanted more of them together. I can’t write a review that even comes close to tackling this book so I’ll point you to Cupcake’s review.

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Captive Prince (Captive Prince, #1)  Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2)  Kings Rising (Captive Prince, #3)

Captive Prince Series
Reviewer:
Lost in a Book
Format:
Audio through Audible
Series Rating:
 5+ Stars
Initial Thoughts: ERMAHGHERD!!!! 5++++++ Stars. This series. The audio. Amazing!

 

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The Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3)

The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen
Reviewer:
Lost in a Book
Format:
Audio through Audible
Series Rating:
 5 Stars
Initial Thoughts:  Once again, I didn’t review this when I read it before. *shrug* But, it’s one of my favorites and the audio did NOT disappoint. Teddy as a narrator can do no wrong in my book but Christian Fox held his own. This will definitely be an audio I revisit when I’m in a slump. Definitely recommended.

Pisces Hooks Taurus

Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) by Anyta Sunday: Review by Lost in a Book

Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love, #4)

Blurb:

It’s a time for searching, and a time for finding, Pisces: keep casting your line and you will hook what you’re looking for.

Zane has it all planned out: land the perfect Meet Cute, fall in love, and live happily ever after.
Should be simple enough if he put his mind to it. A little creativity and some thinking outside of the box, and voila, he’d be married to the woman of his dreams.
It would be perfect.
And it would be before his visa ran out.

But why are his feelings running wild now that the pressure’s on? Why is his picture-perfect plan turning into a muddled mess of morphed metaphors he can’t make sense of anymore?

Just as well he’s met an English professor to help. And even though their first meet is anything but cute, this down-to-earth teacher may just be the realist Zane needs to ground him and give him a shot at love after all.

Don’t cast your line too wide, Pisces. Your perfect catch may already have bitten.

~ – ~ – ~
Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) is an MM opposites-attract romantic comedy featuring an unapologetic romantic and a broken realist.
More wit, banter and bad puns – and even more heart-stopping slow burn!
Can be read as a standalone.

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4.25 Stars

Holy nerdtastic-wordporn Batman. Seriously, there’s so much vocabulary foreplay going on that even I was questioning whether I had a kink for hot AF men throwing out alliterations, metaphors, synonyms, and other big words.

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Anyta delivers another highly enjoyable slow burn full of adorably endearing characters with a huge helping of big-hearted cluelessness.

Zane’s a hopeless romantic that wants to find the one. Unfortunately for him, he has to find that special person before his Visa runs out while sweeping them off their feet enough to get married. The meet-cutes aren’t hitting home runs and to top it all off, he finds himself without a place to live. The stars align and Zane finds himself crashing with Beckett.

Beckett (Becky) is a divorcee that doesn’t believe in love anymore. He’s a literature professor that likes to pontificate in duos or groups. Beckett finds himself sharing space with a young Chris Hemsworth look alike that drops innuendo on the regular and doesn’t even realize it.

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I adore Beckett and Zane together. They’re opposites that definitely attract despite Zane’s utter cluelessness. Becky has a calming, realist nature that offsets Zane and puts him at ease. The slow burn is intense but not over the top where I was screaming at my Kindle to end the torture. The MCs together are very entertaining and I definitely enjoyed all the moments leading up to the end. But… at the end, I NEEDED more. Because I’m greedy. There’s a HEA appropriate for their circumstances but I really wanted a glimpse into the future. *sad face*

I LOVE this series, I LOVE these characters, and it’s a solid 4.25 stars for me. Theo and Jamie with their witty snark and antics will probably always be my #1, but this isn’t too far behind. Definitely recommended.

Note: The blurb note states that this could be a standalone. It can… however, past characters make appearances and IMO reading enjoyment would be at peak levels if the other books in this serious were read first.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3)

Risk Taker by Lily Morton: Reviewed by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Buddy Read with Cupcake

Risk Taker (Mixed Messages, #3)

Blurb:

Henry’s the odd man out. All his friends are settling down, and his reputation as the Hook-Up King of London seems more like a curse than a blessing these days. Especially when it keeps photojournalist Ivo, his best friend and the brilliant man he’s loved since they were fifteen, at arm’s length. But that’s where Ivo wants him, right? Putting aside his feelings, Henry decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. After all, he has no chance with Ivo – or does he?

Henry is everything to Ivo. Best friend, soul mate, the one person who has never let him down. The one person he is loyal to above everything and everyone. But Henry’s in a box marked best friend and that’s where Ivo’s kept him for nearly twenty years, despite steadily falling in love with the gentle man. And besides, why would Henry want to date Ivo? Burned out and injured, he’s the walking embodiment of damaged.

Distance has helped Henry and Ivo keep a lid on their attraction, but when they find themselves in the same city for a change—Ivo hurt and needing assistance, and Henry more than willing to provide it—the two best friends grow closer than ever, forcing a realization, and a decision. Risk their friendship for their hearts? Or can they have both?

From the bestselling author of Rule Breaker and Deal Maker comes a tender love story about two best friends who are perfect for each other, and always have been – if only they knew it.

*This is the third book in the Mixed Messages series, but it can be read as a standalone

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4.25 Stars

HENRYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

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I’ve been waiting my whole life forever since Rule Breaker for Henry to FINALLY get his chance to come alive. Let me just tell you that Henry did NOT disappoint. Henry and Ivo together are FIYAHHHHH!

Henry’s a family lawyer, great friend, hook-up champion, and in love with his best friend Ivo. He’s stable, loyal, comfortable with the routine of his life, and has decided to find love… or at least something close to it since he can’t have who he truly wants. Did I mention he’s a ginger? Lots of good things going for Henry.

Ivo is an artist and photojournalist. He travels more than he’s at home in London with his roommate, Henry.

“Over the years he has danced in and out of my life, chasing his dreams of being a photojournalist and running from his demons in faraway lands.”

After an injury, Ivo has to stay put for a bit and that’s when the “friendship” changes. I adore Henry and Ivo together. Their back and forth had me laughing out loud. The antics they get up to with their friends had me cackling. This book has a much heavier feel than I was expecting. Ivo and Henry have a lot of baggage from the past that prevents them from moving forward and leaving readers with a major case of feels. There’s lotssssssss of pining y’all. It takes a million years (well, it seemed like it in booklandia) for them to move forward.

Henry and Ivo have a natural intimacy that goes beyond being best friends. Once the seal is broken on the physical aspect of their relationship, it’s game on. They have sex on lock down. Communication about their relationship?? Not so much. Who needs to talk when there’s sex? The restaurant scene… *bites fist* Hot AF. Ivo is a master at keeping them on one track filled with orgasms. I love Ivo with his quick wit and humor. I’ll forgive him for his interesting takes on some of my favorite stories. Let’s talk about Chutter sandwiches. *gag* Is that an actual thing. I’m too afraid to Google it. 🤢

Much of the MCs foundation happens off page from their childhood. We are privy to glimpses through flashbacks but not a lot. However, I didn’t need more. I felt their connection, friendship, and love.

Risk Taker *could* be read as a stand alone but both couples from previous books are still very much a part of the story. Lily Morton’s writing is always refreshing and I appreciate the dual POVs with how different Ivo and Henry are. There is one little critique that I had but it’s a preference thing. The way the conflict was resolved through the end felt a little off. I was waiting for something epic and walked away feeling happy with the HEA but slightly disappointed with how everything came to fruition.

A trigger warning should be added for flashbacks that depict verbal and physical abuse. I really enjoyed Risk Taker and definitely recommend it.

Is it too soon to demand request Silas’ story? Asking for a friend…

“‘You don’t have to be anything other than yourself with me,’ I say steadily. ‘That’s always been our truth, and it always will be.’”

Copy provided for honest review.

Ravensong (Green Creek #2)

Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by TJ Klune: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Ravensong (Green Creek, #2)

Blurb:

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.

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4.5 Stars

PackPackPackPack

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I may have damaged some ear drums in my squealing excitement following the news that Ravensong was in the works. Mark and Gordo had so much angst, anger, and longing going on in Wolfsong that I just knew their journey would be hard. However, this is TJ we’re dealing with, so hard is an understatement for the mountains Mark and Gordo have to climb to find a bit of peace.

So many feels.

It kicked my ass.

My face leaked.

It hurt. So. Good.

Ravensong is intense, fast paced, and gruesome. It doesn’t let up until the end.

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Mark and Gordo were everything to each other once upon a time. We get a glimpse of the love and then heartbreak between them as they’re separated. The anger left in its wake is almost tangible and long lasting. With everything going on in Green Creek and Gordo being the Bennett’s witch again, Mark and Gordo have to put aside their differences for the sake of the pack. Slowly, cracks start to develop in their hardened walls and the journey to each other is painful but satisfying to “watch.”

Wolfsong continues to be my #1 but this isn’t too far behind. We don’t get the overly emotional displays that we had from Joe and Ox. The life stages are different and the men are hardened by tragedy and betrayal. I went through the whole read knowing it wouldn’t be as lovey dovey or swoon worthy and I was right… until 2 sentences proceeded to melt my heart and make me giddy. Side note: The early days when Mark was *wooing* Gordo had be grinning like a fool.

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Although this book highlighted the relationship between Mark and Gordo finding their way to coupledom, it’s so much more. The Pack is a major element and their growth towards cohesion and being battle ready takes center stage. I have major heart eyes for all the characters, the family they’ve built, and the strength each possesses no matter their species. With being such a serious book, there are many opportunities to take a much needed breath with the crazy antics and conversations that pop up. I’m excited to see how these relationships evolve throughout the series.

Ready for one hell of a rollercoaster ride with the Bennett’s? Grab your blanket, glass(es) of wine, and a bottle of antacids. Definitely recommended.

P.S. It wouldn’t hurt to revisit Wolfsong as a refresher before diving in because it references things that we *should* know already but may not remember.

P.P.S. I’m ready for Kelly and Robbie. Like, yesterday. 😍😍😍

P.P.P.S(is this even a thing?). I’m ready for Carter’s story tomorrow (Too soon?). Please and Thank you.

Copy provided for honest review.

Skating Through

Skating Through by Jennifer Cosgrove: Review by Lost in a Book

Skating Through

Blurb:

There are two things Ben Lewis has convinced himself he can never have at the same time: playing hockey and being openly gay. Hockey is looking to be his only choice. Until now. Being captain of the team and starting his senior year of high school is a lot to handle. Throw in a budding friendship with his crush, Marcus, and Ben is faced with deciding if he’s brave enough to take the next step.

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2.5 Stars

So…

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Skating Through didn’t grab me like I was hoping it would. I’m a huge fan of Y/A and coming of age stories. It wasn’t bad. Or good. It just… was??

Ben Lewis is a high school hockey player that’s firmly in the closet. He has a best friend named Ryan that’s his only source of companionship where he can truly be himself and the rest of the time isolates himself from real relationships. Ben has had a crush on a fellow student (Marcus) but hasn’t pursued anything for fear of outing himself to his team and family.

Marcus is bright, sassy, and refuses to hide. He can pull off any shade of hair and isn’t afraid to show his interest in Ben. Both boys rarely see each other until the summer before their senior year where they’re constantly in the same place and eventually form a friendship.

Other than that, nothing really happened. Yes, coming out of the closet is a huge deal. I don’t need dramatics in everything I read and can appreciate realistic situations and reactions. But for me, the main characters were boring. There was some odd story line through the plot about a historical connection. I think it was supposed to help drive the plot but seemed out of place- almost like it was added after the rest of the story was written. The “tell and not show” writing in this book is everywhere and drove me a tad crazy. There’s a lot of daily minutiae included on page but the meat of the story happened off page.

At least I liked their friends.

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If you’re looking for a sweet, no drama, low angst, rated G read, this could be for you. I like my YA or Coming or Age stories to pack a little more of a punch but YMMV.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Trust to Follow

A Trust to Follow by Diana Waters: Review by Lost in a Book

A Trust to Follow (Wild Magics #1)

Blurb:

Daymon is the second prince of a kingdom in which Evokers—those who possess intuitive magical abilities—have long since been treated with fear and mistrust. Marked as an Evoker himself, Daymon is captured by those who wish to take advantage of these powers. Now, the prince must put his faith in Rhyder, the captain of his guards—and the man Daymon has claimed as his own—to free him.

 

 

 

 

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3.5 Stars

Thinking about my rating and review for A Trust to Follow had me spinning around in circles. I liked it, really liked it and yet I felt like I was dropped in the middle of a story and what I really wanted was like a dangled carrot I could never quite reach.

Prince Daymon and the Captain of his guard, Rhyder are long time lovers. Prince Daymon claimed him for himself and they spend their days trying to change the prejudice and fear surrounding those with magical abilities (Evokers). Prince Daymon is an Evoker and gets into many dicey situations trying to change perceptions and thwart harmful acts against other Evokers. This lands him in trouble as he tries to save a fellow mage from an attack and gets himself captured.

We follow along in Daymon’s mind as he lives through his captivity and the enormous faith he has in Captain Rhyder.

As I mentioned above, I liked it. The writing kept me connected, the ‘story’ was interesting, and at the same time I wanted more. This seemed more like an extended scene rather than a full story. I want the story of how Daymon and Rhyder met, became friends, allies, and then eventual lovers. I want the parts of them fighting off evil acts to make a better name for Evokers as they fall in love. Instead, we are dropped in when there was already a claiming, most of the scene/story they are separated, and we are provided very little flashbacks on how they came to be.

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I’m not sure if this should be the start to a series but it does a decent job of explaining Evokers and the trials they face to make it in a world that’s set to hate them for merely existing. I think if Daymon and Rhyder got their story, this would be a nice bonus addition. Still, it worked in its own way. Recommended.

Copy provided by author in exchange for honest review.

Blessed by Maggie Blackbird is out Now!

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If you enjoy reading contemporary romance about Canada’s Indigenous people, then there’s a great chance you’ll enjoy Blessed, the first book in the Matawapit Family trilogy published by eXtasy Books.  Each novel can be read as a stand-alone.

A mixed-blood Catholic seminarian struggles to discern his true calling:  the priesthood or his ex-lover, a proud but damaged Ojibway man.

It’s been ten years since Emery Matawapit sinned, having succumbed to temptation for the one thing in his life that felt right, another man.  In six months he’ll make a life-changing decision that will bar him from sexual relationships for the rest of his life.

Darryl Keejik has a decade-long chip on his shoulder, and he holds Emery’s father, the church deacon, responsible for what he’s suffered:  the loss of his family and a chance at true love with Emery.  No longer a powerless kid, Darryl has influence within the community—maybe more than the deacon, and he intends on using his new-found power to destroy Deacon Matawapit and the church.

Hoping to save the church, Emery races home.  But stopping Darryl is harder than expected when their sizzling chemistry threatens to consume Emery.  Now he is faced with the toughest decision of his life:  please his devout parents and fulfill his call to the priesthood, or remain true to his heart and marry the man created for him.

An erotic spiritual journey…

Amazon Buy Links:  Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com.au

Other Buy Links:  Kobo | Smashwords | Google | Barnes and Noble

 

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Author Bio:  An Ojibway from Northwestern Ontario, Maggie resides in the country with her husband and their fur babies, two beautiful Alaskan Malamutes.  When she’s not writing, she can be found pulling weeds in the flower beds, mowing the huge lawn, walking the Mals deep in the bush, teeing up a ball at the golf course, fishing in the boat for walleye, or sitting on the deck at her sister’s house, making more wonderful memories with the people she loves most.

Web Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Blog

Confessions: Priest by Ella Frank Blog Tour

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Confessions: Priest, book three in the steamy contemporary MMM Confessions Series from Ella Frank, is available NOW!

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I am complex.

My love is all-encompassing.

And when it comes to my heart, there is only one rule:

Don’t mess with what’s mine.

Until the age of seven, I was Joel Alexander Donovan, son of Jimmy.

The man who terrorized a town and made its citizens fear

the very ground he walked on. Including me,

the day I realized that ground ran red with blood.

At age eighteen, I became Priest.

A man without a past.

A man determined to right the wrongs of my father.

A man who never believed anyone could love the son of such a monster.

But then a thief stole my heart.

A sweetheart lit up my world.

And I forgot for a moment you should never turn your back on your enemy.

And thus begins a lesson to those who would seek to harm: Never underestimate what the Priest will do to protect the Princess and the Prick.

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Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2waxq4X

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/ConfessionsPriest

Add to GoodReads: https://bit.ly/2MbqMTy

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Start the series with Confessions: Robbie today!
Amazon US:http://amzn.to/2HdQ7IU

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/confessionsrobbie

Add To Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2EWp3Aq

Excerpt:

CHAPTER ONE

CONFESSION

My name is not Joel Priestley.

My name is Joel Alexander Donovan.

And a long time ago, I was taught that things

aren’t always what they appear to be—and neither are people.

JOEL PRIESTLEY, A.K.A Priest, sat behind the wheel of his Aston Martin with his hands at the ten and two positions and his seatbelt fastened. He’d been sitting like that for the past thirty minutes or so. Ever since he’d pulled the vehicle into its designated parking spot alongside his and Julien’s—his husband’s—black Range Rover.

Sinatra had been keeping him company, as Priest tried to block out the phone call he’d made back in his office to Henri. But no matter how loud he played the charismatic crooner, nothing seemed to lessen the impact of Henri’s words and the way they had made Priest’s stomach coil.

“Nice to know you can at least follow an order if it’s to keep those you love safe… Be careful; keep an eye out…”

And that was what he’d been doing for the past thirty minutes or so. Sitting in his car, with his eyes trained on the rearview and side mirrors, as his paranoia over what used to only exist in the shadows began to slowly creep back out into the light of day.

Priest gritted his teeth and reminded himself that Jimmy wasn’t out of prison just yet and likely wouldn’t be for some time. He wasn’t about to appear out of thin air to exact absolution for what he believed was Priest’s biggest crime—abandonment. But that didn’t mean Jimmy hadn’t reached out to the others to find him. To track down the son who had turned his back on his family if, and when, he walked free.

Priest cursed and slammed the heel of his palm against the steering wheel, then he reached for the seatbelt’s release, and as it retracted across his chest, he reached up and shoved it off his shoulder where it caught. As it snapped into place, Priest pulled the handle of the door and got out of the car. He needed to get upstairs. To get inside a locked lobby, where a security guard walked the halls, and his condo had a deadbolt on the front door. It was one of the main reasons he’d been interested in Logan’s place to begin with. The additional barriers between him and those he loved—and anyone who may want to hurt them.

Julien had already texted to let Priest know he and Robbie arrived home safely. But as of yet, Priest hadn’t heard anything from Robbie, their boyfriend. Not that he’d expected to. The last image Priest had of their princess was an ashen face and betrayal in those usually bright blue eyes, and Christ, Priest wished he could erase that picture from his mind.

The three of them had been making such headway lately. They had moved past the getting-to-know-you, comfortable stage of their relationship, and had been thisclose to slipping into that space where the heart and soul of the one whose body you were worshiping was coveted.

But that had all changed now. The truth about his father having wiped out any trust he may have built with Robbie, judging by the expression on his face before Priest had left the brewhouse.

All the joy, and all the happiness, the closeness the three of them had been reveling in, had been smothered by the dark cloud that descended on them, and Priest had a feeling it was going to take a lot of explaining on his behalf before they could get out from under it—if they ever could.

Priest jabbed the button of the garage elevator, and when the doors slid open, he ran his key fob over the panel and hit the floor button. He leaned against the back wall and shut his eyes, and as the elevator ascended, he wondered how he was going to explain all of this to Robbie.

He’d only ever had to do it once before. Only ever found one other he deemed important enough to share this side of himself with. And he’d been just as apprehensive, just as sick to his stomach, at the thought of revealing all to Julien, as he was heading up to face Robert Bianchi.

Priest walked down the hallway toward their condo like a man heading toward his execution—or the execution of their new relationship—and when he got to the front door, he paused before entering.

Scanning the hallway, he looked to his left, where their neighbor lived on the other side of the corridor, before he took a final glance back in the direction he’d come. Once he was satisfied there was no one about, he unlocked the door and headed inside.

The first thing he noticed upon entry was how quiet it was. Lately, when he’d arrived home from work, the TV was on and there was the sound of someone doing something or other in the living room or kitchen. But not this afternoon.

Right now, the place felt more like a library. The kind of space where you should tiptoe and whisper in case you offended whoever was inside—provided there was someone there to offend in the first place.

But that was just his paranoia creeping in again. Of course someone was inside—two someone’s, in fact. Julien had told him so, and when Priest stepped out of the short hallway, he spotted his husband immediately.

Julien was curled up on the couch with a blanket over his legs and his phone in hand, and the second Priest moved into view, Julien’s legs came out from under him and he got to his feet. He dropped the phone on the cushion beside him, and as the blanket fell from his lap, it crumpled to the soft rug without a sound.

Julien rushed around the couch and hurried over to Priest, and when he reached him, Julien took his face between his hands and pressed a hard kiss to his lips.

Mon Dieu, Joel,” Julien said. “I’ve been a mess worrying over you. I’m so glad you’re home.”

Priest wound his arms around Julien’s waist, anchoring himself to the man who understood him in ways Priest had never imagined possible. “You don’t know how much I needed to hear that.”

Julien trailed his fingers down the scruff on Priest’s cheek and frowned. “Was there really any doubt?”

Priest shut his eyes and let Julien soothe him in the way that only he could. His touch, his words, this man’s mere presence—they were all vital to Priest’s survival. Priest let go of Julien’s waist to cover the hand still cradling his cheek.

There were so many things he needed to say: “I’m sorry”or “You were right.I should’ve told Robert about this the second I found out.”But right then, all Priest could manage was: “There was no doubt. Not about you. Neverabout you.”

Julien’s eyes softened as Priest’s shifted over his husband’s shoulder to the closed door of their bedroom. “Is he still here?”

Oui.”

“I…” Priest paused as he searched for the words. “I wasn’t sure that he would be.”

“I wasn’t either,” Julien admitted, and when Priest locked eyes with him again, Julien added, “He’s been in there since we got home. Hasn’t said a word.”

“That was more than an hour ago.”

Julien nodded. “I know. But he made it very clear he wasn’t ready to talk about things yet.”

Not knowing what to say to that, Priest put his keys on the coffee table, and Julien placed a hand on his back.

“Listen, he’s processing right now. What he found out about Jimmy… It’s a lot, mon amour.”

“It’s more than that, Julien. You saw his face when he found out.”

Oui, I did. I also spoke to him in the car on the way home.”

“He thinks I lied to him. Doesn’t he?” When Julien didn’t reply, Priest ran a hand through his hair. “Fuck,” he said. “Fuck. I should’ve told him about all of this before he moved in.”

“And when should you have done that? At CRUSH? On our first date with him? Or maybe the second, when he had dinner here? I’m surethat would’ve made him feel right at home. There hasn’t been a good opportunity. You know that,” Julien reminded him, and touched his fingers to the sleeve of Priest’s jacket. “He just needs time to—”

“No,” Priest said, shaking his head. “Time gives people a chance to distort things. To make them doubt what they once believed. You and I know that better than anyone. I won’t have him doubting this. Doubting us, Julien. Not because of fucking Jimmy. I’m going to go and talk to Robert, and he’s going to listen, and then the three of us are going to sit down and discuss this.”

Something flashed in Julien’s expression, but instead of saying what was on his mind, he let go of Priest’s arm and said, “Okay.”

Priest narrowed his eyes in question, but Julien remained quiet. So Priest turned on his heel and headed toward their bedroom to track down their boyfriend and try to make things right again.

About Ella

Ella Frank is the USA TodayBestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite contemporary romance, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Phillips.

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