Kitty's Book Spot!

Kitty's Book Spot!

 

 

"You keep writing, I'll keep reading."

Quote
“You know, I can always tell when you’re not really angry, because you get loud and you swear a lot. When the anger’s real, you’re quiet and it’s way more scary.”
Dark of Night - Suzanne Brockmann

Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann

(Troubleshooters series, Book #14)

Review
4 Stars
Trust
Kind of Famous - Mary Marlowe

This is book #3, in Flirting With Fame series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader understanding, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Layla is starting work at a new job in New York.  She wants to do well but it worried if anyone finds out about her past with her blog, it will be all over.  Secrets make it hard to move forward.

 

Shane goes after what he wants - and he wants Layla.  Right from the beginning they share a spark and a sense of humor.  Can they make a future with the past staying hidden?  If it all comes out will they get past the deceit of a withheld story?

 

The music business is treacherous at best, but the characters in this series are HOT and they know it.  This story was full of sizzle and sexy.  I loved that there was room for bonds of friendship to form under high pressure conditions too.  The characters were complicated and made for an interesting read.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review by Netgalley and its publisher.

Review
5 Stars
Stubborn
She Loves Me (Harmony Pointe Book 3) - Melissa Foster

This is book # 3 in the Harmony Pointe series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  To avoid spoilers, and to fully understand the series, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Piper is very set in her ways.  She realizes she wants a family, like her siblings, but is not sure how to get that into her lifestyle of working on a construction crew.  She is well respected in her field, and has no prospects right now.

 

Harley takes exception to Piper not acknowledging him in her life.  True they are friends.  The best of friends, really.  He has loved her for years and now wants her to see how much she loves him too.

 

Such a sweet and slow burn.  I found this to be a really good read.  The story has amazing heat and sexy times, but still is very touching and sincere in its friendship values.  I loved the banter of all the friends.  This series is great and this was such a good installment!  I give this read a 5/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers, in exchange for an honest review only.

Review
4 Stars
Release Blitz - Easy Reunion

RELEASE BLITZ

EASY REUNION by Tracey Jerald

Release Date: March 30, 2020

Cover Design: Amy Queau - QDesign

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

AMAZON PURCHASE LINK
 


SYNOPSIS

 

It’s always harder to forgive yourself...

Against her better judgment, Kelsey Kennedy flies in for her high school reunion. Since her classmates are as cruel to her as when she last saw them on graduation day, she has no difficulty bailing on the event for the hotel bar. Only it’s there she comes face-to-face with the most painful part of her past.

And he doesn’t recognize her.

Taking full advantage of her anonymity, Kelsey gives herself one night with Rierson Perrault, the boy from her childhood dreams. Being no one's fool, she makes sure she’s gone the next morning before he can ask any questions.

Ry didn’t realize the woman he spent the night with was Kelsey. But when he puts it together, he’s sick at heart. He’s lost his chance to reconcile with her; the only reason he went to the reunion to begin with. Kicking himself for not figuring it out sooner, he returns home embittered.

When Kelsey and Ry meet again in the heart of New Orleans, will another fifteen years need to pass before they find the right words to say? Or will they finally listen to each other's hearts so their easy reunion can begin? 


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Easy ReunionEasy Reunion by Tracey Jerald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

High School Reunion's can be fun or they can be devastating. Kelsey has returned to the scene of the crime as it were. Those around her in high school were cruel to the point of physical violence. She only came back because her best friend in the world thinks it will help her move on and let go.

Rierson AKA "Ry" was always the best looking in school. He was the only defender of her honor. Until the Graduation Day when he didn't. The biggest reason she never returned until now. When they see one another its explosive. In a different way.

Such an amazingly sweet, yet very hot story. The touchy subject of bullying is handled so well it moved me to tears. I was impressed with the dark subject matter, that I ended up loving the book anyway. The characters are so easy to fall for, and reading their reunion and eventual HEA makes it all worthwhile.


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews 

 

 


 

GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon Gift Card
DIRECT LINK
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Tracey Jerald knew she was meant to be a writer when she would re-write the ending of books in her head on her bike when she was a young girl growing up in southern Connecticut. It wasn’t long before she was typing alternate endings and extended epilogues “just for fun”.

After college in Florida, where she obtained a degree in Criminal Justice swearing she saw things she’ll never quite believe and never quite forget, Tracey traded the world of law and order for IT.

Her work for a world-wide internet startup transferred her to Northern Virginia where she met her husband in what many call their own happily ever after. They have one son.

When she’s not busy with her family or writing, Tracey can be found in her home in north Florida drinking coffee, reading, training for a runDisney event, or feeding her addiction to HGTV.

 



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Cover Reveal - Sure Shot

 

 

Sure Shot by Sarina Bowen
A standalone in the Brooklyn Bruisers Series
Release Day: May 12, 2020

CREDITS: Photo by Wander Aguiar, Design by Hang Le

 

 


A new stand-alone hockey romance from USA Today bestseller Sarina Bowen.

On the eve of her thirtieth birthday, successful sports agent Bess Beringer is ready to make some changes. Armed with a five-year plan—indexed and color coded—she’ll tackle a few goals in her personal life.

A big, tall, ripped hunk of hockey player who’s just been traded to the Brooklyn Bruisers is not a part of that five year plan. Mark “Tank” Tankiewicz has a lot of baggage. He’s a ride-or-die loner. He’s on the rebound. He’s also the sexiest thing on two legs, and for some crazy reason it’s Bess that he wants.

She knows better. But then she falls stupid in love with him anyway. And for a while it seems like maybe he’ll do the same.

Until she asks him for the one thing he can never give her…
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Review
4 Stars
Blog Tour w/Review - Code Name: Hacker

 

 

Code Name: Hacker

(Jameson Force Security, Book #4)

Sawyer Bennett

Release Date: March 31, 2020

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

I’m not the same Bebe Grimshaw I was years ago. The woman I was spent years behind the bars of the highest security women’s prison in the nation, my punishment for hacking nuclear codes as part of a crime syndicate I’d gotten in way too deep with. The woman I am today doesn’t regret what I did, or the fact that I got caught, but I am remorseful for the years I lost with my son, Aaron. Released from my sentence early thanks to Kynan McGrath, I joined his team at Jameson Force Security and now put my skills to use helping people.

 

I’m just trying to get back a piece of what I lost, focusing solely on raising Aaron and my work at Jameson. As long as I have my son and my career, I’m content. But life has a funny way of letting you know exactly what you need, and when a devastatingly handsome stranger named Griffin befriends Aaron at the park, I have to consider I might be missing something. A part of me that was locked away long ago reawakens, and I find myself looking at Griff in a way I’ve not looked at a man in more than a decade.

 

Just when I think things are starting to look up, my world is turned upside down. Turns out that meeting wasn’t an accident, and things aren’t going my way at all. Griffin Moore is the man sent here to kill me.

 

Download Code Name: Hacker:

 

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Google | Kobo | Print  

| Audible (narrated by Aiden Snow and Savannah Peachwood)

 

 

 

Code Name: Hacker (Jameson Force Security, #4)Code Name: Hacker by Sawyer Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #4, in the Jameson Force Security series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader to understand series, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this fast paced series in order.

Briana Belle AKA "Bebe" has gotten a surprising second chance at life with her son. Getting out of prison seemed like an impossibility. Now she is in danger from her past and those whom she has never named when she was put away. She has no idea until the first man she has been attracted to in such a long time comes along.

Griffin knows he must do a job. Only the sparks he feels flowing between himself and the amazing Bebe are so new and amazing. While he does not want his employer to start a killing spree with his name on it, he also does not want to harm a hair on her head. Can they move on past the lies and the secrets?

Right from the very start this book was racing toward the finish line. With enough action to be made into a movie, this series and especially this story suck you in and fulfill an action hero need. Sexy with a good heat level that burns through the whole book, it still shows how a hard man can be tender.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 

 

Enter the new release giveaway!

One lucky winner will win a $50 Amazon gift card to celebrate the release of Code Name: Hacker!

For your chance to WIN, go to --- > https://sawyerbennett.com/giveaways/code - name - hacker/

 

About the Author:

 

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released multiple books, many of which have appeared on the New York Times,USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

 

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

 

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active daughter, as well as full-time servant to her adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or even better, both.

 

Sawyer also writes general and women’s fiction under the pen name S. Bennett and sweet romance under the name Juliette Poe.

 

Connect with Sawyer:

 

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Book + Main Bites | BookBub | Amazon | Newsletter | Master Blogger List

 

 

 

 

Review
4 Stars
Steamy
Burn Zone - Annabeth Albert

Jacob has been in love with Lincoln for a while.  They have had to live apart, since Lincoln would not give them a chance and hurt his best friend.  Jacob being his best friends little brother put a kink in the works.

 

Lincoln is not sure what to do when Jacob not only comes back to town, but works with him as a smoke jumper as well.  He has paid his dues.  The only issue now is can Lincoln let Jacob run in danger and not blow his cover?  His feelings have been hidden and now they may come to light.

 

This story was so HOT!  I mean that in both the figurative & literal ways.  I loved that this was a second chance story.  The job is dangerous, but so is loving someone forbidden.  These characters made losing sleep worth my while, as I could not put this one down until I finished the whole thing.  Lots of sparks a flyin'!  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley & its publishers in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

You can pre-order today:


Amazon | iBooksB&N Kobo | Google

 

 

 

Review
4 Stars
Shatter
Code Name: Hacker (Jameson Force Security, #4) - Sawyer Bennett

This is book #4, in the Jameson Force Security series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader to understand series, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this fast paced series in order.

 

Briana Belle AKA "Bebe" has gotten a surprising second chance at life with her son.  Getting out of prison seemed like an impossibility.  Now she is in danger from her past and those whom she has never named when she was put away.  She has no idea until the first man she has been attracted to in such a long time comes along.

 

Griffin knows he must do a job.  Only the sparks he feels flowing between himself and the amazing Bebe are so new and amazing.  While he does not want his employer to start a killing spree with his name on it, he also does not want to harm a hair on her head.  Can they move on past the lies and the secrets?

 

Right from the very start this book was racing toward the finish line.  With enough action to be made into a movie, this series and especially this story suck you in and fulfill an action hero need.  Sexy with a good heat level that burns through the whole book, it still shows how a hard man can be tender.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

Review
4 Stars
Forgiven
Easy Reunion: A Boudreaux Universe Novel - Tracey Jerald

High School Reunion's can be fun or they can be devastating.  Kelsey has returned to the scene of the crime as it were.  Those around her in high school were cruel to the point of physical violence.  She only came back because her best friend in the world thinks it will help her move on and let go.

 

Rierson AKA "Ry" was always the best looking in school.  He was the only defender of her honor.  Until the Graduation Day when he didn't.  The biggest reason she never returned until now.  When they see one another its explosive.  In a different way.

 

Such an amazingly sweet, yet very hot story.  The touchy subject of bullying is handled so well it moved me to tears.  I was impressed with the dark subject matter, that I ended up loving the book anyway.  The characters are so easy to fall for, and reading their reunion and eventual HEA makes it all worthwhile.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

Review
4 Stars
Release Blitz - That Night

THAT NIGHT by K.I. Lynn - Release Blitz

Release Date: March 23, 2020

Cover Design: Lori Jackson Design
Photographer: Wander Aguiar
Model: Andrew Biernat

Genre: Contemporary Romance


SYNOPSIS

I got pregnant on New Year’s Eve.

That night was hands down the best night of my life. A magical night with the man of my dreams.
The aftermath changed everything.
After weeks of silence from him and a positive pregnancy test, it was safe to say I was in full out panic mode.
Until I walked into a conference room only to find Mr. Man-of-my-dreams-father-of-my-unborn-child at the head of the table.
Turns out the VP of finance isn’t an old boring guy with white hair.
Two different cities.
A baby on the way.
An intense attraction.
And he’s technically my boss.
Life just got even more complicated.


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That NightThat Night by K.I. Lynn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Natasha never takes risks. She arrives at a major party with her best friend and meets the man of her dreams after he spills a drink on her. To ignore the sparks igniting would be crazy.

Richard did not mean to spill a drink. He wouldn't change a thing, since he met the woman he never thought he would. The "One." Now he just has to convince her to let him be a part of her life.

Such a sweet and yet sexy book. These characters know what they want from page one and it is hot hot hot! The lessons to learn here are how to move on from the crazy night. I love the sincerity and friendships this story holds. I also liked the determination. What really rich characters. I could not put it down.


***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

  


PURCHASE LINKS

 

Amazon Universal ~ https://geni.us/blo1Au 

B&N ~ http://bit.ly/2TmQud5 

iBooks ~ https://geni.us/HGoezsi 

Kobo ~ http://bit.ly/2wqdjns

 


 

GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon Gift Card

DIRECT LINK

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

K.I. Lynn is the USA Today Bestselling Author from The Bend Anthology and the Amazon Bestselling Series, Breach. She spent her life in the arts, everything from music to painting and ceramics, then to writing. Characters have always run around in her head, acting out their stories, but it wasn’t until later in life she would put them to pen. It would turn out to be the one thing she was really passionate about.

Since she began posting stories online, she’s garnered acclaim for her diverse stories and hard hitting writing style. Two stories and characters are never the same, her brain moving through different ideas faster than she can write them down as it also plots its quest for world domination…or cheese. Whichever is easier to obtain… Usually it’s cheese.


CONNECT WITH K.I. LYNN

 

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Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/2sIocO8

BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/

 


Review
5 Stars
Boom
Pop Star - Eden Finley

Harley has had quite the scare.  An overzealous fan who threatens him in his own home.  He has never wanted or needed a bodyguard.  Times are about to change.

 

Brix just wants to do his job, get paid, and go home.  He never wanted to get feelings for someone he was charged with protecting.  That was before he was charmed by a musician he has never heard of.

 

I absolutely loved these characters.  I cannot wait for the next installment in this series, and this one isn't even out yet.  Every single one of the characters in this book brought laughter or something fun.  I was completely impressed with the fast pace of the story as well.  Lots of heat, and so may surprises for the reader.  I only wish I could give it more than the 5/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

Review
4 Stars
Heart
More Than Life - Mary Calmes

Hart came to this ranch as someone else's plaything.  Since his lover left, he has been working hard to make the ranch a money maker that can support all who make it happen.  If only he hadn't fallen for the hard Morgan.  If only he were someone to keep.

 

Morgan has been pining secretly for Hart all along.  Has never thought the fun and cheerful owner would need him beyond the ranch.  With all the murder investigating and surprises going on - will there ever be the right time to tell Hart how he feels?

 

I fell in love with everyone on this ranch.  Well, almost.  When you read you will understand.  This story takes you to all the crazy lows, then lifts you so high you do not think you can come down.  I could not put it down.  I am hoping the author will bring us back here for more characters.  They just seem so charming and sexy.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

Review
4 Stars
Blog Tour w/Review - Surrender

 

 

SURRENDER by Fiona Cole - Blog Tour

Release Date: March 18, 2020


Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

 

AMAZON PURCHASE LINK

 


SYNOPSIS

Who knew planning a wedding could be so hard?

He said yes and that had been all that mattered.

So why did he give excuse after excuse to not set a date to say our "I dos"?

Why wasn't he my husband yet?

I didn't know, but by the end of the night, I was going to find out.

No matter what tactics I had to use. Even if they were dirty.

Especially if they were dirty.


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Surrender (Voyeur #3.5)Surrender by Fiona Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book # 3.5, in the Voyeur series. This book should not be read as a standalone novella. It is a story follow up for book # 2, and should be read in order in order not to spoil.

Jackson and Jake's story continues with wedding jokes, venues, and potential mothers-in-law. So much going on that the guys seem not to be connecting like they were. Can the past stay there?

Jake has no idea what has Jackson so upset and tired lately. What happened to wanting to be married? What happened to forever? He is going to find out no matter what.

This short and sexy novella was a perfect glimpse into the lives of the guys we were missing. What a great series. So much to these characters and we are so glad to have more time with them. I loved this great read.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews 

 


PURCHASE LINK

Amazon Universal ~ https://geni.us/fS12OI


GIVEAWAY

$25 Amazon Gift Card

DIRECT LINK

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Fiona Cole is a military wife and a stay at home mom with degrees in biology and chemistry. As much as she loved science, she decided to postpone her career to stay at home with her two little girls, and immersed herself in the world of books until finally deciding to write her own.


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Review
4 Stars
Family
That Night - K.I. Lynn

Natasha never takes risks.  She arrives at a major party with her best friend and meets the man of her dreams after he spills a drink on her.  To ignore the sparks igniting would be crazy.

 

Richard did not mean to spill a drink.  He wouldn't change a thing, since he met the woman he never thought he would.  The "One."  Now he just has to convince her to let him be a part of her life.

 

Such a sweet and yet sexy book.  These characters know what they want from page one and it is hot hot hot!  The lessons to learn here are how to move on from the crazy night.  I love the sincerity and friendships this story holds.  I also liked the determination.  What really rich characters.  I could not put it down.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

Review
4 Stars
Saved
Keeping Her Secrets - Maddie Wade

Asher AKA "Ash" is so attracted to Mustique AKA "Mari" he can barely contain his reaction to her.  She seems to feel the same way.  So why does she turn him away?  Why not take a chance?  He wants to be there and help Mari, if he can.

 

Mari has a lot more to lose with this current mission.  She is afraid to ask for help.  She does not want to put the few she cares about in danger.  It would help if she could resist the charm and sexy man that is Ash.  He distracts her.

 

This was such a fast pace and action filled story.  I loved how every chapter had something the keep my interest.  Teasing me with some of my favorite characters from other series, I loved getting a glimpse of them throughout the book.  With multiple surprises and some serious badass characters, I turned each page eagerly.  I give this read a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was provided in return for an honest review only.

Review
3 Stars
Blog Tour w/Review - What He Really Needs

 

Title: What He Really Needs

Author: Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood

Publisher: Wainscott Press

Release Date: March 20, 2020

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 85,000 words

Genre: Romance, Gay romance, M/M romance, Legal romance, Gay suspense and adventure romance

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

Synopsis

 

Sometimes, it takes a second chance to get things right.

 

Cayo Suárez, who is gay, and Ben Roth, an admitted Oblivious Straight Guy, were roommates in law school, but two years after graduating, they have lost touch. After an accidental meeting, Cayo invites Ben to stay with him while Ben looks for his own apartment.

 

There’s only one complication, but it’s a big one—Cayo has been in love with Ben since they met. What begins as a heartwarming reunion of old friends heats up quickly, and Ben starts to wonder if he’s as straight as he always thought he was. Cayo and Ben reconnect in a most unexpected way, but their jobs complicate things. Cayo works for low-income people at Legal Assistance, and Ben works for the man.

 

When Ben and Cayo become involved in a controversial case, powerful people with a lot to lose seize control of the situation. They want to bend the case’s outcome to their own nefarious ends, and they’ll destroy anyone who tries to stand up to them. Will Cayo and Ben find a way to save Ben’s career, and their budding relationship, before it’s too late?

 

What He Really Needs is an action-packed book full of warmth and humor, a first-time bisexual awakening, a healthy dose of suspense, steamy sexy times, and an extraordinarily happy ending.

 

 

Excerpt

 

Excerpt from Chapter One

 

Saturday, August 19: Washington, DC

 

Cayo

 

The sticky air was thick with the ripe smell of horny men. Johnny’s was the big gay sports bar in town, and on Saturday nights there was always a kick-ass drag show. At two in the morning, the drag queens had come and gone, and I lost myself in music loud enough to rattle my teeth. It was that time of night when everybody was dancing together, and all eyes were on the lookout for an interested man.

 

I turned around, and just as I noticed a cute blond twink giving me the once-over, I saw him. A dozen yards in front of me was the man I’d moved to DC to get away from. I’d know him anywhere. Dripping with sweat and obviously a couple of sheets to the wind, Ben Roth was dancing his ass off.

 

You’re out of your mind. That last vodka tonic was one too many.

 

The flashing lights made it hard to see, so I started moving in his direction. Since Johnny’s was packed, crossing the busy dance floor wasn’t the easiest thing in the world. I sneaked under and around gyrating bodies, and slid between a few couples who were eye fucking each other for all they were worth. Soon, I was next to him, and there was no doubt. None other than Ben Roth was in one of the most popular gay nightspots in the District.

 

Eyes closed, head thrown back, he seemed oblivious to the madness around him. He still looked like a cross between a teen heartthrob and Prince Charming, with his wavy brown hair and boyishly handsome face. Broad shoulders, muscular pecs, and a trim waist were tantalizing under the damp T-shirt that clung to his torso. He must have sensed someone watching him.

 

Opening his eyes, he scanned the room and slowly turned his head to the side, toward me. His gaze, loosened by too much alcohol, immediately sharpened as he shook his head and blinked his brilliant amber eyes. He curled his lips into the smile that had launched a thousand ships—as well as countless jack-off fantasies—and he jumped at me.

 

“Cayo?”

 

He engulfed me in a bear hug. Lime and honey tickled my nostrils, immediately followed by the unmistakable scent of Ben’s spicy musk. For the three years we had lived together, that peppery, mossy smell gave me a semi every time he came home from a run.

 

I wrapped my arms around him and reveled in the way his toned muscles resisted my squeeze. He pulled me closer, and I felt safe for the first time in who knew how long. I’d honestly thought I would never see him again. Just as his spicy-sweaty essence began to make me feel giddy, I— Started getting hard!

 

Shit!

 

After the way things ended, the last thing I needed was for him to get the idea that he was giving me an erection. Which he wasn’t, of course. It was the excitement of seeing him again, the air in the club being so laden with testosterone, the feel of another man’s arms around me when I’d come here knowing I needed a good fuck. It certainly had nothing to do with—

 

Alarm! Get loose before he notices your cock poking into his leg!

 

I braced my hands against his chest and pushed, successfully extricating myself from his grip.

 

“Ben! What the hell are you doing here?”

 

Confusion and something else—panic?—flashed across his face as he swiped at the moisture on his forehead. He moved his hand to his throat and tugged at the collar of his T-shirt while his eyes darted around.

 

“Let’s go outside. It’s hard to talk in here.”

 

Without waiting for me to respond, he took my hand and led us off the dance floor. It was slow going, but I was so distracted that I hardly noticed.

 

Ben is in DC? In a gay club?

 

As I tried to process that, it occurred to me that he had my hand and was leading me toward the exit of said gay club. His own hand was warm, and the calluses from his workouts were frighteningly sensual against my skin. I used to hope I might get to suck those long, supple fingers one day. Actually, his fingers weren’t the only thing I’d wanted to suck. I remembered—

 

“There, that’s better!” Ben turned, glancing to the side as he took a deep breath. It was ridiculously hot and humid outside for two o’clock in the morning, but the fresh air was a definite improvement over the sweltering heat inside the club. Better still was that the insanely loud music had receded into a dull thud.

 

Ben trained his amber eyes on me but didn’t let go. I shouldn’t have glanced down, because as soon as I did, he dropped my hand like it was on fire.

 

“I’m surprised to see you here,” I managed to say, a little breathlessly, barely resisting the urge to touch my hand to my face. “You’re in town?”

 

Kill me now.

 

He snickered. “Your astute powers of observation haven’t failed you, I see.” Ben had this low voice that had always gotten me going, and it did nothing to deflate the hard-on that had started when he hugged me, and which hadn’t flagged in the least.

 

I had difficulty forming words. My lips moved but nothing came out, and an eternity passed before I was able to say anything. “Why are you here, Ben?”

 

He shrugged, as if what he was about to say was of no importance at all. “I live here now.”

 

The implications of that were too much to consider right then, so I decided to start with the question that buzzed around my brain like a plane caught in a thunderstorm, the question I had to have an answer to right this minute.

 

“At Johnny’s? You live at Johnny’s?” It wasn’t exactly the sentence I’d wanted to put together, but it seemed to telegraph my concern to Ben.

 

He shuffled back and forth on his feet for a moment before he met my eyes. “Let’s go get coffee. We need to talk.”

 

Still struggling to come to terms with the reality that Ben Roth was standing next to me, I was slow to respond.

 

“Or maybe not? Are you with someone?”

 

With someone?

 

Did he mean at Johnny’s with someone, or in a relationship with someone? Stop overthinking things—the answer’s the same either way.

 

“No, I’m not with anyone.” I nodded toward Vermont Avenue. “There’s a late-night diner down the street. We can walk there.”

 

Over Easy was crowded, not unusual for a weekend night. A lot of the men who hadn’t found love at Johnny’s had moved the party down here, and the debriefing was in full swing. The pink plastic booths were all occupied, most of the tables were taken, and people were milling around everywhere, a few of them still in drag. Despite the rowdy throng, we were seated at a table right away.

 

Ordinarily, I’d have resented the claustrophobic location—in a corner in the back, between a supply closet and a wall—but the privacy would be good tonight. Ben and I were apparently going to have a conversation I’d avoided for two years.

 

After we ordered coffee, he passed some time drumming his fingertips against the tabletop. I stayed quiet. Acting like a bastard wasn’t my style, but I wasn’t going to make things too easy for him. After all, the last time we’d been together, he sure hadn’t made things easy for me. The waitress brought our drinks, and Ben finally looked at me when she left.

 

“So, Cayo…?”

 

Really? That’s all you’ve got?

 

“Still my name.” I took a sip of coffee. “So, Ben…?”

 

“It’s not what you’re thinking.” He glanced between me and the tabletop, and kept reaching up to scratch his cheek.

 

I forced my lips into a smile. “You’re going to dig a hole in your face, if you don’t stop that.”

 

“What?” He jumped, almost like he’d forgotten I was there, before he met my eyes. “Oh, sorry.” His little snicker sounded as sweet as ever. “You always used to tell me that.”

 

“It’s good to see you, Ben. What’s going on? You said you live here now?”

 

He put both hands on the table, palms down. “I’m sorry, Cayo. Like really, really sorry.”

 

The din from Over Easy’s drunk and disappointed customers closed in on us while I decided what to say. I kept my gaze on Ben but had to focus on his forehead because his eyes were too dangerous.

 

“You are?”

 

Memories washed over me—it had been raining in Durham, the day after we graduated from law school—and I couldn’t breathe for a few seconds.

 

“Sorry for what, exactly?”

 

He made a humming noise while he shook his head. His eyes got shiny, and since I knew that, I was obviously looking at them now.

 

“For everything.” His voice was lower than usual, and it had a quake I’d never heard before. “For being an absolute bastard to my best buddy. For being a total jerk, somebody you know isn’t me and never was.”

 

The emotion on his face surprised me. “Tu campo? Is that what I was? Your best buddy?”

 

It was perhaps the tiniest scoff in the history of the world, but I heard it.

 

“Well, yeah. How can you even ask that?”

 

Because even now, I want what we had to have been more. Maybe I still believe it was more.

 

“Why did you act like that, Ben? Treat me like that? It fucking hurt, worse than you’ll ever know.”

 

“I was….”

 

He cleared his throat and took a sip of coffee. “I don’t know. You shocked me. It had only been a year since Amy left, and I…. You and I were….”

 

My stomach clenched into a painful knot, and I decided that perhaps I wasn’t ready for this conversation, after all. “You said you live here now? You mean in DC?”

 

He opened his mouth and tried to say something. When that failed, he took a deep breath. “I tried to call you so many times. Sent you dozens of emails and texts, kept it up for a year.”

 

“You did?”

 

He flattened his lips into a small frown. “Come on, man. You never blocked me. The phone would ring and ring before it went to voicemail.”

 

At least I knew you were thinking about me. I stared at his forehead again. “I wasn’t ready to talk to you, Ben.”

 

He gave a small nod. “Fair enough. I left you alone for a while, but last Christmas something woke me up, and I’ve wanted to talk to you so much since then.” He set his coffee down and leaned over the table. “I’ve almost called you so many times. I decided last week to get in touch as soon as I got to DC, which was only this morning, actually. I was going to find you, Cayo.”

 

“Well, you found me, so talk.”

 

He sat back in his chair and put out his hands. “I panicked. I don’t really understand why. You know I don’t have any issues with gay people. My brother’s gay, for God’s sake.”

 

“I know, but you still—”

 

In a flash, he reached across the table and grabbed my hand, words rushing out of him in a torrent of emotion. “I love you, Cayo.” He opened his eyes wide but didn’t slow down. “I mean, not like that, but you were my best friend. We always had so much fun together, were there for each other in so many ways. When Amy left, I was so broken and needy, and you got me through it. I started depending on you, way more than I had any right to. I—” He caught himself and lowered his head, though he kept my hand.

 

It must have been about sixty degrees in the overcooled restaurant, but a bead of sweat rolled down the back of my neck.

 

“You what?”

 

He remained quiet, and I squeezed his hand. He still didn’t move.

 

“Look at me, Ben.”

 

Slowly, he raised his head.

 

“You were saying…?” I prompted.

 

He exhaled, puffing out his cheeks and lips. “I’m not going to deny it. I felt things, about you. I got confused, and it weirded me out.”

 

I cocked my head, needing to be sure I understood him correctly. “You felt what about me?”

 

“I wanted you!” His voice was loud, and he brought it back down. “I wanted you in bed, but it wouldn’t have been right. I would’ve just been projecting feelings onto you because I didn’t have a girlfriend. You deserved more.”

 

I squeezed his hand again. “Go on. Please.”

 

His eyes, already bright, grew wet. “You were family to me for three years, all through law school. We shared so much, Cay. Remember how we used to talk all night long? I never pulled an all-nighter studying, but who knows how many all-nighters we pulled hanging out, talking about anything and everything?” He smiled. “We had such great times. All those road trips—going to ride roller coasters around the country, visit places neither of us had ever been. If we thought a game might be good, we’d just jump in the car and go see it. Didn’t matter where it was.” He chuckled. “I wore out a car in law school having the time of my life with you.” His voice choked, and he struggled for control before he went on. “You were the best friend I could ever imagine. When I started having all those crazy thoughts, I was barely able to manage them. Then, when you told me you’d been in love with me all along, when you kissed me, I panicked. You needed somebody who could offer you a future, and since I’m not gay, that wasn’t me. It was either get uber pissed off, or say to hell with it and use you, but that would have left both of us feeling like shit.”

 

I glared at him until I could get words out. “Well, what you chose to do certainly left both of us feeling like shit.”

 

He still held my hand and squeezed it hard.  “I’d give anything to change what happened.”

 

“Why didn’t you talk to me that night?” I had to clear my throat. “It took me so long to work up the courage to tell you how I felt, to ask if there was a chance you might feel the same way.” Sadness rushed into my heart and I did my best to push it away. “I had to ask, Ben.”

 

His voice was very soft. “I knew even then how much you trusted me, to be able to tell me, but I acted like a crazy fool and treated my best friend like a piece of shit.” He shuddered. “When I realized what I’d done, how I’d—”

 

Tears spilled down his cheeks, and my heart skipped a beat. I leaned across the table toward him. “Hey.”

 

He squeezed his eyes shut and the cascade of tears continued. When he sobbed, I let go of a breath I’d been holding onto for two years.

 

“Oh, Ben.” I sat quietly until he calmed down.

 

“Please forgive me, Cay. I was a damned coward, and I should’ve told you what I was feeling.” He shook his head. “I’ve been a damned coward ever since. I could have come to see you, gotten right in your face until you listened to me.”

 

My own eyes overflowed at that point, and there we sat—two guys, holding hands, crying in public. Anywhere else in town, we’d have probably attracted some attention, but sitting in Over Easy at two forty-five on a Sunday morning, no one even turned a head.

 

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What He Really NeedsWhat He Really Needs by Ryan Taylor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cayo and Ben went through law school as best friends and roommates. Then something happens and its another two years before they see one another again. In an accidental meeting and an incredible twist of fate, they end up at the same place at the same time.

Ben has had feelings for Cayo that he does not understand. He is still coming to terms with how he is feeling and what he is going to do about it. Only now, it may be too late. With work and fate at opposite ends, this may be a story of ships in the night.

I found this book to have a very quick pace. I was not a real fan of the approach. I found it choppy and disruptive. The story itself is sound, if not fast. Being a true believer that best friends can be more, I gave it a true chance. In the end, I was glad I read the whole thing.

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Meet the Author

 

 

Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and enjoy travel, friends, dogs, and advocating for causes dear to their hearts. Josh and Ryan love writing, and the romance they were so lucky to find with each other inspires their stories about love between out and proud men.

 

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