I’m delighted to feature Hearts Ablaze by A D Ellis. I’m reading the book at the moment and it’s a lovely, light romance (so far!) My review will come in the next post. In the meantime, scroll down for a chance to win a $20 Amazon voucher, and scroll right to the end to read an exclusive extract from this enchanting book!
A.D. Ellis has a new contemporary MM romance out: “Hearts Ablaze.”
Chase Steele and Xander Copperfield are down on their luck, as similar as they are different, and ready for a love they didn’t even realize they’d been waiting on their whole lives.
With two gorgeous “tough guys” discovering and exploring their true selves, Hearts Ablaze is a steamy, slow-burn, friends-to-lovers, opposites attract, bisexual awakening romance.
*This is the first book in the Forged in the City series.*
About the Series:
Love will find you whether you’re ready for it or not. Join the men of the Forged in the City series as they navigate the twists and turns of falling in love when it’s least expected. This series contains steamy, M/M age-gap, opposites-attract, friends-to-lovers romance tropes.
A.D. is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:
Yet, I found myself just outside of the kitchen eavesdropping on Sage and Bode. I hadn’t meant to slink in the shadows and listen to their conversation, I just wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to be and their words caught my attention. Before I knew what was happening, I was spying like a damn spying spier.
“Think about it. It’s like fate. Remember when you didn’t want me to move in here? You did everything you could to convince the guys to pick someone else. But you ended up with me and it turned out to be fabulous.” Sage’s words were low and persuasive. “Ginny finds her long-lost nephew, he discovers his aunt and a sister he never knew, and it looked very much like he and Xan are totally hitting it off.”
“Babe, he’s a complete stranger.” Bode’s words were gruff.
“Ginny had his records checked. You checked his records—even had Mark check them which I’m still not okay with. We could run a complete check for employment.” Sage paused and I heard the soft noises of a gentle kiss.
I was a total perv hiding in the shadows and getting turned on knowing Sage and Bode were kissing.
“We need an employee. We have an extra room.” Sage was laying it on thick. “We could help bring two siblings together and maybe even strike a love connection.”
Bode began to speak, but I missed what he said because I nearly shit myself as Rosie gripped my hand and basically screamed, “Whatcha doin? Why you hidin?”
Sage and Bode stuck their heads out of the kitchen and I prayed to melt into a puddle right there. Rosie shrugged when she realized it wasn’t a game and went back to playing with Oliver.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to listen in.” My words poured from me like the pathetic excuse they were. “Really, I came for coffee, heard Sage and didn’t want to interrupt. By the time I realized you were talking about me, it was too late and I was frozen.” I ran a hand over my face, my cheeks on fire. “Shit, I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t sweat it,” Sage assured and waved a dismissive hand in the air. “Coffee?”
Since I wasn’t lucky enough to die on the spot, I nodded and entered the kitchen. “Yes, please.”
“Well, what would you think?” Bode leaned against the counter.
“About?” I stammered.
Sage beamed at Bode. It was clear Sage had won. Something told me Sage often won when it came to winning over Bode.
“Sage is right. We do need an employee at The Lizard. We lost quite a few people to college graduation or busy school schedules.” Bode shrugged. “We planned on inviting you to be around as much as possible to build a relationship with Rosie. If you’d be willing to have a complete background check, the position and room are yours.”
I stared at him for years. Decades even.
“What’s wrong with him? Did I break him?” Bode scowled and spoke out of the corner of his mouth to Sage.
Sage chuckled and moved closer to me. He pushed my jaw up. “Close your mouth, sweetie.” He stepped between me and Bode. “Chase, would you like a job at The Salty Lizard? It’s not glamorous or exciting.” He frowned. “Actually, it can be kinda exciting sometimes. And it’s always fun. Great people.” He dipped his head to catch my eyes. “Chase? Job? You want it?”
I nodded and tried to work my sandpapery thick tongue. “Yes, yes, of course, I want it.” I tried to breathe, but my lungs seemed to be faltering.
“We have a room here. You’d pay rent, but it’s a decent price. We’d set some ground rules. You’d have to be okay living with kids.” Sage spoke slowly as if trying to explain quantum physics to me. “Would you like the room?”
“I, um, I just can’t. I mean, yes, of course I’d want the room, but I can’t ask you guys to give me a job, give me a room, and let me hang with my sister. It’s too much.” I moved to the right and leaned against the sink.
“Want to talk about the rent and salary? Make a decision from there?” Sage patted my arm.
I nodded mutely.
Sage went to check on the kids and set them up with crayons and coloring books along with Kidz Bop on a tablet.
A.D. Ellis is an Indiana girl, born and raised. She spends much of her time in central Indiana as an instructional coach/teacher in the inner city of Indianapolis, being a mom to two amazing school-aged children, and wondering how she and her husband of almost two decades have managed to not drive each other insane. A lot of her time is also devoted to phone call avoidance and her hatred of cooking.
She loves chocolate, wine with friends, pizza, crocheting and naps along with reading and writing romance. These loves don’t leave much time for housework, much to the chagrin of her husband. Who would pick cleaning the house over a nap or a good book? She uses any extra time to increase her fluency in sarcasm.
Author Website: https://www.adellisauthor.com
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An excerpt from Hearts Ablaze (getbook.at/HeartsAblaze)
“You gonna keep teasing those ducks or actually feed them?” A deep voice to my right startled me from my thoughts.
I jerked my head to the right and found dark hair, dark eyes, and a smirk. Glancing down at my handful of duck food, I looked to the pond and saw the ducks were not so patiently swimming around and scolding me. “Shit, got lost in my own head, I guess. Sorry, ducks.” I tossed the food into the water for them and smiled slightly as they gobbled it up.
“Pretty sure they get fed plenty, but I started to wonder if they were going to come nibble your shins if you didn’t give them their food.” He smiled as he crossed heavily tattooed arms in front of his black t-shirt covered chest. “Ducks can be mean.”
“Nothing like the geese, though.” I shivered.
“Geese are nasty motherfuckers,” the guy agreed with a genuine smile that crinkled the corners of his dark eyes.
I laughed. “I wonder how they keep the geese away from here? I’m surprised they haven’t overrun the ducks.”
He shrugged. “Who knows. Don’t question it. I come here on work breaks sometimes, I do not want to have to deal with geese. No goose poop, no hissing, no chasing, no honking.”
My ears perked up. “You work around here?”
“Over at Whitfield’s Motorcycles Sales and Service.” He threw a thumb over his shoulder to indicate the direction of his place of employment. “Just started there about six months ago. You looking for a job?”
I sagged slightly. “Yeah, definitely looking. But I know next to nothing about motorcycles. I mean, I can drive one, but nothing about selling or fixing them.”
“I think there’s quite a few places hiring around here if you’re not against manual labor or food service.” He seemed to empathize with my job hunt.
“Fucked my knee up in the Army, can’t do all the manual labor I used to be able to do, but I can do a fair share and I’m not against any kind of work at this point. If it pays my rent, I’m in.” I looked back at the ducks before turning to the man again. “You got a place around here?” When he nodded, I continued. “What’s the rent like?”
He winced. “Well, I think my landlord lets me pay a little less than what he could probably get for the place. But the apartment is above the shop. It’s small, but it’s nice. I think most places run anywhere from about $550 to $1200, with the average around $1000.”
I nodded. “Yeah, that’s about what I’ve been thinking. Guess I’ll need to nail down the job first, then figure out the living arrangement.”
“Where you living now?”
“Way down south of town. Rent is cheap, but so is the living space. And my roommate is kinda an ass.” Although, I should have been grateful he let me borrow his car. Speaking of which, I needed to finish my job search and get Todd’s car back to him. “Well, I better get going. Lots of applications to gather.”
He pulled out his phone and checked it. “Yeah, I need to head back to work. Glad I was able to help the poor ducks survive you.” He winked before turning to leave.
My heart fluttered.
What the hell?
My heart fluttered? From a guy I just met—didn’t even know his name—winking at me? I rolled my eyes and watched him walk away. What the hell was I doing? I hadn’t noticed a guy’s ass since high school, and I’d proven to be as shit out of luck in the romance department as the job department. Male or female didn’t matter. In my defense, I hadn’t done a lot of dating.
I’d been on my own since I was eighteen. Before that, being attracted to girls—or that one guy in my Gym class—and dating had been awkward and distracting. After I left home and joined the Army, I really didn’t have the time for dating even if there had been interested parties.
So why was I checking out a stranger’s ass? My sexuality wasn’t something I gave a lot of thought to. I’d spent so much time drowning at home, then enlisted and deployed, and now just trying to survive, that I didn’t have much left to give to a relationship.
Did I find girls attractive? Sure.
Did I find guys attractive? I had to think about that for a moment. The guy in high school—who, at the time, I chalked up to looking up to an upper classman—maybe a couple friends or acquaintances in the Army, and now this guy.
But it didn’t matter. I needed a job and a place to live. I needed to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. I didn’t even know his name and we’d met at a park in a city of almost 900,000; I’d probably never see him again. So, finding him attractive, even if it meant kickstarting a bisexuality I’d pushed to the back of my mind, was a moot point.
I was alone. I’d been alone since I was eighteen. Who was I kidding? I’d been alone for a long time before that. Thanks to a shitastic mother—who may have been dead by now for all I knew and cared—I had no family; at least no family who knew where I was. After being required to leave the Army, I didn’t have friends around. No job meant I didn’t have coworkers. All I had was a sketchy roommate who didn’t like me, and a rent payment that needed paid. I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed before reaching in my pocket. I had just enough change for a soda and one more serving of duck food. And then I had to go get more applications.
I gave the greedy ducks the last few pieces of food before sipping the last of my soda and tossing it in the trashcan. I glanced around the park trying to get an idea of which direction I should head as my phone buzzed with a text.
1-317-555-0102: This is Virginia South. I’m trying to reach Chasen Steele. If this is Chasen’s number, you’d know me best as Aunt Ginny. I have some very important information to share with you. Can you please reply and let me know if I’ve found the right number?
I stared at the phone screen for what seemed like forever. Aunt Ginny?
What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?