Sunday, September 24, 2017

AotM: Rough Edges & Jumping In by Cardeno C. (Reviews + Giveaway)

~Rough Edges
Kyle has an unwelcome crush on his nemesis Brent. Brent has a welcome crush on his friend Kyle. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.
Born on the wrong side of the tracks to the wrong family, Kyle Potter has spent his life clawing his way toward a better future. When he gets the perfect job at the perfect firm in perfect Los Angeles, Kyle is sure there are only blue skies ahead. And then he meets perfect Brent Haralson.
Born with a silver spoon to a well-established family, Brent Haralson has never been interested in leveraging his connections. Friends, success, and dates come easily to Brent and rejection isn’t something he has to deal with in life. And then he meets perfect Kyle Potter.
Kyle despises his unwelcome crush on his lazy, arrogant nemesis. Brent welcomes his feelings for his stubborn, brilliant friend. As it turns out, the line between a friend and an enemy doesn’t have to be a line at all.
This is a 2nd edition without substantive changes from the 1st edition, which was part of the It Was Always You anthology.


4.5 Stars!!!

Kyle is attracted to his frenemy Brent even if he wishes he wasn't. Brent was born with a silver spoon and doesn't do anything with his life, which doesn't sit right with Kyle, who's had to work hard to get everything he has. However, when a twist of fate leaves Kyle without a job and homeless, Brent steps in to help Kyle, offering him a room in his house. Proximity finally makes Kyle realize that perhaps there's more to Brent that he thought before.

While Kyle was a jerk to Brent—who was nothing if not adorable, nice and personable and always trying to help others, including Kyle—and I wanted to slap him more than a couple of times, he grew on me (eventually). Really, I'm not sure why Brent considered him a friend and jumped in to help him considering how Kyle had treated him for the two years they'd known each other. 

As for Brent, well, he was a sweetheart and I loved him from the start and even more so as I knew more about him. Kyle and Brent had great chemistry and the progression from enemies to lovers (in Kyle's case) was pretty realistic. 

It was a fantastic read and it would've been perfect if it'd had an epilogue or at least a chapter more showing us Kyle and Brent as a couple, as it was, I felt the ending was a bit abrupt, but it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the rest of the book. Very recommendable!

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. *** 

4.5 Stars! 

Kyle is mean and Brent just takes it. 
Kyle works hard for everything he has. Brent was raised with a silver spoon. However, Brent is a lot nicer, more caring, more sincere and tender. Brent is funny and a nurturer and even though Kyle pretty much treats him like dirt, Brent still treats him like a friend. 
If this was real life and these were my friends I would not find this funny, cute or hot. Luckily, however, this is fiction so I'll suspend disbelief for a bit and just enjoy it for what it is. I warn you, though, if you are easily angered by an MC who treats the other poorly then read with caution.

Kyle clawed his way up in life from basically nothing. It's caused him to devote his entire life to work and bettering himself. Of course, that means he doesn't have much time for having fun and very little patience for people who don't respect that. Initially meeting Brent, he was interested in getting to know him better but when he finds out Brent doesn't work, choosing instead to live off his sizable trust fund, Kyle immediately begins to resent Brent and wants nothing to do with him.

For two years Brent had to put up with Kyle's acid tongue and cold shoulder. The two share mutual friends and are thrown together time and time again. Brent knows Kyle resents that he lives a blessed life but he wishes he'd realize that Brent isn't his enemy. When he gets the opportunity to lend a hand to help Kyle he decides to show him he's not all bad. If only Kyle will be willing to see him for who he really is.

Not going to lie. I'm not a fan of Kyle and until the end he truly annoyed me. He's extremely judgmental and rude and with such a sweet man like Brent, it made me even more mad. If I could, I would have chewed Kyle out but since it's a story and I can't, I put my kindle down for a few.

When I picked it back up, I found myself loving this short tale of two very different men who worked so well together. They had great chemistry and were hot together. I just wish the story were longer because I would love to see what the future holds for them now that Kyle has decided to no longer be a jerk.

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***

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~Jumping In
When love's on the line, the brave jump in with both feet...
Small town cop Clint Rivera can’t catch a break. His ex of two weeks is suddenly getting married, his dogs tore up his furniture, he’s getting evicted, and he’s out of beer. When he decides to solve his alcohol shortage by going to his ex’s engagement party, Clint winds up too drunk to drive himself home. Enter gorgeous deputy mayor Hawk Black, the man who constantly shows up unexpectedly and sends Clint’s body and mind into a tailspin with nothing but his whiskey voice and blue eyes.
After months of patience, Hawk can finally seduce the man he’s been craving. Clint’s day might not have started out well, but Hawk’s going to make sure it ends with a bang, preferably in bed. He’ll show Clint some rewards are worth the risk.
With love on the line, Clint will need to decide if he can open his heart, tear down his shields, and jump in with both feet.
This is a 2nd edition without substantive changes from the 1st edition.


4 Stars

Clint comes back from a two-week vacation to find that he's been evicted from his home, his dogs have destroyed his furniture and he's out of beer, and if that wasn't enough, he's been invited to his ex's engagement party to a woman, the same ex he just broke things off with two weeks ago. Even if he hadn't planned on going to the party at first, he decides to go so he can at least indulge in some free alcohol, only to find Deputy Mayor Hawk Black there, too. Clint has been lusting after the gorgeous man from the moment he saw him, and it seems Hawk reciprocates his feelings. 

Hawk has been waiting patiently for Clint to be single to make a move, and now that he is, he will move heaven and earth to make Clint his.

I loved Clint! He was so self-deprecating, fun and sarcastic, that I couldn't help but adore him. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for Hawk. He was too pushy and stalkerish for my taste. It didn't sit right with me that he nearly railroaded Clint into moving in with him when he was so vulnerable. Still, this is fiction and they had good chemistry, despite it all, and Cardeno C. is masterful at writing steamy sex scenes. 

Overall, it was a good, fast read, perhaps not Cardeno C.'s best, but entertaining nonetheless. Recommendable!

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. *** 

Meet CC

Cardeno C.—CC to friends—is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few awwws into a reader’s day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno’s stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever-after sunset.

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  1. Congrats, CC, on AotM. I like many tropes if the writing takes it beyond the tropism. Best for me are ones that create good conflict to work with, like enemies-to-lovers or second chance. Also the later-in-life self awareness & coming out. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  2. Friends to lovers and GFY are my favorite tropes.

  3. Love friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, and hurt/comfort.

  4. friends/enemies to lovers, OFY, paranormal

  5. Friends to lover, GFY/OFY, fated mates and mpreg