At only 32, Bishop Stockley has lived a hard-knock life. After doing five years in a federal prison, Bishop is back at his dad’s trailer and working for his landscaping company, thrust into a legit world where he’s no longer the alpha – a world where a criminal record is the least of his disadvantages, because Bishop can’t read or write.
Bishop already had the deck stacked against him, but he wasn’t afraid of hard work to change his situation, and he did want to change. Especially after he encountered Edison Scala, a kind-spirited office manager who didn’t hesitate to come to his defense…a man that saw past Bishop’s grass-stained coveralls. A man who wasn’t intimidated by his stern features and his silence.
Bishop knew Edison was off-limits. He’d made personal vows to himself when he was released from prison, ones that he never intended to break. But, when Edison asked him about providing landscaping services at his home, there was no way he could refuse. He hadn’t expected Edison to feed him, praise him, encourage him, and look at him the way he did – as if Bishop was somebody.
Audio Release: 03.31.20
Narrator: Tor Thom
Listening Length: 13 hours and 10 minutes
“Bishop,” he breathed. “I can’t believe this. Your drawing is beautiful, but to think you thought of this from looking at that,” Edison pointed to his open patio doors. “It’s unbelievable. You are so talented.”
Edison couldn’t tell if Bishop was blushing, because his skin was too tanned and his stubble too dark. But the way his gaze darted over the drawing, then to Edison’s face was telling. Bishop wanted him to like his work, wanted him to love it. Just like he wanted Bishop to love his cooking.
“I have a couple more.” Bishop’s knee bounced underneath the table as he flipped to the next page.
Edison gasped. It was the same concept, except with different patio sets and different flower options. The lines were still as sleek and complicated as the first possibility. Then Bishop flipped another page. Just as elaborate and intricate as the others. He shook his head, smiling over at this amazing man. “How do I possibly choose?”
Bishop licked his lips and Edison felt his smile fade as he stared at Bishop’s full mouth, wondering what it’d be like to kiss him.
Okay, first, I was so excited for this!
I’m somewhat of a newb when it comes to audiobooks and I will admit that I am very picky when it comes to them because I just neeeed it to sound exactly the way it does in my head.
Don’t come for me, I already know what you’re going to say… but it’s why I can’t get into many that I’ve tried. But let me just say that I never…. Ever…have that problem with this author, her narrator or any of her stories because they’re spot on… (to me at least)
So, into the story… that honestly kept me on the edge of my seat whilst listening to it in the many places I got to sneak it into during my first full week of self-isolation. (with a houseful of children and my husband, believe me, it’s harder than you’d think!)
Edison, who we meet first, is an executive assistant at a law firm. He’s kind of the big wig of the office, though as sweet as he is and as non-confrontational, everyone just kind of walks all over him and treats him like crap. It had me sick to my stomach the way a few people treated, most especially Skylar, but we’ll get to him in a minute. Since losing his mother as an infant and his father, who was his best friend, a couple years back, he was pretty much alone in every sense of the word, save for an Aunt and Uncle. I was glad that he had them, but as Edison is an adult, he kind of left them to their lives and kept himself to himself.
He was lonely, sure, but he had a job he loved, even if the people were less than welcoming, he had hobbies that required only him, like reading and cooking and he’s just an all-around good guy. He sees the best in people, even when they don’t deserve it. When he meets Bishop outside of his office one day, he’s instantly attracted to him but as shy as he seems to be, his co-worker Skylar doesn’t help things the other times they run into each other. Skylar is jealous and selfish and petty and I knew he was going to be trouble… I kind of wish Trent would’ve scalped him or something when he had the chance, but alas, I wished for karmic street justice instead of the legal kind he eventually got… but, I won’t give too much that away. It was only just enough satisfaction, I hope to see more in the next one… but, rewind, back to Bishop.
Now, Bishop was brought up by a teenage father who didn’t know how to be one. His childhood lacked any kind of education or goals, so it wasn’t a surprise he was in and out of juvie as a child and then raised in the streets the rest of the time. When he went to prison for a crime his gang committed, he was lucky an even douchier ex kind of kept him from going away for longer after humiliating him in court. After a handful of years in prison, Bishop was finally out of prison, out of the gang and trying to forge a relationship that he never had with his dad. He and his childhood friend, ex-gang member and prison friend Trent left that life behind and were trying to be better… even if Trent needed a little firmer hand than Bishop did in the beginning.
I adored Bishop’s dad and their relationship. I understand being young parents and doing so many things wrong. I loved how he owned it and was set to be all his son needed him to be, even if Bishop pushed him away and tried to resist it at first. As a parent, better late than never, and I loved how much he loved his son and supported him and encouraged him to better himself, he was amazing. And so was Trent, who as I said was more like Bishop’s little brother and they acted like it too. I loved how loyal Trent was, always down for whatever, always having Bishops back and loving him the way a chosen family would. I adored Trent and the way he’s portrayed and I cannot wait to see him and meet Wood in the next book! Yay!
Growing up the way he did, Bishop had a lot of obstacles in his way to get where he wanted in life, but he was working on it with the help of Trent and Mike and he knew it wouldn’t be easy. When he meets Edison, he knows that he wants to be better for him too.
I love these two together, they were so opposite but in the very best ways and it comes across so genuine and real. Where Bishop was growly and big and intimidating and quiet, Edison was soft and sweet and naive in some ways, but it just made him who he is and you couldn’t help but fall in love with both of them. It wasn’t always easy though, with Bishop wanting to work a little more on bettering himself, though not being able to stay away from Edison and sweet blushing face and amazing ways he took care of Bishop by cooking for him and helping him, even unknowingly that he was worthy. I could imagine Bishop not feeling that with the way he’d grown up.
Of course, there are some bumps in the road, what with Bishop’s ex being petty in the beginning (thankfully he didn’t last long) and then Skylar, the jealous and somewhat psycho co-worker… there were some times that I wanted to grab Bishop a time or two and tell him to stop running away, but I understood it. It was realistic and raw and I felt it for them. Fortunately, Edison loved Bishop for exactly who he was, no question, no hesitation and Bishop pulled Edison out of his shell and boosted his self-confidence and self-worth. It was just beautiful to see, all of it. Aside from Ruxs and Green from the Nothing Special series, this might be my new favorite from Ms. A.
I truly cannot wait for more, I’ll be fangirling like a lunatic until I find out what happens with Trent and Wood and I’ll absolutely be one of the first in line to have it on audio as well as my kindle and a dark and gritty paperback too.
Loved it! <3
4 pieces of eye candy
A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for six years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay literature for over twenty years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great, new up and coming MM authors.
A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her.
A.E.’s novels embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.
She’s recently celebrated her 20th book anniversary, and is well-known for her hardcore, love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.
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