Bradford (Ford) King was sure he had the rest of his life mapped out. Life was simple, no distractions or complications – at age 46, that’s all Ford wanted. What he didn’t want was his work partner, sniper/watchman Dana, giving him s–t all the time.
Dana Cadby had grown up labeled a roughneck from the wrong side of the tracks. Dana pulled himself up by his own boot straps and made a name for himself in the marksman community. He’d been Duke’s bounty watchman for five years. At 33, he was trusted, well-respected by his peers, his bosses, his friends…so why couldn’t he earn the same respect from his partner?
Dana knew he was bisexual before he graduated high school. He also knew he was attracted to the huge, 6’3″ SEAL from the moment he and his brother came to join their team.
When Duke sends Dana and Ford out to track down their most dangerous bounty yet, they both embrace the fact that they make one hell of a team…but they fight tooth and nail against the powerful intimacy brewing between them.
Contains mature themes.
Title: Promises, Part 3
Series: Bounty Hunters
Author: A.E. Via
Listening Length: 8 hours
Narrator: Aiden Snow
“Grin all you want, you cocky little shit, but I’ll show you what this old man can do when I get you on that mat.” Ford ripped his arms away and walked up the row, turning the corner without a backwards glance.
Dana pulled in a breath of air and ran his hand over his chest where Ford’s arm had been. He felt hot and mildly embarrassed. He thought he’d played it off well, though. He should’ve known Ford wouldn’t take the joke for what it was. The man had no sense of humor… when it came to him, anyway. Dana had seen Ford laugh with his brother and smile when he was going over the latest military gadget he was able to get on the underground web, but lately the man refused to humor him. Dana dropped down on the small bench between the lockers. His big mouth had just written a check that his body was going to have to cash. Ford would be more than happy to teach his thirty-three-year-old ass a lesson in respecting his elders.
“Your bounty will not expect you to wrestle with him. Getting him on the ground is the best way to subdue him. Rush him, catch him off guard.” Quick walked back and forth across the mat, his muscular arms clasped behind his back while he instructed. Quick was an eighth degree black belt. He’d been studying martial arts since he was a boy. Hell, even Ford and Brian together couldn’t take him down. He was fast and a master at counter-maneuvers. You had to be able to get your hands on him first to do anything to him, and that was pretty much impossible. So Dana could respect Quick as a teacher. “Don’t second guess yourself. There’s no time for that. If you have an opportunity, take it. Got it?”
Everyone nodded their understanding. Duke stepped up. His black and gray hair was thick and disordered. He looked confident as always, but his eyes couldn’t hide his concern. “I called the extra training session this month because I’ve been contracted to go after a couple pretty big fish. These two brothers – Raymond and John Grossman – are well-known meth dealers here in Atlanta. They were bonded out on a five hundred thousand-dollar bond each but failed to appear a month ago. These men are dangerous. They have security, armed guards. They have money and lots of contacts, meaning plenty of places to hide. We’re going to have extensive hours of surveillance and scouting ahead of us. We’re going to finish training here then reconvene at the office for a strategy meeting later today. We gotta bring our A-game, like always. We were brought on because we know how to do this shit, so let’s get ready.” Duke looked back at his business partner. “Alright, Quick. Let’s get started.”
Ford moved back, letting him catch his breath. Dana was panting and sweating all over the place. They’d moved on from counter attacks to take-downs and submissions. Quick was giving them pointers while he demonstrated on the other martial arts instructor employed by the gym. Ford kept dumping Dana on his back every time he came at him. Although Ford never cracked a smile, it still looked like he enjoyed seeing Dana down there in pain, his face a mask of frustration as he tried to gain the upper hand.
“Dana, stop letting him get his arms around your thighs, goddamnit! You’re overthinking it!” Quick barked.
“Pair me with Duke or something. How the hell am I going to take Ford’s big ass down?” Dana fussed back, slowly getting back up on one knee.
“Are you saying you can only take down smaller men? If you are, then you are useless to me.” Quick was in Dana’s face, his forehead bumping into him while he pushed him back. “What’s size have to do with skill? You’ve seen me take down Brian and Ford. Both of them are bigger than me. You’ve seen Duke take down men twice his size. Defeating your opponent only takes skill and confidence, Dana, and you’ve got both of those in spades, so use them. Now get your ass back in position and stop bitching or I’ll have you riding a goddamn desk while the real men do the work.”
When Dana got back in front of Ford, the bastard couldn’t resist returning the wink Dana had given him in the locker room. “Now you be sure to take it easy on this old man.”
“Fuck you,” Dana grumbled, crouching down again.
“No. I’ll leave that to your prima donna girlfriend.”
Dana stood up, wondering what the hell business that was of Ford’s. “Jealous?”
Ford grunted an angry breath. “Of what? Being a fool just to get some bougie ass from a stuck-up bitch?”
Dana rushed at Ford like an idiot, shoving his shoulder into his midsection, trying to take him down. Ford folded his heavy body over Dana’s back and dropped all his weight, slamming him down face first to the mat. The air rushed out of him and he struggled to breathe with the massive man pinning him down. Ford’s reverse bear-hug had Dana’s arms wrapped so tight, he felt like he was in the grip of an anaconda. The crazy part was, Dana didn’t hear or see anyone coming to his aid. Obviously, this wasn’t a technique they were learning.
Ford’s mouth was by his ear, his hot breath fanning over his heated skin. “Pretty shitty sneak attack, boy.”
“Boy?” Dana hissed, his face flat to the mat. “Why are you always talking shit about her, huh?”
Ford’s hold around his entire upper body kept him from being able to do anything but snarl his frustrated words. “Why, Ford? You’ve been an ass ever since I got back with her.” Dana struggled, getting more pissed off by the second. “Answer me. Why don’t you want me with her?”
“Because you deserve better than that,” Ford said too quietly for the other guys to hear, and let Dana go.
Ford is grouchy and kind of a jerk in the beginning. Hot, but still….these guys, I swear, none of them know how to talk to each other. Dana’s had feelings for Ford for the last several years, but Ford never gave him any indication that he wanted anything from him, even friendship as of lately… Dana was lonely and it surprised me that he had such a low opinion of himself. I guess with the dad he had and the girlfriend he barely tolerated, it would be easy to see why he had such low self-esteem. I have to say, with the girlfriend, I thought she was going to be more trouble than she was. I thought for sure that she had something to do with the guys that they were after… I was surprised and a little disappointed that she didn’t get called out and humiliated more than she did. I would’ve liked to have seen that. I was not a fan…. It felt like a movie, which is crazy to me, this whole new world of audio books, especially right now when I’m all quarantined and I can just put my head phones in and give it my full attention.
When something happens to Dana, my heart broke for Ford… he went from the broody, unfeeling guy to an absolute wreck, and it narrated beautifully. I’m kind of obsessed with this guys voice, I don’t even want to see what he looks like because in my mind, he’s every single one of these characters that I’m also obsessed with. I liked seeing being able to hear the different sides of each character because it made them so real to me I loved the way it all got handled and I loved the way it ended…for now. These guys are perfect for each other… and once I started on it, nobody dared to bother me the entire length of this book. I didn’t stop until it was over.
Another great addition to an already great series.
Easiest 5 stars from me
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 lit for over fifteen 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 kind of known now for her hardcore, play rough and love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes, but she won’t push herself into a whole other genre. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.
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