Love by Design, Book 1
RELEASE DATE: 07.14.17
COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer/Simply Defined Art
COVER PHOTO: StockPhoto
Years ago, before tragedy struck, Alex made a child’s promise to always protect and care for his little sister, Evie. Then piece by piece, all the good in his life was taken away until Alex was left alone as guardian to his much younger sister. Suffering and loss scarred Alex, causing him to withdraw from the world. Struggling with anxiety and trust issues, Alex attempts to help Evie heal from their shared traumatic past, but each day is harder than the last. To make matters worse, Alex’s best friend, Ben, is pushing him to get out of his rut, confronting him with the fact that what Alex thinks is contentment is just stagnation and fear. The last thing he needs is for an old acquaintance to reappear in his life, making him feel things he hadn’t dealt with in years.
The executive of the marketing department at graphic design firm Vivid, Kelley has his life together. While not perfect, he’s happy with his career and his three best friends. A chance encounter with Alex, the guy he was once attracted to, is icing on the cake. Fighting through Alex’s defenses to find the breathtaking man underneath will be hard, but Kelley is up to the challenge. Kelley believes that the things most worth fighting for never come easy.
To accept all that Kelley is offering means Alex must drop his barriers. Kelley will need to keep trying and prove that Alex can trust him, even when grief and anxiety try to pull him back.
Pushing him back on the couch Kelley straddled Alex’s body, using his weight to hold the squirmy man in place, Kelley put his hands on Alex’s abs, fingers at his sides as his possessed Alex’s.
Shoving Alex’s shirt up as Alex lifted to give enough room for Kelley to pull the shirt off, dropping it to the floor. Attacking his nipples with teeth and tongue making Alex whimper and moan. Fuck! Hearing those sounds just turned him inside out. Turning the heat between up to lava level.
Moving back up to his neck Kelley sucked, tasted as he reached down with one hand greedily rubbing Alex’s dick through his pants. Running his hand up and down giving him the same of the pressure that Kelley’s throbbing cock was begging for.
“Oh, God.” Alex groaned with a rough edge to his voice as he arched his neck giving Kelley even more room to explore and mark. He wanted his mark on this man. Wanted everyone to see that he was Kelley’s. Fearing that with all the pain locked inside Alex he would never truly be his.
“Your shirt. Take off your shirt. I need to feel your skin.”
Kelley did exactly that.
He flattened Alex to the couch again, pressing their chest together once again, Alex had spread his thighs, Kelley slotted himself right there. Their groins meet and slide together. And holy fucking hell did that feel good. The pressure of Alex’s steel length against his rock hard cock sending relief and pleasure throughout his body.
Alex scratched his nails down his back making him growl. He had his legs bracketing Kelley’s body holding him in place. Like he would be so fucking stupid as to move.
He can feel Alex’s heart jackhammering through his chest. Their breaths panting out between kisses and moans.
What had started out slow had built and built until Kelley wanted to say fuck it and rip Alex’s clothes off to get at every inch of his skin. To have their bodies, slippery from sweat, sliding together.
And just like that Kelley knew exactly what he was going to do. Oh, sweet jesus the thought alone sending lust hurtling to his aching balls, making him want to shoot.
He was going to drive Alex to the brink over and over. Making him forget anything and everything except the need that would be coursing through his body. The need Kelley would put there. Have Alex begging and pleading Kelley to let him come.
Within minutes they lay back on the couch completely naked, kneeling between Alex’s thighs once again. All of Alex’s gorgeous fucking skin on display. His cock seemingly begging for attention, the crown purple and leaking pre-come onto his stomach. Kelley mouth waters with the thought of sliding it between his lips. But not yet.
Unable to stop himself he slipped his hands, fingers spread wide, to his ankles, over his thighs, across his chest. Gliding with the lightest touch around Alex’s erect nipples, back down his arms. Over and over he did this, needing to get his fill of this beautiful man. No one should have this effect on another person. He sat there with a naked Alex in front of him in awe of every lean muscle that pushed up to meet his hands, every scar his traced.
“Kelley,” Alex bites out as his body trembled under Kelley’s gentle touches.
“Yeah, baby. You need something?”
“Fuck. Don’t be an ass. You know want I want.”
Kelley sank back down on top of him. Licking a path up his collarbone to his throat and then their mouths meet stifling any more words that Alex was going to say. Their cocks align perfectly, and Kelley begins to thrust his cock against Alex’s as their kisses turn desperate and needy.
Kelley pulled away, and before Alex could utter a protest, he moved, swallowing his cock to the back of his throat. Letting his saliva pool in his mouth, needing all the wetness he could get for the slide of their cocks. With every groan that Alex had let out Kelley’s cock would twitch and throb tightening to epic proportions.
Each time he could feel Alex getting close Kelley would back off. Time and time again bringing him to the brink before pulling his mouth and hand away. Alex would whimper and wiggle, unable to lay still. He was so out of it that he words were reduced to grunts and groans.
When Kelley was satisfied that he had sufficiently teased Alex, he pulled off his cock with a pop. Using the spit that was now covering his hand, he coated his own cock with it before laying on top of Alex, lining their cocks up.
His body fitting tightly to Alex’s. Wrapping one arm around Alex’s shoulders, holding as close to him as he could, both needing the closeness this position gave them. Kelley began thrusting his cock against Alex’s.
“I’ve got you, baby. Just feel.”
Profanities had started to spill from Alex’s mouth. Kelley’s whole body was so overwhelmed by the slide and friction of their cocks he felt like he could’ve blown his load at any moment, hoping that Alex was feeling even a silver of what he was.
Alex had begun to counter thrust, writhing his tight body under Kelley. His head was tipped back, the muscles of his neck corded and straining.
“That’s it, baby. Let go.”
I was drawn to this book because I’m such a sucker for hot guys with kids. Single dad’s or in this case, single brother raising his eight-year-old sister. After losing his father to cancer a month before his sister was born and losing his mother in a car accident when his sister was just four, he’s dealing with a lot. Evie (his sister) has panic attacks and night terror’s and other residual problems from the accident, making it hard for Alex to do much else besides work and worry about her. He seems like kind of a jerk in the beginning, he’s impatient and short with people, his best friend especially, even though his best friend Ben is there for him and Evie and honestly just wanting him to move on and live again. It doesn’t help that the guy Alex was seeing at the time of the accident that left Alex a single guardian, had left him because it was too much to stick around with a guy who had a kid with psychological problems. Now, don’t blame the ex though, he had his reasons and they were completely understandable. I didn’t blame him a bit. Still, Alex didn’t trust people after that and didn’t get close to anyone. So, when Ben (the best friend) asked him to meet a girl he’d been seeing and was getting serious with, Alex puts on his grown-up pants and agrees, even though he was grumpy about it. That’s where he runs into Kelley.
Kelley is the head of a marketing thing where Alex worked before he lost his mother. Kelley had seen him around and thought he was gorgeous…. Over time, he saw him get sadder and sadder before he up and quit. Knowing at least a little bit of the reason why, he was happily surprised to bump into Alex at restaurant and tried to talk to him to catch up. It didn’t last long, but Kelley didn’t give up….
I thought the way Kelley and Alex talked to each other for the first half of the book was borderline professional and not in any way like “friends”. I understand that Alex was trying to keep him at a distance and Kelley was trying to not be pushy, but especially when Kelley tried an innuendo or a silly jab, it seemed awkward…like trying to tease your lawyer or something. I didn’t get the chemistry between the two at all. Not for a while.
And don’t get me wrong, I understood, TO A POINT, where Alex was coming from, but I couldn’t stand him the majority of the book. I understand panic attacks, I understand pushing people away, I understand doing everything on your own and feeling like if you let your people down, it makes you feel like crap…. But Alex was selfish. Period, he was selfish and his woe is me, nobody understands me, nobody knows what it’s like because nobody else has ever faced tragedy in their lives before, crap was annoying. His whole thing with Ben… although Ben was a jerk and pushy at dinner the ONE TIME, I didn’t see him as being pushy at all any other time. He was concerned for his friend… Man, my best friend after a lifetime together is used to tough love because if you can’t trust your best friends, your family to tell you the truth then who can you trust? Even when it hurts… and that’s all Ben was trying to do… Like I said, he did go overboard, but it came from a good place. Alex flew off the handle and into a fit of rage any time anyone said anything he didn’t like. True or not.
Kelley was patient and understanding and wonderful. He put up with so much from Alex and I honestly thought he deserved so much better. I wanted to be sympathetic towards Alex, I really did and I guess at some points I was… but the majority of the time I just wanted to throat punch him and his attitude.
I loved Evie and I loved all the friends, although I wasn’t so sure about Peter, still not, but I haven’t given him another thought after I closed the book. The story ended on a good note, which I was happy about…I love good endings, especially when they took so long to get there, like I felt this one did. The story itself wasn’t a bad one, it was actually a great storyline. I just don’t feel like I ever got over my annoyance of Alex to enjoy it like I wanted to. I hate when that happens.
3 pieces of eye candy from me on this one
Morningstar Ashley is a transplant from the Yankee-controlled territory of New York, and now finds herself in the heartland of cowboys and longhorns—Texas. Armed with her imagination, wit, and trusty sidekicks in the form of her two crazy kids, devoted dorky husband, big lap dog, and rambunctious cats, Morningstar spends her time reading the books she loves, crafting her own characters, and arguing the merits of hot chocolate over the bitter brew known as coffee (Hot chocolate wins, FYI.).
Morningstar loves graphic design, so much so she returned to school for a degree and regularly tromps her exams and maintains a stellar GPA that occasionally leaves her confounded and pleased. She can while away the hours on new designs, and perfection isn’t too much to hope for when it comes to her art.
Her ideal career would be full-time artist and author, and so far, she hasn’t come up against anything to stop her on her journey. A fierce and devoted friend, Morningstar tries her best to always be kind, always be learning, and always improving. Giving up isn’t an option, and her greatest talent may be in her ability to convince others not to give up, either. After a lifetime of trying to get people to realize her first name wasn’t Ashley, Morningstar decided the best way to settle the debate was to put her name on a book cover. An avid reader and fiction reviewer for the blog and site Diverse Reader, Morningstar harbored a dream to one day join the ranks of her heroes, and she sweeps into the contemporary gay romance genre with her debut novel, LETTING GO. With plans to conquer gay, lesbian and LGBTQA+ romance, Morningstar has her gaze set on the horizon, her determination her own guiding star.