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The next morning came far too soon. Donny just about broke Rocco’s clock when it rang out with an eight o’clock alarm. Of course, nearly breaking his favourite clock had him wide awake and checking the dragon was undamaged. It was, luckily, but it meant he was awake. Apparently that meant Rocco was woken up too, because he turned back to his pillow to find blue eyes smiling at him. And an unrepentant boyfriend claiming he’d set the alarm on purpose so that they could go job hunting.
Still, three hours later, he didn’t regret it. They were walking through the town centre, holding hands, and he had already handed out the fifteen copies of his CV that he had printed off. They walked into the print shop and straight into the back room to make more copies from their photo copier.
He only had experience as a waiter, an errand and paper boy and as accountant’s assistant. He had his basketball skills and his school qualifications, but it wasn’t much; he was hardly the best candidate for any of the jobs he was applying for. Luckily he had Rocco by his side, telling him not to underestimate himself. So he tried not to.
“Where would you like to go for lunch?” Donny signed to his boyfriend as they waited on his print outs. “There’s a café down the street, we could get some chips from the fish and chip shop and go sit on the beach or we could go to the burger place just past the church.” He offered him a few choices and waited to see what he preferred. It was his first time out in the big world and he wanted to let him explore as much of it as he wanted to.
“The beach.” Rocco signed back excitedly.
“Okay. The beach.” He laughed at the adorable look on his face, as if he’d just given him the world. “Dom says we’ve got some stuff to pick up at the book store as well, so we’ll do that on the way home.” He explained in sign.
Rocco nodded and surprised him by stepping closer, playing with a button on his shirt. “Will you show me your favourite place?” He asked, signing with one hand.
“In the village?”
“In the world.” He asked, with wide, hopeful eyes full of innocence.
“Okay.” Donny smiled, knocking his hand in agreement. “On the way home, will you show me where you grew up?” He asked.
Rocco nodded and slipped his arms over his shoulders like a real boyfriend would. It made him feel like a jittery schoolboy on his first date to see that look in his eyes; he could only describe it as seductive. It seemed to be his signature prelude to a kiss, so he tried his hardest not to smile when those soft lips kissed his.
Donny gladly met him halfway, cupping his face as he kissed him softly, brushing their lips together. Rocco kissed in such a sweet way; gentle but sure, teasing but genuine at the same time.
With Rocco being so stunningly beautiful, Donny decided to bring up something that he’d been thinking about all night. He wasn’t sure why it popped into his head, but it came to him just as he was falling asleep and entered his dreams. Considering how sheltered his boyfriend was, in terms of the outside world, he was beginning to think it was a genius idea.
“I was thinking about something you said yesterday,” he admitted, signing as he slipped one hand over Rocco’s tiny waist and into his back pocket. “If this happens quickly and I’m going to have trouble adapting, maybe we should get a dog?” He wondered, remotely aware of the fact that he could be rushing things a little. But when he thought about it, it seemed rational.
Dominic had asked him to move into the house, if he wasn’t going to go to college, so that he could be close to Rocco. It was also what he wanted, so why shouldn’t he think they were a permanent thing?
“We?” Rocco smiled as he signed with one hand.
“Yeah. A hearing dog, for both of us.” He answered honestly, with a smile of his own creeping onto his lips in hope. “I know a guy who trains them. They do things for you, tell you when someone’s trying to talk to you and they’re great company.” He explained, hoping to inspire him into thinking about it, if not outright agreeing. He didn’t want to admit that he was worried about him functioning alone in the world, or that the dog would make him feel more secure when he finally faced Jefferson again.
“I’ve never had a pet.” Rocco signed, giving him no indication of whether that was a good thing or not. He just tried to keep talking about it until he refused or agreed to consider it.
“Me neither. Dom had a dog growing up, when Beau was still alive.” He admitted, hoping that was a good thing. “But the dog was old when they adopted it and it died not long after Beau. I don’t think Latimer was ready to get another one. But I think he’d be okay if we wanted to get one now.” He signed to him, letting him know that no-one would refuse him. He would bring it up with Latimer later to make sure he was okay with the suggestion, but he was sure he would be.
“Okay.” Rocco nodded, a little less brightly than he’d expected. He looked almost unsure, but he had a feeling it wasn’t about the dog.
Donny brushed his cheek with his thumb.
“I’m worried about dad. What if he doesn’t want one? Or he thinks I don’t need him because I have one?” He asked, with an adorable frown and nervous fingers that wound into each other even after he’d finished signing.
“He won’t. He would never deny you or me a way to live safely in the wider world.” Donny promised him that much. “And I think we have to accept that neither of us are experienced enough in the world outside this village to cope without a dog to help us. And Latimer will understand that.” He signed calmly. “You will always need him. We all will. He’s been there for us, when no-one else was. He lost Beau, but he will never lose us. And maybe a dog will help him too?” He suggested, hopeful that he was right.
Latimer and Chandler had taken Beau’s death hard enough for everyone to see, but he also knew that Dominic hadn’t exactly taken it in his stride either. Maybe they all needed a dog to love and care for, to remind themselves that life went on?
“Maybe. Would it take a long time to get one?” He asked, his fingers brushing lightly over the back of his neck.
“Maybe a few weeks.” He signed back.
“Then we have time to make sure dad’s okay with it and take care of it.” He said, seeming quite happy with that reasoning.
“Plenty of time.” Donny agreed.
The machine stopped suddenly and Rocco pulled away from him with a knowing smile. One that said he knew he was about to be kissed until something stopped them.
Cursing the machine for being so quick to churn out fifty copies of his CV, he turned away from his boyfriend to collect them. He slipped them into the clear pocket he’d brought with him, to protect them from the morning rain, glad that it had dried up so they could have lunch at the beach like he’d promised.
Donny pulled out his wallet and the money to pay for his print outs. They walked into the main store together and Rocco hovered at his side, swaying and looking around as he paid. When he turned to leave, his boyfriend held out his hand with a happy smile. He took it and led him out of the store so they could go in search of more vacancies for the next hour. Then, they would get to enjoy a cosy lunch by the beach.
The rest of the morning went by pleasantly.
Donny got some positive responses to his CV, though they all claimed someone higher up had to look them over before he got an answer. The best part, by far, was that he got to sit on a bench, on the hill overlooking the beach, snuggled up with Rocco, sharing a fish supper. It was pretty perfect.
They talked about what kind of dog they would like if Latimer agreed to it and how they were going to divide up the chores of taking care of it. Rocco talked about what courses he would like to do if he did decide to go to college and Donny explained how online courses worked.
It was a happy, carefree few hours together that felt suspiciously like dating. He picked up a few leaflets and booklets from the internet café about online courses for Rocco to look at. He seemed quite excited about getting home and reading about all the classes on offer.
With their main task done, they made their way into the book store and Donny approached the desk to talk to the assistant.
“Hi, we’re here to pick up a purchase for Dominic Peabody.” He explained.
“Of course, if you’ll just bear with me.” She asked with a smile. Then she disappeared from behind the desk and escaped through the back room. When she reappeared a few minutes later she was carrying a massive cardboard box that looked more like a book delivery for the shop than an order.
“I’m sorry…are you sure this is right?” He asked in surprise.
“Yes.” The assistant gave him an unsure look and then turned to Rocco, who began tugging on his t-shirt.
Donny turned as the box was placed on the counter. “She says this box is all for you.” He explained in sign.
Rocco turned to the assistant with a disapproving frown and put his hand on top of the box, gesturing as if he was opening it. He was ready to translate when the assistant nodded and pulled out a box cutter knife from beneath the counter, to slice the tape and open the box. Then she pushed it towards Rocco with a smile. He opened it and looked inside.
Donny left him to make up his own mind about what he found, standing by his side, waiting for his reaction.
Suddenly Rocco began pulled out paperback versions of all the Classic novels that he could ever want. Everything from War and Peace to the kid’s classics like The Jungle Book. He pulled them all out, piling them up on the counter with a frown that deepened the further into the box he ventured. When he was done, he turned to him.
“Why? He bought me these for my e-reader and they were all free. Why pay good money for another copy?” He asked in sign.
“Maybe he just thought you’d prefer the paperback?” Donny shrugged, because he had no idea what Dominic’s plan was.
Rocco worried at his lower lip with his teeth before turning to the assistant. He tapped the box and then the register machine. But this time the assistant frowned and looked to him for an explanation.
“I’m sorry. I don’t quite know what he means.” She apologised.
“He wants to know how much the box comes to.” Donny explained, since he didn’t need Rocco to tell him what he wanted to know. He was not a happy bunny and he could only guess that he felt the way he did about wasting money on things he didn’t need.
Donny watched with an approving smile as the shop assistant reached under the counter and pulled out a book. She flicked through a few pages to the last entry and turned the book so that Rocco could see it.
She pointed to the entry with Dominic’s name, impressing him with how well she was treating Rocco, when most of the other shops had just ignored him or stared whenever he signed to him. This girl didn’t seem at all bothered, except when she didn’t understand him.
Rocco looked really confused as he leaned in close to read the page. Then he turned to him with a sigh and couldn’t meet his eyes.
“I can’t read numbers. I don’t know what that means.” He admitted, signing but unable to look at him.
Donny touched his chin and made him meet his gaze; he had nothing to be ashamed of. “That’s okay. I can teach you.” He promised, one handed.
Rocco shook his head and brushed his hand away, looking angry and ashamed.
He cupped his chin tight, so that he couldn’t pull away. “Don’t!” Donny signed, getting angry. “Don’t act as if you’re stupid. It’s not your fault that no-one ever taught you.” He told him, refusing to hear anything to the contrary. “I had to teach myself a lot of things. Just like how Latimer and Chandler didn’t know sign language because no-one bothered teaching them you don’t know numbers because no-one taught you.”
“I will teach you. It’s me or your dad or one of your brothers, but someone will teach you.” Donny signed to him, making sure to get his point across. Whether he knew numbers or not, it was in no way his fault.
Rocco looked away again and tapped the book. “What does it say?” He asked.
Donny gave up for now, intending to revisit the subject later with Dominic, Chandler and Latimer backing him up. “It’s expensive. Really expensive.” He admitted, giving the price a closer look. He wouldn’t lie to him, but he didn’t want to put him off either.
“Each book is ten dollars,” Donny explained, keeping calm and reassuring. “Which is about average for a paperback. An e-book is about three dollars or less, so you’re paying well over three times the price for a paperback. This box costs just over two-hundred-and-fifty dollars. That’s a lot of money for books.” He explained, trying to help him understand.
Rocco looked really unhappy as he looked at the contents of the box sprawled out before him. There were twenty-five paperbacks and a packet of fancy bookmarks. “Take them back.” He signed to him.
“Are you sure?” He asked, to check.
Rocco nodded and wasted no time putting everything back into the box.
Donny stopped him with a curious thought. “Wait,” he signed, gently turning his boyfriend around and pointed to a sign just ahead of them.
Rocco turned back, cocking his head at him as if he was thinking it over.
“It’s a donation box.” He explained. “You buy books, put them in the donation box and the shop give them to charity. Why don’t we ask them to wrap each book separately and then we take them down to the orphanage?” He suggested, hoping that would cheer him up.
Rocco looked at the box. “But it’s a lot of money.” He argued.
“Trust me, Latimer can spare it. He would be happy that you gave them away rather than just sent them back.” He admitted with a shrug.
Surely it was better to spend the money on people who needed it than wasting it by just leaving it in Latimer’s bank account accumulating dust?
Rocco chewed his lower lip and turned to face him fully. “Can we keep ten books and the bookmarks, but get the money back for the rest?” He asked in sign.
Donny turned to the assistant to enquire, vocalising his request. She looked unsure for a moment.
“I’ll have to call my manager and he’d have to call Mister Peabody to make sure you had the authority to get the money back.” She explained.
Donny nodded and turned to explain that to Rocco. He nodded his agreement as well. “That’s fine.” He told her.
Book – Life Blood (Aethereal Bonds #1) (Cora’s Choice #1)
Author – V.M. Black
Star rating – ★★★☆☆
Plot – a story of two halves – first half is great, the second is predictable
Characters – start off great, but dip a lot halfway.
Movie Potential – ★★★☆☆
Ease of reading – very easy to read.
Cover – ✔
Suitable Title – ✔
Would I read it again – No.
This one was hard for me. I was in the mood for a great vampire story, so I read this after waiting months to have time for it and I’m a little disappointed.
It started off so well. All of the medical stuff was spot on and realistic. Everything Cora felt and thought and experienced, was true to what a cancer patient goes through. I know, because I was her once and it was terrifyingly real to read everything I’d once thought in her words.
I enjoyed it so much that I highlighted a bunch of quotes, that showed off how great this was, planning to use them in my glowing 5 star review.
Cora is smart enough to second guess her luck, to let someone know where she’s going, for how long and how to get in touch with the person she’s leaving with, if she doesn’t return. Until halfway through this – novella? short story? – she’s a really smart girl and the story has great potential.
Then we meet Mr Thorne and things start getting a little weird. Suddenly Cora’s free will seems to break – not fade – and she’ll do anything for this guy she doesn’t know, just because he touched her wrist. I’ve read my fair share of vampire romances, but this one didn’t work for me, because there was no seduction. It was just automatic – the moment she met him, she’d do whatever he wanted and he knew it. He kept resisting the pull, but Cora didn’t, until they both got what they wanted, in the end.
By the time I finished the book, I loved it. It was a 5 star and I even looked up book 2 on my Kindle, but couldn’t buy it because of my internet connection. I woke up this morning and it was a 4 star, still good, but the little niggles began creeping in. In the time it took me to get dressed, downstairs, have breakfast and see to the dog, it dropped to a 3.5. There are too many issues:
* No seduction – which is a must
* Great potential that was let down, the minute the ‘vampire’ entered the story
* Illogical ‘romance’ that makes no sense
* stopped really abruptly
* is part of a ‘serial’, crossing over two series. That means I have to buy and read all the books of both series in order, to get the story straight. I’m not willing to do that.
This was a free book and I didn’t download the others, until I’d got an idea of the author’s style and the story. If this was a trilogy or just a sample of a solo novel, then I’d spring for the rest and take my chances. But knowing there are sooo many books in this ‘series’, I just don’t have the time or the patience for it. Sorry.
Book – Touched by a Vampire (Eternally Yours #1)
Author – Sophie Slade
Star rating – ★★★★★
Plot – nicely paced and different
Characters – your typical Alpha male and his love
Movie Potential – ★★★★★ (If they can do FSOG, they can do this!)
Ease of reading –
Cover – ✔
Suitable Title – ✔
Would I read it again – ✔
I haven’t read an M/F book in a while, because I’ve been engrossed with the M/M genre, but I really enjoyed this one. It’s re-awoken my passion for vampire stories.
This was is a little different. Lance Steel is your typical rich, seductive Alpha male vampire → nothing to be ashamed of there ;) They’re a particular weakness of mine. Lance is no different. He’s strong, flirty, casual and happy to spoil the woman he loves.
Leila is a strong, independent woman – until she meets Lance. Married and stuck in a rut, meeting him makes her realise how stagnated her life has become. Not only has the love fallen out of her marriage, somewhere along the way, but Lance awakens a part of her that she hasn’t seen since before her marriage to Steven.
Together, these two make sparks fly.
When they first meet, it’s at Leila’s place of work, where she’s generally known as Dr Reynolds. Leila tries so hard to resist his charms and fights back against the very idea of cheating on her husband. But when it becomes clear that Lance can offer her things that Steven’s not even thought about in years, she succumbs to their mutual attraction. She passes it off as one night, a slip that she will have to confess to Steven and beg forgiveness for.
Until events start taking a weird and somewhat freaky turn.
I’m not going to spoil it, by giving away what happens, but rest assured that the sparks fly. Leila jumps from the frying pan into the fire, over and over again, as she attempts to regain control of her life. Lance’s solution is to seduce her into submission and try to take the pressure from her shoulders, but Leila’s spent so long fighting her own battles that she can’t allow that.
She’s a strong woman and, around Lance, she remembers something vitally important:
The plot of this story is great. It’s different from all other vampire erotica’s, because although Leila is a human woman and yes, she has her weak moments, she’s also fiery and feisty. She fights at any opportunity, when her life is in danger and isn’t one of those wallflowers, who hangs back and waits for someone to rescue her. She’s a tough broad.
Lance is also a little different to your typical Alpha male. He’ll do anything for Leila, but he also loves her with a fierce passion that comes through in everything he says and does. He fights, he loves and he does it all one way → hard! He goes after what he wants.
To me, this is Lance. Powerful, charming, charismatic and stunning!
I love both the main characters, but I also have to admit that I was intrigued by Steven. He was only in the book for about five minutes, actually speaking and interacting, but he was a really interesting anomaly to the story. I never knew when he was going to pop up, if he was dead and no one knew it, or what part he had to play in it all.
Drake and Kellen were similar. I was intrigued by both and liked both of them, every time they appeared, but I also knew that they’d have a bigger part later on. The same couldn’t be said for Charlotte. I didn’t like her from the get-go, but I knew that she was going to be really important. There are a few characters like this – you know they’re important, but you’re not sure how, until it’s all revealed at the end.
The best part about the book is that it builds at a slow, hot pace and has great moments of action, excitement and intrigue. There’s a mystery to be solved early on and you can’t trust anyone.
In the end, the story finishes with a HEA, though you know there’s definite chance of a second book. There’s no way that these two are lucky enough to get a HEA without any more trouble ahead. :)
Taylor’s force field sprang to life. Shut up, General. Get out of my head!
Gracie banished the prick with a gentle grunt. Damn it. She had an adorable cuteness to her, a beauty that fell on Taylor like starlight or something. Of course, he was on his way out of this life. Dying guys saw stuff like starlight and beautiful women all the time, didn’t they?
Vanilla and cinnamon. That’s what the other fragrance was. Drawing in a deliberate slow breath of her, he let the scent calm him. Like this crazy demented woman, it seemed familiar, as if once upon a time it had been his favorite fragrance. His heart rate slowed. He looked up into the fierce but tender emotions on her pretty face. She alternated between licking her bottom lip and biting it.
This just might be the perfect way to die after all.
Dominic disappeared nearly an hour later, claiming he was going up to his room to call a friend.
Chandler seemed to be the only one who knew that he was lying. He was running away because he didn’t want to see Rocco and Donny together.
It was silly, but he actually thought his big brother was jealous. He didn’t fancy either of them, but he was afraid that he would lose one to the other. That now that they were dating Rocco would turn to Donny before he would turn to him, and Donny would think of Rocco as his best friend, giving him Dominic’s status. It was stupid, because it seemed blatantly obvious that neither was going to happen.
“Hey,” he smiled as he ducked his head into Dominic’s bedroom, to find him sitting up at the head of the bed. He was hugging his knees, looking a little lost. “How are you feeling?” He wondered quietly, making his way over to the bed.
Dominic shook his head and ignored him, folding his arms on his knees and leaning his head on them.
“I told dad that I was going to call Koby, so we have some time to talk if you want to?” Chandler offered, as he sat down beside him. He leaned back on the headboard as he stretched his legs out.
“Not really.” He sighed, rubbing his forehead on the back of his hand. “I’m serious. I don’t want to talk.” Dominic snapped at him.
“Well, just listen then.” Chandler bit back, refusing to let it go. “Donny has been the only constant thing in your life, before dad adopted you. You feel lost because you don’t know who you are if you’re not Donny’s best friend any more.” He tried to let him know that he already knew what he needed to know. “But at the same time you’re the first person Rocco ever trusted enough to open up to. And now he’s got this instant connection with Donny.” He said.
Dominic didn’t have to say anything because he knew everything; all he wanted was for Dom to admit it.
“But here’s what you don’t understand,” Chandler continued. “Donny will never replace you. He loves you too much. And Rocco will always need you, just as much as he will always need me and dad.” He reasoned, reaching up to brush his hand over his bent head.
Dominic turned to look at him, resting his cheek on the back of his hand. He looked so sad. “You don’t know that. You saw them today; having private conversations, shutting us all out, sneaking up here to do God knows what.” He sighed and lifted his head, only to lean back and bang it off the wooden headboard.
Chandler frowned at him, but didn’t bother starting a fight about it.
“That’s because they fancy the pants off each other, not because they were trying to hurt you. You’ve had girlfriends before, Dom, you know what it’s like when you want to be alone with them.” Chandler hadn’t yet found a girlfriend he liked as much as Rocco seemed to like Donny, but he wasn’t going to bring that into the conversation right now. And he hoped Dominic didn’t either.
“Whether it’s to make out or just to talk about private things once you start dating you will always want to be alone with them at some point. You will always have secret conversations just with the person you’re dating.” He reminded him of how he acted, when he was dating. “Why should it be any different for them? Just because they’re dating each other and we love them both? That wouldn’t be fair.” He argued.
“I just,” Dominic stalled and licked his lips nervously. “I just didn’t think about it. When we adopted Rocco and I told him about Donny he seemed interested to hear about my friends, but not as if he was interested in Donny. And when I told Donny about Rocco, he never showed any hint either.” He admitted, as if they should have confessed their feelings just at the mention of their names to each other, before they even met. “Then, when I talked to Donny about it today, he said it was my fault. He said I’d made Rocco out to be perfect and he knew it was true as soon as he met him.” He complained quietly.
“You couldn’t have expected them to fall for each other.” Chandler agreed with that much. “But you can’t deny that they have. And you shouldn’t. They really like each other, but they still love you more than they love each other.” He tried to talk sense into him and he thought he’d won for a moment.
Dominic smiled and held his hand out, palm up the same way he did every single time they needed each other’s support. He put his hand in Dominic’s and held on, letting him know that he would always be there for him.
“It won’t always be that way, Chandler. One day they’ll love each other so much that I won’t be so important to them any more.” He smiled sadly as he looked at their hands. “I could deal with that if it meant they were happy together and they’d put real time into getting to know each other…but they haven’t.” He protested, sounding petty. “They’ve known each other for two days. That’s not enough time to really know someone. What if Donny hurts Rocco? How could I live with myself?” He asked, his smile slowly fading as he contemplated that dark thought.
“Let me ask you this, Dom,” Chandler cupped his chin and made him look up. He thought he was supposed to be the immature, over-dramatic brother. Suddenly he seemed the only sensible one out of all three of them. “What if you hurt him? How can you live with that?” He asked. Then, with a sigh, he let go of his hand and left the room. He would leave Dominic to think it over before he expected a reasonable answer from him.
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