NEW RELEASE BLITZ: A Little More Forgiveness by Pauley J. Ray (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Title: A Little More Forgiveness

Series: Hot Property, Book Three

Author: Pauley J. Ray

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: 07/02/2024

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male, Male/Male Menage

Length: 120100

Genre: Contemporary, grief, polyamory, throuple, triad, menage, white collar, attorney, mountain man, real estate developer, forced proximity, one bed, enemies to lovers

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Gabriel Sanchez is a man running away from his past, unaware it’s about to catch up to him. Stuck in an isolated cabin with two strangers is the last thing he planned. One guy, a bear of a man shouldering intolerable emotional pain, Gabe instinctively wants to soothe. The other, kinder, gentler, and just wishing to be seen, Gabe desperately wants to show him how visible he is. However, the harder he tries to keep both at bay, the more they fight and the closer they get until his heart begins to desire things he’s promised himself it can never have again.

Leo Taylor has yearned for approval his whole life, and as the lawyer negotiating the sale of a run-down cabin and its land, this time he may just earn it. But, trying to keep the peace between a cocky New Yorker and the grumpiest man alive is slowly taking its toll. During their confinement, secrets are uncovered that will force Leo to make a tough choice. Close the sale and gain the approval he craves, or follow his heart and fight for the men for whom he’s falling head over heels.

Mitchell Houghton is drowning in grief and guilt following the death of his wife four years ago. Then, along comes a lawyer with an outsider who claims to own 50 percent of his home, his land. After years of self-imposed isolation, Mitch is now trapped with them both in his small cabin. Determined to make their lives a misery, he almost succeeds, until their unwanted interaction and attention makes him remember the man he used to be—the one he thought lost forever—giving him another chance at a happiness he’s not sure he deserves.


A Little More Forgiveness
Pauley J Ray © 2024
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

“I want that property and its land sold, understood?” My stepfather’s voice rasped out of the phone’s speaker, the harshness of his tone echoing around my tiny office space. “You hear me, boy?”

Grinding my teeth together, I swallowed down the retort on the tip of my tongue exactly the way he’d taught me, instantly resenting how automatic it was to not answer back. Instilled from childhood, Malcolm Taylor’s words were the only ones allowed to be voiced while he spoke, so you’d better keep quiet or else.

The beating I’d taken for interrupting him the one and only time I disobeyed had been a swift lesson in what to expect if I stepped out of line again.

I was a damn quick learner and since the age of six had kept my end of the bargain.

“I said, do you hear me, boy?”

Now I could speak. “Yes, sir, I hear you.”


“No, sir, I won’t screw it up.”

He let out a harrumph. “Make sure you don’t. You’re well aware of the consequences if you do.” Asshole. In addition to my inadequacy being the reason he would lay off his own staff and turf me out of my office, as he owned the building and a whole load more in town, he’d also gone for my one major weakness.

My sister. He’d stop paying the medical bills for Caitlin.

“This is your last chance, Leo.” Then there was silence as he abruptly ended the call.

I’m twenty-fucking-nine for Chrissake, and he still treats me as if I were that same cowering six-year-old. More disturbing was the fact I allowed him to do so. I slouched in my chair, exhausted by the whole conversation and annoyed at myself for kissing ass. Again.

You’re well aware of the consequences if you do.

He’d used the same threat, for years, to ruthlessly keep me in line. My overwhelming guilt had made me the perfect target to assuage his own. It’d been fourteen years, half a lifetime ago, but the sight of Caitlin’s inert body floating face down in the swimming pool never diminished. Arms extended, skin pale, her long black hair fanning out around her…

Deliberately pushing the haunting images away, I carefully packed them in my imaginary mental box, shut the lid, and locked them up tight.

Swiveling the cheap vinyl chair around to face the street beyond the picture window beside me, instead of the relic-of-the-seventies, wood-paneled, second-floor office I worked in, I stared out at the snow lazily drifting down for the fifth day in a row. The amount this year had been unusually heavy, but unlike everyone else, I welcomed it, watching in fascination as the fat flakes covered the sidewalk in a thick white blanket, concealing all the imperfections underneath. With little over a week until the holidays, Melrose Bay had turned into the perfect picture-postcard scene. The large Christmas tree standing tall in the town square had been decorated in the same multicolored lights strung along the rest of Main Street. The silver star on top glowed brightly, and with the snow falling all around, the whole place felt magical—my favorite time of the year.

A large black Mercedes SUV glided by below my window, snagging my attention. The car slowly drew to a halt before the driver parallel parked like a pro on the other side of the street.

A minute later, the door opened wide, and a man emerged. Same as the vehicle, he’d dressed head to toe in black. Heavy, tailored, black, woolen overcoat, black suit, black leather gloves, black shoes, he was a stark contrast to the blinding white of the snow all around him. His coat shifted open as he moved in the cold air, revealing a white shirt and the pale lilac of his tie, the single hint of color in the monochrome attire.

With his naturally olive-toned skin and dark, almost-black hair pushed up and off his face, he could have stepped right out of a gangster movie from the 1950s. Looking both ways before crossing the street only accentuated the strong set of his jaw, the high slash of his cheekbones, and his perfectly straight nose.

He walked with a confidence I’d rarely ever seen, even in Boston, causing my pulse to tick up a couple of notches. Cocky? Very likely. Arrogant? Almost definitely. But on him the lazy swagger and don’t-fuck-with-me attitude worked like a charm, making him seem larger than life.

Still ogling him as he made his way toward the sidewalk on my side of the street, it wasn’t until he disappeared from view, directly below my window, things rapidly fell into place.

He’d come here to meet me, and taking a quick glance at the sunburst clock on the wall, I noted he’d arrived a half hour early.

This guy is the one I had to try to persuade the prickliest man on earth to sell his cabin and land to. The man who’d make the difference between me basking in my stepfather’s praise for five minutes, or being made to feel like the inadequate disappointment Malcolm had come to expect, responsible for him having to lay off his staff and my sister losing complete funding for her medical care.

The footsteps on the stairs grew louder, until my 12:30 p.m. appointment stood outside the glass-paned door to my office. “Do not fuck this up, Taylor,” I mumbled under my breath. “Do not fuck it up.”

My eyes locked onto the man’s beautiful face, and when he raised his head to look straight at me, our gazes connected. The intensity of his eyes hit me right in the chest, and thank goodness I remained sitting because when he smiled at me, I actually went dizzy at the sight of those gorgeously full lips parting as the corners of his mouth tilted up.

The door opening, the sound grating loud on the hardwood floor, and him walking inside immediately brought my gawping to a halt. I had to be smart, professional, and make a good impression on the guy, so how come it got more and more difficult to concentrate on doing so, the closer to me he got?

He paused in front of my desk, the exotic fragrance of his cologne teasing my senses as blackcurrant and spice assailed me. I breathed him in deeply, sucking his scent into my lungs, imprinting his essence. He removed his gloves, taking his time to pull each manicured finger out of the leather encasing them before extending his right hand. I stood and absently noted he wasn’t as tall as I’d originally thought. Not surprising as I’m well over six feet. He was likely five ten, five eleven tops. Amazing how his persona made him appear so much bigger, and so much more confident.

As I gazed down into his face, this close, I clearly saw the color of his eyes. Dark jade green around the pupil but growing paler closer to the edges of his iris. They were mesmerizing, and being the sole focus of his attention was slightly unnerving, yet oddly exciting at the same time.

“Mr. Taylor?” For some reason, I’d expected his New York accent to be stronger, likely the result of watching too many cop shows. Instead, the hard edges of his voice were rounded off, making it sound deep and silky smooth.

I nodded, extending my own hand, and liked the feel of his fingers when they enclosed me in his grip. His handshake was firm and full of business but didn’t prevent the heat of his palm from warming me right through as I glanced down to the single connection we’d created. He squeezed a bit tighter, sending a jolt of electricity zipping along my arm and had my gaze flicking up to his face.

“Leo, please,” I eventually replied, unable to prevent the huskiness from creeping into my voice.

He maintained eye contact, his gaze assessing, my hand still encased in his. “Leo,” he replied, his voice dipping, and damn did my name sound good coming from him. His lips quirked, like he knew the effect he had on me, making me realize I had to get my act together, pronto, or I’d lose myself in him completely.

“Mr. Sanchez.”

He shook his head, amused. “Gabe, please.”

In all the correspondence between us, he’d always signed his full name of Gabriel Sanchez. Now, being allowed to use the shortened version of his name gave me the strange feeling I’d somehow been rewarded. “Gabe,” I replied, savoring the feeling of familiarity. His smile returned and so did my gawping as I reluctantly released his grip to offer him a seat.

“Can I get you a coffee?” I needed something to do for a few minutes to try to regain my equilibrium. Getting coffee was normal, mundane, and I jumped at the task when he agreed.

“With a little creamer, please.” After moving to pick up the carafe off the polished chrome coffee maker, I poured us both a cup, added his creamer, and returned to my desk. “Thank you.” He reached for the cup as I placed it in front of him, our fingers lightly touching. Was he doing this on purpose to unnerve me? Technically, I should be looking out for Mitchell Houghton’s best interests, after all, despite the man’s clear reluctance to sell, so maybe he was trying to keep me off-balance.

He needn’t have bothered, as unknown to him, we both had the same agenda. I needed the sale to go through, likely more than he did, so any underhanded tactics on his part were pointless. Though I’d be interested to see what happens when he meets my client and tries his subtle flirting act on him.

“What time are we meeting Mr. Houghton?” he asked.

I glanced out the window at the snow currently falling a lot heavier now than earlier, meaning the roads would be getting tricky. “I think we may have to postpone today’s meeting.” I gestured outside. “I’ve not visited the cabin yet, but I know the route isn’t great, and by car at least, it’s one way in and one way out. The snow will be laying thick on the trail so I’m not sure it’s a good idea.”

Gabe’s eyes narrowed. “Good idea or not, we have arranged the meeting for this afternoon, and I have specifically driven up from New York to be here.” He placed his coffee on the desk, his relaxed demeanor gone, replaced by a serious expression. “We will be having the meeting today, Mr. Taylor, or the deal is off.”

Shit. I was back to being Mr. Taylor. I held up my hands in defeat. “If that’s what you want.”

“It is.”

I nodded. “We can take my 4×4. As nice as your SUV looks, I doubt we’d make it on the road to the cabin without getting stuck.”

He appeared about to disagree, but another check outside and he must have decided against it. Instead, he stood, picked up his leather gloves, and adjusted his overcoat. “Then I suggest we get moving. The sooner this deal is done, the sooner we can return before the roads become impassable.”

Standing, too, I walked over to the coat rack, grabbed my ancient and worn-out jacket, and shrugged it on. After slinging my messenger bag containing all the relevant paperwork over my shoulder, we headed out the door and down the stairs. Pulling open the main entrance door, the blast of cold air swirling around my face made me shiver. I stepped aside, allowing Gabe to slip by me and exit onto the sidewalk, and took another discrete sniff as he passed. He really did smell good.

“My car is out back.” I locked up and turned to walk down the street. “Please, follow me.” We walked behind the office to my beat-up Jeep, with Gabe trailing quietly behind me, too quietly if you asked me. I guessed this might be another tactic to keep me off guard, because sensing him close but not seeing him definitely made me nervous and caused me to wonder if I’d pissed off the only people who’d expressed a serious interest in buying Mitchell Houghton’s property.

After initially contacting me when he received the sale offer letter from Skyscraper Construction, Mr. Houghton emailed the details to my office for me to review. I’d tried suggesting we meet at his property, so I fully understood what, exactly, the company intended to buy, but my newest client promptly disabused me of the notion when he flat out refused. His prerogative. of course, but not getting a chance to see the cabin and land left me at a distinct disadvantage. How could I fully represent him if I had no clue as to the scale of what the deal included?

After my own investigations at the planning department and library to evaluate the size of the property and relative costs for land in the area, I concluded the offer was an impressive one. Yet, my client remained reluctant to sign on the dotted line.

I’d also done some digging around for more information on Mitchell Houghton himself and discovered how close he was to losing everything. In arrears with his mortgage and having taken out numerous personal loans with no clear way to pay them off, he didn’t have many options left open to him. Selling offered him the ideal way out, but he kept digging his heels in, and I had no clue why.

Adding an errant brother into the mix, who may also have a claim on the property, had only increased my confusion, leaving me with more questions than answers. The original copy of the deed to the cabin had been lost in a fire at the county offices a number of years ago, so I couldn’t tell if Mitchell owned the place outright or if his brother Jared owned a share too.

All I did know was I had a lot of work to do to persuade my client to at least listen to what Gabriel Sanchez had to say before he threw his whole life in the dumpster.

I keenly heard Malcolm’s words reverberating inside my head to not screw it up.

I would, of course.

It’s what I did, after all.


NineStar Press | Books2Read

Meet the Author

Pauley J Ray has been making up stories in his head for as long as he can remember, and now gets to write those stories down in his own gay romantic fiction, involving sexy, complicated, and flawed characters searching for their happily ever after.

When not writing, he loves meeting up with friends and can’t wait to get outdoors with his husband, hiking, camping and traveling to new and exciting places as often as they can.

He feels extremely lucky to be able to sit at his laptop, all day, every day, creating the heartfelt, angsty and passionate romance books he himself loves to read.

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