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    AUDIO REVIEW: Promises Part 1 by A.E. Via

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    The Bounty Hunters: Promises Part 1 – A.E. Via

    Duke Morgan owns and operates one of the largest bail bond companies in Atlanta. Not only does he bond criminals out of jail, he and his notorious group of bounty hunters will also track them down and ensure they show up for court.

    Roman ‘Quick’ Webb is Duke’s business partner and best friend. Both men are in their forties and have given up on the happily ever after with the ranch-style home, and white picket fence. They’d both tried it and failed miserably. But they have their friendship and they have the business.

    When Quick’s son, Vaughan Webb returns – after seven years – from studying abroad with his law degree in hand, he’s back to claim what he’s always wanted…his fathers’ best friend… Duke Morgan. Vaughan has always claimed to be a classic gentleman with an old soul. He didn’t party and screw up in school like his buddies. He was focused and dedicated to becoming the man worthy of Duke’s love.

    It’s a complex and messy situation as Duke and Quick figure out how to still be best friends when one of them is sleeping with his friend’s one and only son. But when Duke is hurt on the job, all the unimportant trivialities fall to the wayside and Vaughan and Quick put their heads together to save Duke.

    Part I of the Promises story is about Duke and Vaughan. Part II will be about Quick and his realization that it’s not too late for any of them to find love.

    You got to hand it to Vaughan. He really knew how to woo a man.

    The lawyer fell in love with his father’s bestfriend, Duke when he was 16 and since then, he embarked on a single-minded pursuit of the bounty hunter. But before he can make his move, he had to grow up and make Duke see him as a man.

    I love Vaughan’s determination and devotion! He literally gave a piece of himself to the one he loves just so they could be together. He’s my favorite character here.

    Duke was this big bad bounty hunting boss. Is really a big, needy softie. Nothing against him. He’s alright, I suppose.

    Quick is Duke’s bestfriend and Vaughan’s father. He has long since accepted his son’s crush and is very supportive of his son and his bestfriend’s romance. He has some potential romance of his own with a handsome doctor if only he admits the attraction to himself before it’s too late.

    I loved the first parts. It was more dramatic especially when Duke was injured and he only had weeks or months to live unless he undergoes an operation. This is where Vaughan went above and beyond the usual love declarations and made a sacrifice without telling Duke. He swore the doctor and his father to secrecy knowing Duke would refuse if he knew.

    There is little conflict between the characters, apart from initial reactions. I wouldn’t mind it if the story revolved around Duke’s job and his recovery. However, as with most of A.E. Via‘s works, it is very romance-centric. Which means a lot of cheesy lines and couple downtime that I usually skip to make the story go faster. The plot is thin and the latter part where Duke and his friends went after the man who injured him seemed like rushed attempt to wrap up a loose thread.

    Aiden Snow, who narrated Via‘s Nothing Special series, also did the reading for The Bounty Hunters. He is one of the reasons I stuck with the author’s works. He voices alpha males to perfection. Nothing Special has a big cast and I had no problems distinguishing the voices of the characters. Same with The Bounty Hunters. The voices were very apt for each character and emoted well. I recommend getting The Bounty Hunters in audio because Snow is eargasm!

    All in all, this is a book you go for if you want steamy, entertaining stories about alpha males getting in touch with their emotions. Suspension of disbelief may be necessary but the author certainly knew how to hook her readers because I’m eagerly awaiting Quick and Doc’s story.


    A.E. Via books here.

    Thank you to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible for providing the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: For Your Love
    Artist: Josh Record
    Album: Pillars

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    AUDIO REVIEW: Home for Christmas by R.J. Scott

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    Texas: Home for Christmas – R.J. Scott

    Can Connor show River a real family Christmas?

    When Connor finds River on the roof of the campus admin building, he doesn’t know what to do. His friend is drunk, and shouting into a snowstorm, a bottle of vodka in his hand. The easy part is getting River down; the hard part is insisting River comes home with Connor for Christmas.

    River doesn’t have a family, or any place outside of college that he calls home. Not that it matters to him; he’s happy being alone for Christmas in his budget motel, watching reruns of Elf. Only, Connor keeps telling wildly improbable stories of the perfect family celebrations at his parents’ ranch in Texas, and it’s wearing River down. He didn’t ask to be kidnapped. He didn’t want to fall in love with the entire Campbell-Hayes family. But he does.

    From one Christmas to the next. This is Connor’s year to rescue River, and himself, for them both to mess things up, make things right, fall in lust and finally, for Connor to show the man he loves what being part of a family can mean.

    Home for Christmas is Connor and River’s story of friendship-turned-love. The two young men couldn’t be more different. Connor came from money. He had a sunny disposition, a glass half-full kind of person, a do-gooder who loves to fix things. River is a talented gymnast and diver. He had bounced from foster home to foster home and struggles with his black moods, his epilepsy and anxieties. He doesn’t want to be ‘fixed’.

    The story showed Connor and River spending the holidays at the ranch and how their feelings for each evolved. It started with Connor finding River on the roof, drunk and attempting to balance on his hands. Afraid that of what River might do to himself, Connor very persistently did not leave him alone and all but forced him to come with him to his family ranch for Christmas. Right off the bat, Connor’s tendency to help and fix things were obvious. Said tendencies also misfired at the latter point, a mistake that almost cost him River.

    River’s conflict and loneliness tugged at the heart. He was envious of a perfect family, wished he was part of it and also did not want the Campbell-Hayes to see his ugly side. The book tackled, among many things, mental issues like fear of abandonment. I liked how it was handled. There were no miracle cures. Instead, there were people, like Connor, who were willing to be a constant in River’s life.

    We meet different members of the sprawling Campbell-Hayes family, starting with Jack and Riley all the way to the aunts and cousins and by extension, the Legacy family. As a person who don’t do the holiday socializing thing, I sympathized with River and Jack, Connor’s Pappa. I liked that the author understood that anxious feeling of being in a crowd and gave the introverts their own quiet moments.

    This is my first Texas book and my first time meeting the Campbell-Hayes family. Like River, I was both overwhelmed and delighted by this warm, loving, larger-than-life family. Now I have to read book one just to see how everything started. Even though I started at book 9, it can be read as a standalone. There were enough backgrounders via improbable family stories to help you sort through the dynamics of the clan.

    I am a bit torn with the narration. Sean Crisden did a stellar job portraying the different characters and all the emotions really came through, especially River’s and Connor’s. However, I found his reading a little too fast. There were some moments where I thought a slightly longer pause would have been needed. I almost missed some parts where the characters did something because the sentences ran together. Slowing down the audiobook to 0.5X made it sound weird. I’m not sure if the reading speed is how Crisden typically narrates. I have listened to two of his audiobooks by Megan Derr and Riley Hart and I enjoyed how he read them.

    Still, Home for Christmas is a great holiday novella. It’s full of love and family with characters you couldn’t help but be drawn to. It’s a well-done hurt/comfort story with just the right balance of angst and sweetness. Recommended if you are in the mood for a Christmas story about opening your heart to love, hope and future possibilities.


    Thank you to Signal Boost Promotions and Audible for providing a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

    3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

    Soundtrack: Driving Under Stars
    Artist: Marika Hackman
    Album: Wonderland