MAN UP SERIES, BOOK 2
AUDIO RELEASE: 09.05.18
COVER DESIGN: REESE DANTE
NARRATOR: KALE WILLIAMS
Universal link: mybook.to/RhoadesUndeniable
Loneliness. The pain doesn’t simply go away with time. It’s been years, and they tell me I need to move on. But I can’t.
Blame and regret are my constant companions. Until I see him in the spotlight and everything changes. Night after night, I watch him dance. Thinking about him.
What he’d feel like.
What he’d taste like.
And now that I know, I want him even more.
And maybe…just maybe, he might want me too.
But not yet.
Not before he knows he’s more than a pretty face. Not before he knows what he means to me. I need him by my side.
The two of us.
Why can’t I forget him? His hands touching me. His mouth on mine. Kissing me. Rendering me mindless.
Every night I lay awake burning for him. Dreaming. Thinking. Needing him.
No—I don’t. I don’t need anyone.
I want him.
I want more. I am more. He’s seen that, and now here I stand with my dream on the horizon. All I need to do is take that first step. Trust him.
Everyone wanted him.
I couldn’t be angry with Austin for leaving me in this dingy back room when I’d broken every rule I’d set for myself by kissing him. The blame for Austin’s flight rested solely on my shoulders. All it took was one touch.… One simple, devastating kiss and the tight check on my emotions unraveled, sending everything I held together for years spilling out in wild abandon. I lost control. It both shattered and bewildered me, and I hated that. I was always in control.
At the sound of frantic knocking, I buttoned up my shirt and redid my tie with cool precision. A swift glance in the mirror to check and make sure all looked well on the outside and then I opened the door.
“Where is he?” James burst into the room. “Where’s Austin?”
“Hello to you too.” I smoothed my hair and gave him a lazy smile.
“Don’t give me your bullsh*t now. This is serious.”
I couldn’t recall the last time I’d seen James anything but coolly elegant. Now, his tie was askew and unknotted, and the blond hair he normally wore perfectly styled lay stuck to his forehead in sweat-darkened strands. Tension coiled through me, and I gripped his arm. Hard. “What’s wrong?” I squeezed, and James grunted in pain. “Tell me.”
Ignoring me as he’d always done since we were teenagers, James twisted out of my grasp. “I need to find Austin because wherever he is, hopefully Frankie’s with him.”
“Oh?” My rapidly banging heart settled back to normal, and I smirked. “Don’t tell me you’ve got a crush on little Frankie?”
With a wrinkle of his elegant nose, James looked every bit like a refined Englishman disdainfully peering down on one of his serfs. But my brother couldn’t pull his bullsh*t off on me.
After the start we got in the first book of this series, Austin, that was such a tease, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. I loved getting to go more in depth to see what was behind Austin’s issue with getting close to anyone again, and also getting to see things from Rhoades’s point of view. Like anyone, they both have things from their past still shaping their present and with this story we get to see them both finally begin to move forward again.
I really like that things between Austin and Rhoades move slowly, allowing Austin to prove himself professionally so he doesn’t feel like he’s getting ahead because of a relationship with Rhoades. The pace that’s set allows their relationship to develop at a natural pace, allowing deeper feelings to develop and not letting things be based on just the physical attraction that we all know is constantly sizzling just below the surface (and sometimes breaking through).
I also am intrigued by Frankie and the story that’s being set up for him, that’s one book I’m already hooked for thanks to the glimpses into his life from these books so far. Frankie and his family are a great support for Austin, along with the family who owns the bodega by Austin’s apartment as well as his fellow dancers and boss at Man Up.
I did find that for me, Austin’s repeated pushing back of Rhoades—regardless of his reasoning for it—did make it just a tad more difficult to feel their true connection until very late in the story. That’s probably a “me” thing though since I tend to favor matchups where the characters are continually building intimacy throughout a story rather than holding back as Austin was doing (the emotion feels deeper to me when it’s like that).
In the end, the author’s always engaging writing and the final outcome of Austin and Rhoades’s story still has me rating it 4 stars, and putting it down as a definite recommendation for M/M romance fans. The story is heavier on Austin finding a new path for himself and Rhoades finally realizing he’s ready to move on from the past than on their physical relationship, but there’s still enough steamy times to make this story one for readers 18+ with the adult language and sexual content.
The narration: Kale Williams was pretty consistent with the character voices that he used in the audiobook of Austin here in Rhoades. Pacing was even, and it was easy for me to get lost in the story again this second book. The audio was enjoyable to listen to, and the only reason I’m giving the narration 4.5 stars instead of 5 is because there were some points where the accents for Rhoades and for one of the supporting characters, Max, did fluctuate just a bit and didn’t remain constant.
About the Author
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.
But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.
Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.