Wood: A True Lover's Story
by A.E. Via
Release Date: 08.08.20
It’s been a long seventeen years but Herschel Wood Jr. is finally a free man and he’s looking forward to reconnecting with his old cellmate, Bishop Stockley, who promised him a place to stay and some help getting back on his feet. Wood had a good life once upon time when he’d owned one of the most successful tattoo shops on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront – until a fatal accident that was his fault cost him everything.
Now at forty-six years old, all Wood wants is to work in another shop on the beach and find a mature, easygoing man to settle down with. But when he gets to his new place and finds he has to share the small trailer with Bishop’s childhood friend, he wasn’t expecting a sexy, smart-mouthed brat that enjoys pushing a man to his limits.
Wood pressed in tight until there was only misunderstanding between them, his mouth mere inches from Trent’s parted lips. “You wanted to get a reaction out of me you annoying, immature little sh*t… now you’ve got one.”
Trent Armstrong has never been considered a catch. He’s a twenty-nine year old laborer, an ex-con, and not the easiest person to get along with. He’s used to being the one people cast to the side when they're done with him. Everyone he’s ever cared about has walked out of his life without a backward glance, so he’s used to the loneliness. His foul mouth and quick temper are a great defense mechanism and an easy way to hide his hurt.
From the moment the tattooed, silver-haired man walked into the house there had been nothing but tension, side-eyeing, and sparks between them. Trent has always held back a side of himself that he’s terrified to explore, and without warning Wood’s voice, his maturity, that maddening scent, and even his damaged past all trigger feelings that Trent thought he’d buried deep long ago.
Trent went completely still when Wood dragged his nose over his forehead and down the side of his face. His voice was shaky, and his breaths were hot and swift along Wood’s throat. “What the hell are you doing?”
“I’m doing what you want me to do.” Wood whispered. “I’m playing your bullsh*t game, Trent.”
The True Lover's Stories are connected standalones. Each title features a different couple but will contain previously mentioned characters.
No multiple pairings. No cliffhanger. Ends with a HEA.
Note: This is a steaming angsty, age gap, new-to-love romance.
Universal Link: https://books2read.com/Wood
“I asked you politely not to call me that. Now, I’m telling you. Don’t. Do it. My name is Herschel Wood, Jr. No middle name. You can call me Herschel, or Wood, that’s it. I would’ve told you that if you’d bothered to ask.” Wood fumed. He had his forearm across Trent’s chest, pushing his back into the closet door at the end of the dark hallway. He couldn’t believe what he was doing, but how dare Trent drive him to the edge like this? Wood pressed in so tight until there was only air and misunderstanding between them, his mouth mere inches from Trent’s parted lips. “You wanted to get a reaction out of me, you annoying, immature little sh*t…now you’ve got one.”
Trent’s eyes blazed as he tried to shove off the door, but Wood held him in check with his mass. “F*ck you.” Trent grunted, his hot gaze lasered on Wood’s lips.
Wood gave him a smirk and enjoyed as Trent squirmed even more against him. “You think I don’t know the game you’re playing? Maybe no one else does—even though I taught Bishop better—but I can see right through your transparent ass, Trent. So damn clearly.”
Trent’s masked desires were obvious—Wood had seen it the moment he’d laid eyes on him. He knew he hadn’t been wrong. But he’d wanted to leave Trent off-limits. Bishop just wanted them to be friends, but Wood was afraid he was finally going to have to tell his buddy that it wasn’t going to happen. The four of them wouldn’t be hanging out together all the time. There was too much screwed-up sh*t going on with Trent, and Wood deserved some peaceful days. He didn’t have the patience to put up with crap from hesitant men anymore. He had no doubt that Trent was pushing his buttons…because he wanted Wood to push his in return.
“Wood,” Trent snarled, as he clutched tightly to his shoulders with both hands.
Wood’s answer was another cunning smile. Did Trent even realize that he wasn’t pushing Wood away, he was holding him close? Wood wouldn’t point that out just yet. If Trent wanted to have some fun with him, then fine. He’d entertain himself until it was time for him to leave. He should’ve known this setup was too good to be true. What Trent pulled on him was exactly the kind of typical mess Wood was used to. People judging and condemning him for no reason.
Trent went completely still when Wood dragged his nose over his forehead and down the side of his face. His voice was shaky, and his breaths were hot and swift along Wood’s throat. “The f*ck are you doing?”
“I’m doing what you want me to do.” Wood clenched his teeth. “I’m playing your bullsh*t game, Trent.”
“I’m not playing anything,”he breathed.
“Oh yeah you are.” Wood released Trent suddenly, but he didn’t pull away. He leaned in until his mouth was against Trent’s ear. “But I’m about to show you I’m much better at this game than you are.” Wood slowly eased away, then cocked his head to the side, motioning to Trent’s punishing grip he still had on his shoulders. “Now let me go.”
A.E. Via is known for her gritty alphas, and Wood and Trent both certainly fit that mold. They’re also both blue collar ex-cons just trying to get ahead in life. They do have those things in common, along with Bishop as a close friend to each of them. At first glance, they might not seem like a match…especially since Trent seems determined to keep distance between them before they’ve even met. Y’all know how that will work out, right?
I do have to say—if after Wood’s “redemption day” you don’t feel totally torn apart and defeated on his behalf, you may want to check if you still have a beating heart. I was devastated for him, but Wood’s lowest point does lead to the realization that Trent, sarcastic smart-ass that he is, is actually capable of incredible compassion, and later intense intimacy. The care he shows for Wood is truly moving and the entire situation acts as a point for both men to become fully cognizant of their feelings.
Things don’t always go smoothly for these guys, and just when you think they will there’s just enough angst thrown in to stir things up again. But there is no doubt that they have fought for what they have and really deserve their happiness in the end.
There’s a solid cast of supporting characters; of course you’ll find Bishop and Edison here, it’s so good to see them again and they both are there for Trent and Wood, along with Mike, Bishop’s father. Yes, Mike may act like a big kid, but he’s one of Trent’s biggest supporters. There is also a new introduction, Rayne, who shows up in the beginning and again at the end, and I think he’s going to pique the interest of a lot of readers (like oh, say, ME).
5 stars for Wood! Do you need to read Bishop first? Not necessarily; however, I think you will get a better understanding of Trent’s personality if you do, and you’ll get to see more about his connection with Bishop and what they’ve gone through together. Plus Bishop and Edison’s story is phenomenal (yeah, okay, I’m a little biased because I LOVE Edison). Now go enjoy Wood and Trent’s story, and remember with the adult language and sexual content, this one is meant for readers 18+.
About the Author
A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for six years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay literature for over twenty years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great, new up and coming MM authors.
A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her.
A.E.’s novels embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.
She’s recently celebrated her 20th book anniversary, and is well-known for her hardcore, love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.
Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peek at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.