June 4, 2017 by Valerie Ullmer
Favorite Reads – June 4th, 2017 #gayromance #contemporaryromance #unexpected
Favorite Reads – Elsa Winters
Elsa Winters, among other M/M or gay romance authors, are the inspiration for my new book, Unexpected (A Unexpected Novel Book One) out now. The first book I read by Elsa was The Road Home and I loved the characters from the first page. Nick was a wonderful character, very driven to be the best EMT and prove himself to his new partner, Andrew. Andrew has never kept a partner for longer than a couple of months and Nick is expected to fail. But soon, Nick proves himself and the two men grow to become best friends.
Everything about this book is magical and I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. I also loved her two other gay romance books and I have just received her newest ARC, Conning Colin, and I can’t wait to read it. She is a wonderfully thorough character-driven author and you will fall in love with her characters just as I did. Below are three of Elsa’s books that I’ve enjoyed.
“I’m your friend, Andrew. I think I’m the only friend you’ve got.”
Nick Carpenter grew up in the foster system after watching his parents die in a car crash. Now, he’s finally found a place for himself as an EMT. Partnered with a gruff but very competent paramedic as his first assignment in Seattle, he figures that it’s best to keep this working relationship strictly professional, even if Andrew is hot as hell.
“You let the patient talk, Nick, because sooner or later they’ll probably tell you what you need to know.”
Andrew Hazard loves his job, even if he gets paired with a different EMT every couple weeks. Once an EMT proves himself incompetent, Andrew makes no effort to be friends with them. That’s why it’s such a relief when Nick comes along. He keeps the ambulance stocked, he can drive well, and he knows how to start an IV. He’s great at saving lives, and also a great person to hang out with. From hiking to movies, they find themselves spending a lot of time with each other. Nick’s homosexuality definitely isn’t a problem, even though Andrew’s girlfriend jokes that he wants to spend more time with Nick than with her.
“You wanna go on an adventure?”
When Andrew gets the chance of a lifetime – going to the prestigious UCLA Medical School – his girlfriend doesn’t share his enthusiasm. And so, freshly broken up, Andrew asks Nick to go with him on a road trip down south to check out the area. Nick wants to keep him as his best friend, even though his romantic feelings have reached a fever pitch. But he also realizes that this could be his last chance to let Andrew know how he feels. Will Andrew let Nick into his heart, or will this road trip be their last hurrah?
My Rating and Review
I absolutely loved the relationship between Nick and Andrew. They are partnered up, Nick an EMT and Andrew the paramedic, and when they start to work together, it’s rocky but they do become friends. Nick is gay and from the moment he meets Andrew, he feels a strong attraction, but he doesn’t do anything about it. When he finds out that Andrew is bi, Nick thinks he doesn’t stand a chance, especially when Andrew starts dating a nurse. I envied the easy friendship between Nick and Andrew, and when Andrew reveals that he’s applied to medical school in LA, he invites Nick on a road trip that changes everything between them. The relationship is slow to develop, but you love every moment that develops between Nick and Andrew. It’s a wonderful story and I hope there is more of Nick and Andrew in the future!!
“I can’t get you off my mind, Matt. And I don’t think I want to.”
Jake never thought he’d wind up back in the small town of Fairfield, Georgia. But when he decides that New York City is no longer the right place for a single dad to raise his young son, that’s just where he goes. With nothing but a bag full of clothes and his dad’s broken-down old Camaro, they make the move back to the town that Jake once called home. There, he begins a new life as one of the town’s police deputies.
“You wanna spend some real time alone with me, Officer?”
When taking his Camaro in to the shop, he meets the town’s hot-as-hell mechanic, Matt. The spark between them is instantaneous, and though Jake has never been with a man before, the chemistry between them can’t be ignored. There’s a couple of problems, though. Matt’s deeply homophobic father threatens everything about the new relationship, and Jake’s not ready to tell his son that he’s moving on, let alone with another man.
“You don’t have to tell me everything, but please, talk to me.”
What begins as a simple hookup quickly turns more complicated when Jake’s son catches them in the act, and word travels quickly in this small town. When Matt’s father rejects his son’s new boyfriend, what began as a warning soon turns more threatening. And when fires crop up around town, both Jake and Matt will have to decide which is more important: their love or the safety of their families?
My Rating and Review
Elsa writes solid characters that I would continue to read about, even though the conflict in the book was a little wanting. Jake moved back to his hometown in Georgia to get away from the hellish reminders of his ex-wife, when he meet Matt. Their connection is instantaneous and while it is believable that they would run into problems when they first get together, it seems that Jake hurts Matt out of sheer fear and instead of using logic, he panics first and then questions later. That said, I think they make a wonderful family alone with Jake’s son, Josh. It is a sweet story that will have you rooting for Jake and Matt!!
“I panic every time I think about getting hurt…”
Kurt was a beautiful man, but now he can barely look at himself in the mirror. One night, years ago, he had let his guard down, and a sadistic group had taken advantage of the situation. The assault wasn’t sexual, but Kurt is reminded of it every time he sees the scars. He knows that, no matter what, he can never let anyone else see the tapestry of abuse on his back.
“I would never hurt you, Kurt.”
James already has a busy life. Between his son moving back home during college, trying to help a jilted ex-boyfriend get back on his feet, and his thriving-but-stressful ownership of a wine bar, he knew he didn’t have time for any new drama. But when he saw the beautiful golden-haired and golden-skinned Kurt, he knew he had to make time, no matter what baggage Kurt had.
“How about I don’t touch you? You can touch me, Kurt. I won’t touch you. I won’t move an inch unless you tell me to.”
Despite a series of missteps by James, Kurt feels his resistance start to break down. Still, even though he feels like he can touch James, he can’t seem to make that final leap of trust. However, as James opens up his life to Kurt, Kurt realizes that James is just as emotionally vulnerable as he is. James tries to hide the scars of his history as fiercely as Kurt hides the scars on his back. Will Kurt allow James to make him whole again, or will he never allow himself to be touched again?
My Rating and Review
Wow! When you first meet Kurt and James, there is an instant attraction, but due to issues that Kurt has (which, hell, what he went through anyone would lose their minds because of) and outside forces that want to keep them apart, their romance starts slowly. James seems to want to keep things casual, that’s how he’s been with all is other dates, but soon Kurt is the only person in his orbit. With Kurt’s past, James’ ex coming by, Kurt’s best friend wanting him to end the relationship before it even began, they both have many problems that they have to get through before their HEA. It was a wonderful book and I loved both Kurt and James!!