October 29, 2017 by Valerie Ullmer
Book Feature – Bernie (Barista Boys) by A.E. Ryecart
Book Title: Bernie
Author: A E Ryecart
Publisher: A E Ryecart
Cover Artist: Meredith Russell
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Length: 60,600 words
#4 in the Barista Boys series, but it can be read as a standalone
“You fix the lives of others. The waifs and strays, the lost and broken, you fix them all, Bernie. But the life that needs fixing most of all is your own.”
Bernie Porter is a haunted man. He holds tight to the guilt that he was responsible for the death of the only one he’s ever loved, a man he vowed to protect and keep safe.
Every frightened and damaged kid who washes up at Barista Boys door, Bernie rescues each and every one – all because of the man he failed to save so many years before.
Emotionally and physically scarred, Jared Hastings survived a night of violence and madness that almost left him dead. As he emerges from the nightmare that threatened to destroy him, Jared’s determined to plunge head-first into a future that’s free from the horrors of his past.
A night-time street robbery, and Bernie and Jared are thrown into each other’s worlds. But as fast as Jared comes into Bernie’s life, he’s gone, leaving Bernie with the gnawing conviction he’s let something precious slip through his fingers.
Their paths cross again in a way neither could have foreseen. From their first tentative steps, the slow burn of their relationship gathers pace. But as dark histories are revealed, and souls and hearts bared, each man finally comes to understand they can fix not just themselves, but each other.
Buy Links ~ Available on KU
A faint aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa floated on the air, underscored by a subtle spice. Bernie breathed in deep, the scent an intoxicating mix of expensive cologne and the warmth of Jared’s skin. Bernie licked his lips as unaccustomed nerves overtook him. In the sunny garden, the timing was different, the situation was different. He opened his mouth, ready to ask if he could see Jared again. He’d seen, he was sure he’d seen, a glimmer of interest in those big blue eyes. There was only one way to find out. Before he could speak Jared asked a question which stopped him dead.
“You know,” Jared said as tilted his head towards the wicker chairs for them to sit down, “I never for one moment expected to run into my Good Samaritan again, and especially not here. Lindy said you’re an old friend of Mikey’s. How long have you known him?”
Bernie sipped his drink, buying himself time. This wasn’t a conversation he wanted, but it was inevitable the question would come up. How he’d met Michalis was tangled and screwed up, and a nightmare that haunted him still. The innocent question had a far from innocent answer. He needed to pick his words carefully as he had no idea how much, if anything, Jared knew about his brother-in-law’s business activities.
“I’ve known Mikey for years. We met when he had business interests in nightclubs.” The answer was bland, but it was true, every single word of it.
Jared had been about to take a swig of beer, but he paused and tapped the rim of the neck against his lower lip. Bernie watched him, seeing the questions swimming in his eyes.
“Do you still work with him?”
Bernie stared into eyes that didn’t flinch or waiver. He’d never said he’d worked with or for Michalis. He’d deliberately omitted that part, but Jared was smart and had seen through his carefully constructed answer. What Jared thought of that, Bernie had no way of knowing. But this was a question he could answer in all honesty, and with no ambiguity.
“No, I don’t. I worked with him in the early days, and not for long. We parted company and took very different paths in life but we’ve remained good friends and I hope we always will.”
Neither spoke, nor moved, as they looked deep into each other’s eyes. Bernie exhaled a long breath, and Jared’s lips curled up into a big smile that held more than a hint of relief. Whatever Jared meant by his one word answer, Bernie wasn’t going to delve, not when Jared was smiling at him and making his heart beat faster.
This was a very emotional book for me. I hadn’t read any of the other Barista Boys books and at the beginning, I thought it was about an older man who had been unlucky in finding a partner and was feeling lonely. But when Jared comes into the picture, you discover that there are two men with pasts that they are struggling to move on from. The sparks between Bernie and Jared are palpable from the moment they meet and I found myself reading uninterrupted to see what would happen to the two of them. A great read!
About the Author
A E Ryecart writes mm romance/gay fiction. Filled with angst, high drama and emotional tension, she writes the books she likes to read. An avid people watcher, most of her writing takes place in a local café amidst the background hum of hissing coffee machines, where she can check out the other customers for character and story inspiration!
A born and bred Londoner, she may have moved to someplace more leafy but the city is still very much part of her DNA, which is why her books are set in and around present-day London, providing a thrilling, metropolitan backdrop to the main action.
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