Series: Twirled World #2
Publication date: December 13, 2016
Length: 132 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Model perfect Jimmy “Trouble” Carver had never heard the word no. Tattooed, sexy and the quintessential bad boy Trouble had men falling over themselves to get to him. What people didn’t know about him was he was self-conscious even if life was easy for him. He’d started out as an apprentice at Twirled World Ink after college and never looked back. Trouble was exactly where he wanted to be, although there was one speed bump, his crush refused to go out on a date.
Brody Vaughn worked in a dead-end job, barely making it from paycheck to paycheck. He didn’t have much time for anyone other than his five-year-old daughter Mina and besides he’d never quite found a place in this world he fit. Chunky and average, that's how he felt, except for when Trouble came into the grocery store where he worked. The flirty, gorgeous man asked him out every week with a sexy smile, but Brody had to refuse. It wasn’t as if he wanted to say no, it was just how could he date a man Brody knew he had no business trying to keep.
The Crazies of Twirled World Ink excel at one thing, matchmaking, and they are determined their resident bad boy would get his man. They just had to make sure that neither Trouble or Brody screwed up their plan.
For these guys happy isn't really a word they use while hopping through a field of flowers. No. These are rough, tough, gritty guys. They are not your run of the mill romance heroes. However, Trouble is pretty much model perfect, inside he's all sorts of messed up.
In book one you remember them mentioning that Trouble kept asking out this guy who works at a grocery store and the guy always telling him no. I couldn't fathom it personally. But in this one we meet the store clerk, Brody, and we find out all the reasons behind all the no's. And it comes in the body of a little girl named Mina.
You'll fall in love with that girl and she'll have you wrapped around her little finger just like she has all the guys! Thing is Brody doesn't think he's anything to write home about. He thinks he's average looking, sort of on the marshmellow-y side and he thinks Trouble is way out of his league. Trouble thinks Brody and Mina are way out of his league. I enjoyed watching them prove each other wrong.
Trouble's family is quite possible the worst family in all the world. I wanted to jump into the book and beat the ever loving snot out of each of them. But one thing this book and this series shows us is that family is chosen not made.
All the secondary characters are amazing in this series. You see old and new and they all just fit in perfectly. This book is more emotional than the first and you can't help but fall hard for Trouble and want to put him in your pocket and forever protect him.
I adored this book so much. Great series!
He pulled into the space beside Brody’s car. The place he’d picked was a small Italian place within walking distance, Vince, the chef, was a regular at Twirled. He got out and locked the door, pocketed his keys and headed for the door. As always Brody opened the door and waited for him with a welcoming smile.
He wondered if it would always be like that, Brody always there to welcome him home, but the thought frightened him. The idea of getting his hopes too high and having Brody decide—not thinking about it.
“Mina wouldn’t leave until she got to see you,” Brody exasperated tone held a hint of amusement.
“Is Elijah’s heart broken,” Trouble asked as he leaned down to press a kiss to Brody’s smile. “You look fucking gorgeous.”
Brody’s face turned the cutest shade of pink. “He swears you and the crew knocked him out of favorite uncle position.”
“We’re cooler, what can I say?”
“There’s the Trouble ego I’ve missed this last week.”
“Missed you too,” Trouble said as he walked through the door. “Princess,” He called out and chuckled at the squeal that could’ve shattered glass.
“Trouble, do I have to go to Uncle Elijah’s house? Can we stay with the crew? Lucky’s fun.”
He swung Princess into his arms and tried not to laugh at the glare he was getting from Elijah. The man was so uptight he’d probably break into a million pieces if he so much as laughed.
“Now, Princess, Uncle Elijah is so excited for you to spend the night. How about this, if Daddy says it’s okay I’ll pick you up Friday and you can hang out with us until he gets off work. Besides, you start school next week.”
“Can I wear my new boots?”
“You’ll have to ask Daddy about that.”
“Okay, but why can’t I come with you?”
Trouble almost gave in and told her yes. His strong suit wasn’t going to be the strict one; that would have to be Brody’s job. Internally he winced at the thoughts going through his head. They were only dating. Right now, Trouble was the cool friend or Uncle. He wasn’t her dad, but he wanted to be some day.
“I’m taking your Daddy on a date, just the two of us. You can come next time.”
“Okay, will I see Tank, I’ve been learning to talk with my hands.”
“He’ll probably be working, but we’ll see.”
“Fine,” Princess pouted. “You tell him I’ve been learning.”
“I’ll tell him.” He kissed her cheek and set her on her little biker boot clad feet.
“I have another one to contend with?”
“Tank is awesome! He talks with his hands and he has this long beard and he growls like a bear.” Princess talked a mile a minute as she walked over to pick up her bag.
“Now I’m supposed to contend with a growly tattooed grizzly bear that has this incredible skill.”
“I’ve got my cards and my movies, we’ll practice. He’s really good, but Uncle Scary says I’ll learn quick. He says I’m super smart.”
Trouble watched Elijah roll his eyes and realized the man didn’t know how to share his family. He kind of felt sorry for him. He’d had them all to himself for years and now this huge new group of people comes in. Brody said goodbye and kissed Princess loudly on her cheeks, hugged his brother and showed them out.
“I’m sorry about Elijah.”
“It’s gotta be a hard thing when she’s got a bunch of new people and he’s getting pushed to the side.”
“Yea, he’ll get used to it, but it’s still new.”
“You ready to go?”
“Yea, where are we going?”
“One of our regulars owns a place called Vincent’s he’s also the chef. He’s been telling us to come in forever, but—”
“Pizza and beer are easier, then there’s the diner.”
“Yep, Vincent’s sounds a bit fancy and we don’t clean up often.”
“I like you in your jeans and t-shirts.”
“I like you in anything, well, nothing but a towel is my favorite though.”
“Let’s go eat.”
He knew Brody wasn’t ready to take the next step, one that Trouble was almost desperate for, almost a year of abstinence did that to a man. He opened the door and waited for Brody to exit, then he locked and closed it behind him.
“No, it’s in walking distance, I thought it would give us time just to talk.”
They turned right at the sidewalk and started down the block, Powers, Georgia wasn’t a booming metropolis. It was big enough.
“Did you ever think about leaving here,” Brody asked.
“I did for a while, went to college, but it just wasn’t for me. I barely made it through high school,” He hated to admit he wasn’t the smartest man around, “When I decided that I wanted to work with Gib I came home. What about you?”
“No, I like it here, and Elijah is here. College would’ve been great, but there was never a time or money to go. I’d planned to be a teacher.”
“What about now that Princess is going to school?”
“Again, it’s having the time and money. I’ve got a job with a regular paycheck that makes the bills, not much more than that.”
“You’re doing great though.” He took Brody’s hand and laced their fingers as they crossed over Claremont Street. He didn’t like when Brody put himself down. Brody worked hard, Princess was amazing, and Brody was sweet, funny and damn near perfect.
“Thanks, Elijah had to put off school until I was older. Maybe when Mina is older and more independent, I can think about going back. Do you like where you are with your job and all?”
“It’s fucking great, meet new people, learn all their stories, hit some conventions a few times a year. Everyone thinks I had a charmed life growing up. The rich kid with all the best shit, but until I met the Phelps family it wasn’t great.”
“How did you meet Landon?”
“We met in third grade. He walked right up to me and said we’re friends. No asking or nothing. I just went along, but normally that’s how it went with him. Landon has some kind of feelings barometer. He can instantly tell your mood from one syllable. I think that’s why he picked me.
“Landon was this cool kid; he was nerdy as fuck though and totally out. Even when we were kids he knew and he didn’t apologize for it. Everyone knew who his Dad was. Everyone was losing their shit over Landon getting a bike for his sixteenth. Jealous as hell we all were. We’ve been best friends our whole lives.”
“I think Carla was my best friend and I think that was the problem.”
He turned to study Brody’s profile, noticed his tensed jaw and a slight frown. Brody didn’t talk much about Carla aside from the few questions Trouble had asked when they first started hanging out.
“What do you mean?”
“We were best friends. Inseparable and I think it was just everyone assumed we were dating so we went with it. We both had plans after high school that had us going our separate ways, still friends, but different schools and goals.”
“So marriage wasn’t in the cards,” He asked as they neared the restaurant and he stopped outside, sitting down on a bench and pulling Brody down with him.
“Shouldn’t we go inside?”
“Explain first, plenty of time. So, marriage?”
He didn’t care about dinner. Tonight was about getting to know Brody one-on-one. If Brody wanted he’d take him to the diner and they’d pig out on greasy burgers and fries. The location of the date wasn’t important to him.
“Definitely not. In hindsight, I think if we had decided not to get married, stay friends and raise Mina things would’ve been different.”
“You can always ask the what-ifs, but what happened, well happened.” He stretched his arm along the backrest and relaxed as he waited for Brody to continue.
Brody let out a heavy sigh and leaned back against the bench. “I think it would’ve ended up the same. Me with Mina and Carla off at college, doing her thing. When we talk it’s friendly, but not like when we were in high school and talked for hours about our futures. Besides Elijah she’s the first one I came out to as bisexual. She just smiled and went on like it was just another day.”
“I came out early to everyone but my parents, I waited until I was eighteen and on my way out the door. Part of me knew they’d see it as one of my many failings.”
“You didn’t fail at anything. Your family seems like assholes.”
“Public image is a really big thing. Which is weird because my parents’ life started as a scandal.”
“Well, my Mom's not really from the richest family. Dad and her got drunk one night at college. Nine months later, here I came. They were forced to get married. The stories I heard was his girlfriend was more than a little pissed. I think I reminded them of their fuck up, I was what ruined—”
“You didn’t ruin a damn thing and if they’re that petty then its best you stay away.”
“Brought the mood down, didn’t I?”
“Shut up and take me to get something to eat. Chubby guys love their food.”
“You’re sexy as fuck and don’t think differently. You in nothing but that towel has been night and morning jerk off material since I saw it, not that I didn’t think about it before.”
“Why do you think I spent a year setting myself up for rejection?”
“Glutton for punishment? Joke on the chubby guy?”
Had Brody thought all his offers of dates were about making fun of him? He shook his head, “You’re no joke. I thought you were sexy in this cute, innocent sort of way the first time I saw you. I wanted to muss you. Fuck, I was a fucking goner.”
He noticed Brody was turned away, he lifted his hand and pinched Brody’s chin to turn Brody to look at him.
“Did I say something wrong?”
“No, it’s just, you’re gorgeous and you know that, so don’t go denying it. But you’re also funny, sweet and so good with Mina. I just—”
“Don’t question, don’t start doubting shit. It’s our first date just us. No one’s in a hurry. I like you and Mina. We just do our thing and it’ll work out however it works. You don’t want more than friends for now than fine. I want more, but you have Mina, she comes first. Just don’t ask me to back off.” He wanted to distract from the heaviness or possible rejection. “I was thinking about getting Princess a sidecar for my bike.” He stood as Brody’s eyes went round and slightly panicked.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Brody was close on his heels as he walked through the door.
“Well, she’s gotta come on our Sunday runs. I checked the law—”The debate continued through drink orders, appetizers and halfway through dinner. He knew it was low, but he had checked into the age minimums and all. She was old enough and he wanted to take Brody and Mina out on Sundays. He just needed the conversation to go elsewhere. He knew the let's just be friends conversation was coming, but he wasn’t ready for it. He wasn’t willing to give them up yet. It might not be real but he wanted just a bit longer with the two people he was quickly considering his family.
About the Author
By day, J.M. is an introverted cook hiding out in her kitchen in the middle of nowhere Ohio, by night and any free time she may have, she is a writer of mainly LGBTQ Fiction and Erotica. Although. she's equal opportunity when it comes to telling a story, she'll even write a bit of straight erotic romance when the mood strikes.
She has been writing for years in old notebooks. At the age of eight, she wrote the worst poem in the history of poetry, but it sparked her love for writing. She reads too much and loves to get lost in other worlds and her favorite stories have to include laughter and having the reader doing at least one double take. Thirty-something, forever restless she uses her stories to ground herself, and find her place of peace.
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