Secrets give others more power. Now is the time to fight back.
What can they do when their safety and self-worth are compromised?
Casey’s usually bubbly, cheeky demeanour is diminished by sexual harassment from a colleague. When Casey becomes scared for his safety, he seeks out a trainer to teach him how to escape. Withholding the secret is stifling, but he sees no other option if he wants to keep his job. Spilling those secrets to an almost stranger changes his life in a way he never thought possible.
Luke spends his time training people in evasive tactics. He loves his job, but feels inferior to his more successful siblings. How can he compete with lawyers, police officers and teachers? When Casey comes to him for training, Luke knows he’s hiding a secret and wants to get to the source. Finally, Casey confides in him, and Luke sets his sights on helping.
Can they win the fight against people who bring them down?
Publisher: Elouise East
Cover Artist: Maria Vickers
Release Date: March 11, 2021
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: Friends to lovers, Hurt/comfort
Themes: Sexual harassment in the workplace
Heat Rating: 4 flames
Length: 75 000 words
It is a standalone story, although characters from other books in the series do appear throughout
Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited
“What?” His heart rate increased while their eyes connected.
“You overwhelm me with how brave you are,” Luke whispered.
Casey got lost in the expressive, deep blue pools. No one had ever said that to him before. They’d say he was strong because of his job, or he was clever, but no one had ever called him brave. His gaze flicked to Luke’s mouth, seeing a sheen on them as if Luke had swiped his tongue across them. Casey did the same, swallowing hard. He could feel himself sway closer until Luke’s breath was coasting across his skin. When Luke’s hand rose and cupped his cheek, Casey closed his eyes.
Before their lips touched, Casey jerked back. “Marcus,” he said, breathing heavily. “I can’t do this to Marcus. No matter how much of an ass he is.” His skin felt flushed, and his nerve endings were tingling with what could have been. At that moment, he wished he was single.
“I’m so sorry, Casey. I shouldn’t have… I didn’t… I’m sorry. You told me your story, and I tried to kiss you. I’m so sorry.” Luke stood and headed towards the door.
“Luke!” He waited until Luke turned back. “Don’t go. I’m not ready to kiss you, especially as I’m with Marcus, but don’t go.” He sighed. “Tell me about you.”
Luke hesitated. “Let’s make a deal.”
Casey’s mouth twitched. “You and your deals.”
Luke winked. “It gets things done. Anyway, people are going to be worried about you after what happened.” He held up a hand to forestall Casey’s questions. “Not everyone saw, but a couple did. How about we go back out, grab some drinks, pretend you’re okay, and we will sit and talk. And you can ask about me.”
Casey’s gaze roamed the guy who was stood by the door, one hand resting on the handle. His clothing was loose but accentuated his sizeable muscles; Casey didn’t feel scared with him. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“Deal.” He gave a slow smile.
Picking up his empty bottle, he diverted to the bin before moving to the door. The closer he got to Luke, the more his skin prickled with awareness. It had never happened in their previous interactions—at least, Casey didn’t remember feeling it—and he wasn’t sure how to react. If he hadn’t been with Marcus, he might’ve started flirting, but that wasn’t his style. The only reason he had met Marcus in the first place was that Liam had introduced them when Casey had gone to pick him up from the gym one day. Casey had been instantly smitten with Marcus’s looks, which were complemented by his personality on their first date—the double date with Alex and Heath.
Casey had second-guessed their relationship when he’d found out that Craig’s ex was a trainer at the gym Marcus worked at and had spoken with Craig about it before feeling happy to try. He hadn’t wanted Craig to feel scared or upset if Marcus was around. Why Casey had never acknowledged before the possibility that Marcus might take Darren’s side of things, he didn’t know.
“Penny for them.”
Blinking, Casey saw they were still standing at the door to the office, and he felt his cheeks flush. “Sorry. I got lost in my head.”
Luke grinned. “Don’t worry. I do it all the time. My mother wanted to murder me as a child because I never heard her shout until she was right next to me. I was too distracted by what I was doing or thinking about.”
The image of Luke with a woman standing over him, yelling at him, made Casey laugh. It was far too similar to what he’d experienced with his mother, which was why it was so easy to picture.
“Come on. Let’s go get those drinks. I think we need them,” Luke said.
for a chance to win
a $10 Amazon gift card
First Kiss, Instant Desire, Primary Seduction, Deep Down, A Crush for Christmas, Life Support, Covert Strength
I am a bestselling author of contemporary MM romance. I write a variety of themes: sweet and fluffy to high angst to taboo, but friendships are integral to each character's experience. I write books that are emotionally realistic, even if liberties are taken with other aspects of my stories. Reading and writing have always been a part of my life, although my debut book wasn't published until July 2019. My experience has come from reading thousands of books over the years and being a perfectionist when it comes to trying to make things right. I live in the centre of the UK with my two children, who make life worth living, keep me (in)sane and make me laugh every single day.