4.5 Stars, All Romance Ebooks, Genre Romance, J.R. Gray, Reviewed By Carrie

Review: Say Yes by J.R. Gray

Amazon

Amazon

Title: Say Yes

Author: J.R. Gray

Publisher: OmniLit/ARe

Pages/Word Count: 93 Pages

At a Glance: Say Yes is a gritty story of control, and ultimately, of letting go.

Reviewed By: Carrie

Blurb: Charles holds the key to salvation, but James has to say yes.

James failed. He tried to be what they wanted. He tried to deny it. He tried to be a good Catholic boy…but it’s become too much. He craves pain, submission. He’s denied himself far too long, and it’s eating him alive.

Charles thrives off the exchange of power. He knows the world revolves around control. It’s given and taken like currency, in business and in pleasure. He won’t get attached, though, or so he tells himself, until James turns his world upside down. He’s defiant and snarky, but Charles can taste the submission on him.

All James has to do is say one little word.

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Review: James is young, strong, vulnerable, and was brought up in an uptight, wealthy atmosphere. He has a façade permanently in place that projects the man he wants the world to see. When his father dies and his mother cuts him off, his world becomes all about survival and straddling a line between the world he knew and the world he now resides in. He is the epitome of a young man denying himself everything in the name of keeping his head above water.

Charles exudes dominant sexual tension. Running into the enigma that is James piques his interest in a way not many things have. Oh, he wants James, wants him bad—but first he has to get James to say yes.  The sexual tension between these two men is almost ludicrous—the banter, the flirting, the emotions underneath are heady.

The magnetism of the characters J.R. Gray has created is palpable. There is tight, fast paced writing in this short story and because of that, we get a complete story arc and believable, well-rounded characters with plenty of relationship building. There is a BDSM element to the story, but it is not the focus, merely an element in it. James must learn to embrace himself even if no one else does, and Charles has to overcome past hurts and defenses to be what James needs. In the end, it takes courage for both men to say yes and to find their own power in the doing of it.

This was my first book by this author, but after this novella, I bought another book written by him because of the narrative power he developed in this short story. I hope this is the beginning of a new series for J.R. Gray, as I would love to revisit these two men and get another glimpse into their lives.

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You can buy Say Yes here:

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4 Stars, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Evernight Publishing, J.R. Gray, Mystery/Suspense/Action Thriller, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: Damages Incurred by J.R. Gray

Title: Damages Incurred (Bound: Book Four)

Author: J.R. Gray

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 265 Pages

At a Glance: Anyone who’s been following this series from the beginning will find all Damages Incurred’s loose ends really do is leave you ready for book five.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Their world is crumbling on the King’s shoulders.

Elliot is gone.

George has failed, and his demons are threatening to swallow him whole. Jesse’s life is slipping through his fingers. He feels like he’s losing George, whom he has just gotten back. The search for Elliot is taking its toll on the pair of them, and the strain shows the cracks in their trust.

Zac is doing everything he can, but he’s been plagued with flashbacks of a life he can’t remember. Even his iron constitution must break sometime, and the search for Elliot can’t wait. Each minute could be the difference between life and death.

Can they get it together to save themselves or Elliot?

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Review: Fans of J.R. Gray’s Bound series will find plenty of answers and a lot more questions in Damages Incurred, the fourth installment in the series. A word of caution to the curious, though: don’t try to read this book as a standalone. This series is told in episodic form, so not only is there a sizeable cast of characters and their story threads to keep track of, but some of those threads pick up in the middle of their arcs, so if you’re not familiar, you won’t get as much enjoyment out of the reading. As such, I felt this installment took some time to catch a good head of steam in getting to the core plot, but once it did, it was a fast paced and emotionally turbulent ride to a cliffhanger finish.

In its BDSM setting, Damages Incurred opens with its King, George, laying a clear claim to Jesse, his submissive, after it’s revealed that duplicity has played a role in Jesse’s marriage. The focus from this point on is the reestablishing of their relationship as Master and sub, and how George’s deep well of guilt and his seemingly endless secrets weigh against Jesse’s ability to trust that he won’t end up hurt and cast aside. Their storyline provides much of the angst and darker emotional moments in the plot, and left me with more unanswered than answered questions. Thus, the cliffhanger ending, which involves what we can’t help but see as a justifiable homicide.

Where the action and suspense come into play in the novel is in a kidnapping for which George feels responsible, adding a layer of overwhelming guilt to the already heavy cloud hanging over his and Jesse’s relationship. Elliot’s disappearance is where the substance of this story takes shape, as not only does George feel he failed his sub in every possible way, but Elliot’s kidnapping also introduces a concurring storyline with Zac and Jared, the two men who are invested in finding the one man they both want to lay claim to. The tension between Zac and Jared is palpable—not only their mutual animosity and competition but also the frisson of sexual tension that, unless I miss my mark, Gray may be setting up as an exploration of a three-way with Elliot yet to come. The jury’s still out on that one, though, and Elliot surely has a long recovery ahead, but I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing it play out, as I liked the banter and buildup between the two men who want to claim him—although, Zac also has a storyline brewing, involving his own mysterious past that’s sure to cause more than a little drama for himself and anyone involved.

Dark, gritty, angsty, and suspenseful, I think anyone who’s been following this series from the beginning will find all Damages Incurred‘s loose ends really do is leave you ready and waiting for book five.

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4 Stars, Evernight Publishing, J.R. Gray, Literary Fiction, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: Veil of Scars by J.R. Gray

Title: Veil of Scars

Author: J.R. Gray

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 100 Pages

At a Glance: Veil of Scars is a single sitting read, compelling and well told.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Steven is tall, dark, and damaged. He doesn’t let anyone close, comfortable on the outside of normal life where he can hide his scars behind a wall so high that nothing gets through…except them. Despite a childhood marred with black and blue, he’s survived and moved in with his two best friends, Sam and Charlie.

Life should get better, but it was Sam who held him when the dark threatened to swallow him whole, Sam who gave him a place that felt like home, and Sam who knew every scar and every broken place.

And it’s all been taken away with Charlie sharing Sam’s bed.

Without his former comfort, Steven realizes what’s been hiding in the deep corners of his heart, and the truth sinks him like a weight. He’s in love with one or maybe both of his roommates. Navigating unrequited love tears Steven apart and brings him to the precipice, and he has to choose: his feelings or Sam’s…and Charlie’s?

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Review: Eighteen-year-old Harvard freshman, Steven, is a character who reads like a man standing on the outside always looking in on life. And it seems, sometimes, he prefers it that way. Surviving a childhood marred by a physically abusive father has left him with not only trust issues but an inability to allow anyone, save for his roommates and best friends, Sam and Charlie, close to him in any sort of meaningful way.

Veil of Scars, as it turns out, is the perfect title for this short novel, as it’s the psychological scars Steven brought forward into adulthood that served not only to construct and solidify his close bond with Sam but prevented him from understanding what it is about himself that feels wrong and keeps him on the fringes of a deeper connection with anyone, a connection such as the one Sam and Charlie have with each other. Steven is searching for an elusive sense of “normalcy”, and is trying, with a sense of both desperation and defeat, to find a label that fits his lack of physical desire as aptly as “introvert” describes his personality.

The emotional connection J.R. Gray constructs for readers throughout this story is in Steven’s struggle to understand and then accept he’s in love with Sam, even when he knows Sam’s very much in love with Charlie and can never be more than a friend. The greater design in the construct, however, is Steven’s certainty he’s in some way wired wrong because within his id, the emotional concepts of love and physical desire don’t go hand-in-hand. He works to come to terms with his love for Sam, but it’s the sexual part of the equation that leaves him confused and combing the internet in search of a label that fits him, one which also shows him that somewhere he fits in.

Gray layers Steven’s pain and sadness in a pattern of horrific childhood memories, confusion, guilt, and ultimately, the realization his love for Sam may come at an awful price. He could lose Sam or Charlie, more likely both, and no matter his feelings, those are outcomes he isn’t willing to risk. The substance of this story exists in the understanding that sexuality and gender aren’t a black and white binary, that love and sex are sometimes mutually exclusive, and that as abnormal as Steven believes he is, he isn’t. In the end, and perhaps most importantly, there is the realization that love and relationships of all shapes and sizes take patience and work, and there are no clear cut answers to the myriad opaque questions raised within this story nor in life.

Veil of Scars is a single sitting read, compelling and well told, which delves into the complex and complicated realms of sexuality in an honest and touching way.

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Evernight Publishing, Giveaways, J.R. Gray

Guest Post, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Veil of Scars by J.R. Gray

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The Novel Approach welcomes author J.R. Gray today, with a shared excerpt and giveaway of their latest novel, Veil of Scars, just released by Evernight Publishing. Enjoy the tease, then be sure to click on the Rafflecopter widget below to enter for a chance to win an e-copy of the book.

Good luck!

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Hello,

Thank you so much for having me on The Novel Approach to talk about my new release Veil Of Scars.

This one was an emotional roller coaster for me to write. I brought a lot of personal experience to it, and I wrote it as an intermix of current scenes and flashbacks to give the readers an in-depth connection to Steve. This isn’t a typical type of romance novel, and I was reluctant to publish it at first because I was worried there wasn’t a market for alternative love stories. I’m so glad my beta pushed me to finish Steve’s book because everyone deserves to be loved for who they are.

There was so much emotion that went into this scene because Steve feels he’s not good enough for Sam, who he’s just realizing he’s been in love with for years. I was going through a rough patch myself at the time, and I really channeled my emotions into the piece, which has made it not only an emotional book for me, but also a piece that holds a special place in my heart.

He loved them both, but he was too damaged to make either of them happy.

Here is a sneak peek from Veil of Scars:

I paced the living room, making rounds around the worn coffee table. It had been three days since the yard. My books were strewn about the room, but I couldn’t focus on anything. My mind couldn’t—no, wouldn’t—hold any more information. The scene with Sam kept playing over and over in my head. My feelings bottled inside me were like a dam about to burst. He was going to be home in the next five minutes. I either had to gather my things and make a run for the library as I had been doing for days, or suck it up and confront him.

I owed it to Sam to be honest. I pressed a hand into my chest, steadying myself as the handle of the door turned and it swung open. Sam walked in, and his shoulders dropped. He tossed his bag down before he looked up and saw me. The shock was written on his face.

“I told Char this morning I thought you had moved out on us. You’ve been a ghost.”

I took a hard seat on the sofa, which sent stacks of papers flying in every direction. “Been a little stressed.”

He shrugged out of his coat and hung it up on the hook, closing the door behind him. “School or…” He trailed off.

“I need to tell you something.” I balled and un-balled my fists to stop my hands from shaking.

“Okay.” He took a seat next to me and looked over expectantly. Wednesdays he got home an hour before Charlie, and we had taken to using that time to watch his favorite reality shows. It usually ended up with his arms around me or my head in his lap.

But not today. I held my ground. I knew I’d lose my edge if he touched me.

“You’re acting like you’ve killed someone.” His brow creased in the center, and he scooted towards me.

I shrank back and didn’t speak. My throat was dry.

“Spill already,” he growled. “You’re scaring me.” I could see the truth in his words in his gaze.

I blew a breath. “I love you, Sam.”

I waited. He didn’t react.

“Well duh.” He reached up to grab me by the shirt pulling me closer, but I held back.

“No.” I pushed him back so I could look at him. “I’m in love with you.”

His eyes went a little wider, and he didn’t say anything. The air between us was thick, and bile rose in my throat. His mouth opened as if he was going to speak, but he closed it again as he knit his brow.

I could see it written all over him. The pity. I hated that look. It wasn’t often I saw it from Sam, which might have been half the reason I let him in. Everyone kept their distance because of the protective walls I had built around myself. He’d ignored them from day one. Not even when I showed up on his doorstep with two black eyes and a swollen lip did he look at me like he was now, but it was there, written clearly across his face. Pain lanced out across my chest, and I dropped my gaze to the floor.

“How can you know that, Steven?” He rubbed his hand over the back of his neck. “You’ve never even been with anyone.”

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JR Gray CoverBlurb: Steven is tall, dark and damaged. He doesn’t let anyone close, comfortable on the outside of normal life where he can hide his scars behind a wall so high that nothing gets through…except them. Despite a childhood marred with black and blue, he’s survived and moved in with his two best friends, Sam and Charlie.

Life should get better, but it was Sam who held him when the dark threatened to swallow him whole, Sam who gave him a place that felt like home, and Sam who knew every scar and every broken place.

And it’s all been taken away with Charlie sharing Sam’s bed.

Without his former comfort, Steven realizes what’s been hiding in the deep corners of his heart, and the truth sinks him like a weight. He’s in love with one or maybe both of his roommates. Navigating unrequited love tears Steven apart and brings him to the precipice, and he has to choose: his feelings or Sam’s…and Charlie’s?

Categories: Menage, M/F/M, New Adult, Gay Romance

Buy Links: Evernight Publishing | Amazon | All Romance eBooks

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Author Bio: When not staying up all night writing, J.R Gray can be found basking in the warm glow of the Miami sun, or at the gym where it’s half assumed Gray is a permanent resident. A dominant, pilot, and sword fighting enthusiast, Gray finds it hard to be in the passenger seat of any car. Gray frequently interrupts real life, including normal sleep patterns, to jot down nonsense. The bane of Gray’s existence are commas, and even though it’s been fully acknowledged they are necessary, they continue to baffle and bewilder.

If Gray wasn’t writing…well, that’s not possible. The build up of untold stories would haunt Gray into an early grave or possibly a mental institution where the tales would end up on the walls in crayon and finger paint.

Find J.R. Gray online:

My Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Twitter Book only news / Tumblr (NSFW) / Tumblr (book news)

Other books by J.R. Gray

Legally BoundUKAll Romance eBooksBreach of Contract – UKAll Romance eBooksIllicit Activity Evernight

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