Author A.E. Via
Title: The Secrets in My Scowl
M/M GAY CONTEMPORARY / STANDALONE
Edited by: Tina Adamski
Cover Artist – Jay Aheer
PAGE COUNT – 312
Release Date: October 28, 2016
Sparks ignite and tempers flare when a sexy, optimistic wedding planner moves his business in across the hall from a jilted, divorce lawyer’s practice.
“Look smart ass. This is the last time I’m going to remind you about breaking sections of the lease. If there’s a next time, I won’t stop until you and your frilly, white wedding shit is thrown out of here. Do you got it?!”
Wylde looked in Jacob’s pained eyes and answered in his deep voice. “Yeah, counselor. I got it.”
From high school, up until he became a successful attorney Jacob Snowden was convinced that love had it out for him. “Everyone left,” were the words he lived by. His mother, his high school sweetheart, his father, and his fiancé, all left Jacob just when he felt it was safe to let down his guard. Not any longer. Jacob was a determined man, set at keeping people at a distance. If his six foot one, military-made body didn’t scare people off, his permanent scowl surely did. At almost forty, Jacob’s social life was non-existent, but he told himself his work fulfilled him. He helped people get out of their loveless marriages. Jacob Snowden was one of the best divorce lawyers on the east coast and was damn proud of it. So, imagine his disdain when a wedding planner moves into the suite directly adjacent to his… an insanely masculine, male wedding planner.
Wylde Sterling had made quite a name for himself in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, working for a wedding planner that catered to the elite. He was known for his charm and impeccable taste. Yep, he was incredible at giving couples the wedding of their dreams. But he wanted nothing more than to plan his own. After striking out in love more times than he cared to admit, Wylde decided to start his own business in a new city, hoping Richmond would give him a fresh start. Things started out wonderfully – until he started to piss off the angry divorce attorney next door.
Wylde could see past Jacob’s mean scowl, knowing there was a reason for it. It was the man’s defense mechanism, his means of keeping people away. Everything in Wylde told him to stay away, but he believed Jacob just needed to meet a man who had been hurt as badly as he had.
This story ends in an HEA and does not end on a cliffhanger.
When he got back to his office, it only made him angrier that there was nowhere to park on the street in front of his building, because there were two trucks backed up to the newly-rented office’s window. The two men out front were carefully placing the last few touches on the logo decal. Jacob read the words on the window in elegant, scrawling script. Wylde Wedding Planning. Jacob closed his eyes and shook his head. Fucking great. “Some bubbly assed, overly-optimistic, love is grand and the world is such a great place wedding planner,” Jacob grumbled, turning into the parking lot. As long as she stays over there with all that happiness, I’m good.
No sooner than he walked inside the building, Jacob found he could barely get to his office door because of all the discarded boxes littering the hall. What the fuck! Jacob turned around, looking through the wedding planner’s glass door. He saw a woman inside with the brightest hair he’d ever seen directing some men who were rolling out a nice-sized area rug. From the looks of her, Jacob had a feeling she’d be a handful. He needed to set her straight, right away. He opened the door and looked around at all the white and silver, then glanced up at the large chandelier that was in the process of being hung over a long table covered with starch white linen. The massive flower displays made him shake his head. Who’d want such an excess display of frilly ridiculousness at their wedding? Well, weddings were usually for the women, the men only had to show up on time and keep their mouths shut.
“Hello,” the redhead called out, approaching Jacob with a huge smile. “Hi. Are you here about wedding planning?”
“Hell no.” Jacob looked down at her, his scowl firmly in place.
“Keep your boxes out of the hallway.” Jacob went in on her. “You’re going to cause an injury. It clearly states in the lease that no trash or debris can litter the common areas. Are you looking for a lawsuit your first day here?”
Her curls bounced around on her head as she looked worriedly back and forth between him and the door. “Um, no. I didn’t realize so much had accumulated out there. We’re having so many deliveries I can barely keep up and the trash pickup I requested hasn’t come yet,” she said with a nervous smile.
“Then keep your trash inside until they do come. I’m sure your biggest concern in life is keeping all your white furniture clean, so you throw your trash in the hall. It’s rude, ma’am. It’s disrespectful to this nice building and it’s especially disrespectful to your neighbors.”
“I’m sorry. I surely didn’t mean any disrespect. I’ll tell my—”
“Just keep your trash inside or in the proper receptacles.” Jacob turned, ignoring the workmen unwrapping the furniture who’d stopped to stare.
He heard her apologize again, and then call out, “Sir, sir? I didn’t catch your name.”
“I didn’t give it,” Jacob quipped right back without turning around and walked out the door, stepping over torn boxes and entering his own office.
His employees looked like they were talking about something funny because both of them had bright smiles on their faces, which disappeared quickly when he marched through the door.
“Afternoon, Mr. Snowden,” they recited in unison.
Jacob stood in front of his secretary’s desk and mumbled an emotionless, “Afternoon. Do I have any messages?”
“Yes, sir,” she said, quickly handing him two pink slips. He walked further inside and stopped at his paralegal.
“Is everything set for my meeting tomorrow?”
“Yes, sir. Also, Mrs. Zabinsky’s lawyer signed the decree and as soon as I receive it, I’ll forward to Judge Williams.”
Jacob nodded and walked inside his office, closing the door behind him.
Jacob has been hurt over and over again so he has completely shut himself off from emotions and become a completely selfish b@stard. You can’t fault him too much for it but you can definitely see something needs to change or he’s going to die a lonely old man with no one to love or to love him. Deep down, he’s a really great man with the capacity to love with his entire being. He just needed to find the right man to bring that out.
Wylde is aptly named. He is fun, entertaining and full throttle. He has the patience and strength to help bring Jacob back to the living. He saw past Jacob’s façade to the real man he buried long ago and wouldn’t let him hide any longer.
I loved them together. I loved the man that Jacob became when he finally let Wylde in. They are a perfect balance for each other – one fun-loving and full of life and one more serious and deeply emotional.
Patrick was a really great character. I loved that he saw Jacob and forced him to accept his friendship when he didn’t even know he needed it.
As several other reviewers mentioned there are several grammatical, spelling and editing errors which hopefully were fixed before the book went live.
The ending felt very abrupt…I would have liked for that scene to continue through to the end. That notwithstanding, this is a great read that I highly recommend.
A.E. Via is an author in the beautiful gay romance genre and also founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books. Her writing embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.
When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children. Adrienne Via has tons of more stories to tell, but she really would like to hear yours. Via Star Wings Books is currently accepting submissions for established and aspiring LGBTQ authors.
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