Series Spotlight – The Woodbury Boys by Sidney Bell

Loose Cannon (The Woodbury Boys Book #1)

Released after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he’s leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.

With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it’s getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.

Church’s criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.

 

Read an Excerpt here.

Read Loose Cannon Outtakes, Tidbits, and Assorted Stuff here.

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5 of 5 Stars

This book has been sitting on my kindle for a minute. This is a new to me, highly recommended author but I knew this would be a series I’d want to read without stopping. I also knew these books would not be easy reads, so I had to be in the right frame of mind. I really like Ms. Bell’s writing style and I can tell she’s going to be on my auto-read list indefinitely.

There is a lot going on in this book and it will definitely be a continuation series. The overlapping arc of the books will revolve primarily around Ghost but because of Church and Tobias’ friendship with him they get pulled in to the suspense with the Russian family (I wouldn’t go so far as to say mafia, but it is mafia-like on a small scale). 

Church had a horrible childhood which led to a bad decision and his time in Woodbury. But it also led him to Miller. I dare say that Miller was just as messed up by his uber conservative (read homophobic and prejudice) upbringing. We’re given some flashbacks to when they first met which helps establish not only their friendship but how deeply their feelings run for each other. With Church back in his life, Miller is forced into introspection that he is ill-prepared to face and doesn’t handle well. Both men go through some growing pains which is tough to see at times but growing together makes them even stronger together. They are clearly soulmates and I never once doubted they belong together. Their romance is slow to build but oh so satisfying to watch. 

I was not a fan of Miller’s sister, but his niece was awesome. The Russian family is hard to keep up with, but the characterization was on the mark. Tobias surprised me with his strength when he seems to be the most vulnerable. The author has some work to do with Ghost for me. I know there’s more there and I know it’s going to be tough but I’m not there yet. I’m almost afraid to work my way through to his book.

Needless to say (probably) this is a hell yeah from me but it’s not an easy, fluffy or light read so you need to be ready for it. 


 

Hard Line (The Woodbury Boys Book #2)

Premed student Tobias Benton is making amends for his past. He keeps his head down, mouth shut and colors within the lines. But when his close friend Ghost goes missing, Tobias will do whatever it takes to get answers—including using blackmail to enlist some help. The last thing he’s looking for is romance.

Private investigator Sullivan Tate isn’t above a little breaking and entering to solve a case, but when Tobias catches him in the act, it’s almost game over. Their uneasy alliance only gets more complicated when Sullivan learns that Tobias shares his interest in kink. Mixing sex and work could kill Sullivan’s career, but Tobias’s acceptance of Sullivan’s darkest urges is nearly impossible to resist.

Side by side, Tobias and Sullivan spend their days searching for the truth and their nights fulfilling their respective fantasies. But the answers they seek are far more dangerous than they realize, and soon they find themselves fighting for more than just each other.

 

Read an Excerpt here.

Read Hard Line outtakes, post-epilogue scenes and assorted tidbits here.

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5 of 5 Stars

While I know a couple of people who unknowingly skipped book 1 and weren’t lost in this story, I don’t think this is a standalone. At first glance this appears to be an unrelated case for PI Sullivan and the only tie-in is Tobias hiring him to find Ghost, both of whom are side characters in book 1. BUT, the Krayev ‘mafia’ family ARC, which his apparently going to be spread out over the entire series, continues to be unraveled here. If you haven’t read book 1 yet, stop what you’re doing and read it first. You won’t regret it and it will make this book even better as Ms. Bell shows off her story web-weaving talent. 

When this book was originally recommended to me, I had just finished reading a particularly bad BDSM book and I needed a palate cleanser. For one reason or another, I wasn’t able to read the book then and I forgot that minor detail until I started reading…and oh, what a pleasant surprise because I just finished another not so awesome BDSM book and this one was perfect for me. I’m usually not a big fan of pain play and while it is necessary for Tobias it’s not part of every scene with them and the scenes that do involve pain were so well written that I wasn’t bothered by them.

Sullivan is my favorite character in this series and it’s going to take something major to change that. He is the perfect mix of badass, wit, charm, dominance, vulnerability, intelligence and romance. From his first interaction with Tobias until the utterly perfect epilogue (which I’ll touch on later), he is everything Tobias didn’t know he needed. Well, I guess they need each other. Tobias helped Sullivan be himself and shed his insecurities about being a Dom. 

Tobias is a pleaser and there is nothing wrong with that unless you sacrifice yourself when doing that…which Tobias has done his entire life. When that sacrifice becomes too much, Tobias breaks and decides it’s time for an overhaul. If he didn’t pull at your heartstrings in book 1, he definitely will in this book. His strength of character is astounding, and he surprised me more than once which is hard to do. 

In case it isn’t obvious, I love these guys together. 

The epilogue…I just…I was a little disappointed and then I teared up a little and then I smiled and then I teared up a little again and then it was all perfect. I’m not sure I’ve ever run through that gamut of emotions in an epilogue.

Just like book 1, this book is long. And I’m usually prone to skim parts of longer books that bore me or don’t see important (even my favorites that I read more than once) so hear me when I say I READ EVERY WORD of both books. And I will probably read every word of book 3. 

These are not light, fluffy reads. They are emotionally heavy. The main story ARC is started in book 1, further develops in book 2 and I’m assuming will conclude in book 3…it’s complicated. The romance both in book 1 and in this book are intricate. The characters are so complex I almost want to recommend taking notes. 

Ghost is next. And I KNOW he had a horrible childhood – even without knowing anything about it. The little, tiny bit of foreshadowing we’ve had about his past is going to make it awful. But I do not like him (yet?). And yes, I know most of what we see is an act. I still don’t like him. Ms. Bell is either going to break me with her writing sorcery or I’m going to be really, really sad. 

 


Rough Trade (The Woodbury Boys #3)

Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

 

Read an Excerpt here.

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5 of 5 Stars

So…this review may be long, so I will start with this – Sidney Bell is a brilliant writer. And I don’t say that often or lightly. After finishing this series, I immediate went to Amazon to buy her other book to read which I again don’t do often (I can probably list the 3 or 4 authors I’ve done this with).

I will also mention that this is not a standalone. The series should be read in order. 

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way I can tell you that I didn’t want to read this book. After reading the first two books, I didn’t really like Ghost. And YES, I know his childhood which really, has been until right now since he’s still just 20, has been awful. And YES, I know that the personas he wears and acts he performs are masks and protections, so people won’t get close and can’t hurt him or can hurt him less. But I still don’t like him, and I wanted to be able to finish this series and still be pouting in the corner not liking him. But I KNEW Ms. Bell was going to force the issue; so, I waited to read this book until I had my ‘I can hold a grudge longer than you can write a brilliant character’ bad attitude firmly in place. 

I made it 14% into the book. 

I can think of one other time I felt that type of bone deep, soul-aching pain for a character. And we still didn’t know his history yet. Honestly, even after finishing the book we don’t know all of it and I’m glad for it. 

I can admit when I’m wrong (which I know will shock some people) and this is one of those times – Ghost is a remarkably complex and yes, now likeable, character. He is surprisingly entertaining. His quips in the first two books with Tobias and Church usually irritated me but when he banters with Duncan he’s quite amusing. And speaking of Duncan, there may not be a better equipped person to handle Ghost on the planet. He just always did the right thing and somehow knew what Ghost always needed. I think he missed his calling in SVU. He’s a bit of a mess when Ghost meets him but he’s a damn good guy. Sullivan is still my favorite character of the series, but Duncan is a VERY close second. 

The word soulmate doesn’t work for either of these guys, but they were certainly destined for each other and no one else will work for the other. They balance each other. When one is suffering or struggling, the other is there to support, protect and strengthen the other. 

Ghost’s healing process is arduous. Had it not been, I would have put my kindle down and never read another word this author wrote. She forced me to not only LIKE Ghost but RESPECT him and yeah, I’m still smarting over that one. 

There were a couple of surprises as the arc with the Russian’s is wrapped up. And there are short appearances by Tobias, Church and Sullivan. 

In case it wasn’t obvious, this is an ABSOLUTE must read book and series.

 

 

About the Author

Sidney BellSidney Bell lives in Colorado with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. More realistic grown-ups eventually convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, though, which is how we ended up here. When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

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