Author: Londra Laine
Book: Curl Around My Heart
Page/Word Count: 168 pages and 61,923 words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date: 07/24/2018
Cover Artist: Aria Tan
At Pearl’s Hair and Nails, no one questions Tate Robinson about his high heels, crop tops, and lipstick, because he’s the boss and he can wear what he damn well pleases. The shop is his life, and he doesn’t need anything more. Until a man walks in with his adorable daughter, and Tate has to untangle her helmet-hair…and his growing feelings for the single dad.
Reece Evans has been on his job for years, has his own place, and now has custody of his eight-year-old daughter. But he doesn’t trust himself to avoid screwing up. Adulting is not his strong suit—or so he’s been told. And now a sexy beautician, who also happens to be his new downstairs neighbor, has Reece wanting and reaching for more than he thinks he’s capable of.
As Tate and Reece move past their own fears about relationships, Reece’s ex issues a threat that could destroy everything. Will Reece’s worries about other people judging him undermine his budding romance? And will Tate’s fear of rejection make him push Reece away? Or have the sweet single dad and his precocious daughter curled too tightly around his heart to give them up?
***Please be aware that this book contains references to drug addiction.***
Eventually they eased away from each other, their lips pressing briefly against a cheek, an eyelid, the corner of a mouth, until their foreheads were touching as they shared slightly labored breaths.
“I like you, Tate.” The words spilled from Reece as though Tate had wrung them from him. Tate pulled back, forcing Reece to disentangle their legs. Tate was in profile to Reece now, his head dropped against the back of the couch. His stomach seized and his confidence drained, waiting to hear Tate’s response.
“I like you too, Reece,” the other man mumbled.
Oh, thank fuck.
Reece sighed in relief as Tate shifted to meet his gaze.
“I’m crazy attracted to you. Obviously. But, I’m just nervous because guys like you”
Reece’s hackles rose. “Guys like me?”
Tate closed his eyes briefly then opened them. “Yeah. Guys like you. Stereotypically male. Not so obviously queer. Well, they’ve been attracted to me, dated me. But inevitably break things off, because they think I’m too femme. Too flamboyant.” Tate’s shine flickered, and a well of heat raced up Reece’s chest.
“Well, fuck those dudes,” Reece said, throwing himself back on the couch. “And don’t ever compare me to them. I see you, Tate.” He turned his head and waited until Tate met his gaze. “I like what I see. All of it. All of you. You look good to me in heels, kicks, tight-ass ladies’ jeans, and sweats too. I just like you, man.” He ended his little tirade on a shaky breath and then leaned over to brush his lips against Tate’s.
As he went to pull back, Tate trapped Reece against him, gliding his tongue across the seam of Reece’s lips, coaxing Reece to open then luring him into an urgent kiss. Their lips and noses smashed, teeth bit and clacked as they clutched at each other before Tate pulled back abruptly.
“What am I doing?” Tate whispered, resting his head against Reece’s. “You have a kid. You’re my client. My neighbor.” He pulled back, his face serious, eyes searching Reece’s. “And I like to top. Mostly. Like seventy-thirty.” Tate lifted his chin as though waiting for Reece to object.
Reece just smiled, his dick twitching at the thought of Tate topping him, bending him over the couch and making him wail. He brushed his lips against Tate’s. “Well, lucky for both of us then that I like to bottom, mostly. I’d say about sixty-forty. I figure we can meet somewhere in the middle.”
4✨s – This is my first book from Londra and I fully intend to look out for her work as I really enjoyed this story. We have some great characters, both the good and bad, and it’s a hard hitting story in some way when it comes to your family and how they can make you feel. Tate runs his own business – Pearl’s Hair and Nails – where he can be exactly who he’s meant to be. A family that doesn’t understand and refuses to but he’s surrounded by friends who accept him in his beautiful heels, makeup and feminine clothing., perfect as he is. A late walk-in to his shop spells trouble when the adorable little girl has a hair emergency and her dad’s puppy dog eyes just draw Tate in. Reece now has custody of his daughter but fitting in a full time job, evenings at college and his daughter’s football means hair care isn’t top of his list. However, with school pictures tomorrow and a crow’s nest of hair, he’ll take any help and Tate is just perfect for the job. In looks, style, attitude and of course, ability to fix LJ’s hair. With luck on the readers side, the men become neighbours and more hair disasters follow. LJ tries her hand a matchmaking but Reece has a lot of self doubt when it comes to his worth as a man. Though Tate might just be worth it. The MC’s in this book are so adorable together. The heat is high, the connection is quick and their world’s come together quite quickly. Both Tate and Reece have family that have hindered their worth as people. Reece’s mother always putting him down and Tate rarely seeing his own because of the way his family demean his life and work. The support that they offer each other is very much needed and you can see how great they could possibly be together but Lj’s mother is out for her daughter cause strife between the men. For me, LJ steals the show with her cuteness, trying to get the two men together but also the way she handles things that happen throughout the story. Reece’s support of LJ, that she wants to play football but also loves princess’ is fantastic, showing the way a father should be. I’m not quite sure if some of the things she comes out with are true to an eight year old but I enjoyed in nonetheless. I highly recommend this book. It’s a great contemporary romance and has all the drama needed to make a good story. I received an ARC from the publisher and am happily giving a review
About Londra Laine:
Londra has loved to read since she discovered The Baby-Sitters Club. As a child, her parents would ground her by taking all the books out of her room for several days. Londra began reading romance in 2008 and fell in love with the M/M romance genre after purchasing a book by accident several years later. After decades of daydreaming, and jotting down story ideas, Londra decided to give life to the characters in her head. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life. During the day, Londra is a communications manager for a consulting firm. She is a recovering journalist. Londra loves the New York Yankees, Seinfeld reruns, tacos, and Friday nights on the couch with wine and a new book. In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her husband.
Interview with Londra Laine:
- What was the inspiration behind Curl Around My Heart? There were several things that inspired Curl Around My Heart. First, I read a lot of romance with rich guys, executives, royalty, models and rock stars. I love them all, TBH. For this book I wanted to write about two average joes. Two regular guys with regular family problems and real-world challenges. I wanted these guys to be like my brothers, my cousins and uncles.Little LJ is an amalgam of several of my nieces, nephews, little cousins and even some of my friends’ kids. There are some readers that doubt a kid LJ’s age would be as articulate or as insightful as she is. But these kids have some of most thought-provoking conversations and perceptive observations – they constantly shock me with the way they think and express themselves. I wanted LJ to reflect their honesty and fearlessness.Tate was inspired by my late uncle. He did hair, was an exceptional cook, a talented artist and my best friend growing up. My uncle had a big heart and met no strangers but he struggled with a drug addiction that kept him in and out of prison for much of my life. It was heartbreaking to watch. Ultimately, we lost him to an AIDS-related illness. My uncle was also gay and not a day goes by that I don’t wish he had lived long enough to see how far we’ve come – though we have so much more work to do. I wrote this love story for him with the happy ending I wish he’d had.
It is also significant that these characters just so happen to be black. Black people are often depicted as one dimensional and our stories are often considered separate stories – black romance, multicultural romance, black literature. But black stories are human stories and I hope this book demonstrates that. There has also been a lot of discussion in MM Romancelandia about the lack of diversity and OwnVoices in the genre. I didn’t set out to address all these things in the book but as the characters took form and the story came together this became important to carry through.
- What is your writing process? For me a story usually starts out with a scene that I envision in my Head. From there I get a clear picture of the characters and then I outline. Right now, I have about four story ideas percolating. Once I get the outline done I just start writing.Once I finish the first draft I usually edit it twice and then hand off to my editor. I will say that I firmly believe having a good editor is about 50 percent of the battle. Hell, maybe more.
- What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer? My advice to aspiring writers is to just do it. You have nothing to lose. You won’t regret publishing your story but you WILL regret never trying.
- Do you have any strange writing habits or rituals? Everything must be clean! I can’t write in a dirty house or cluttered space, even if I’m not writing in the kitchen or bathroom, or my bedroom, they have to be clean. I’ve been that way since college. I couldn’t write a single line of an essay if my dorm or apartment was dirty. I also typically drink tea instead of coffee when I write.
- What can readers expect from you next? I’m looking to release my next book in January of 2019. I’m also planning to launch my site then and release some free monthly content. With my stories readers can always expect sexy single dads and wedding bells.
5 Fun Quickies
- Least favorite endearment: “Hey Beautiful” – I have a reflexive negative reaction to this from so many men catcalling me with this line over the years.
- You’re auditioning for a singing competition, what’s your song: You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
- If you were ice cream, what flavor would you be: Talenti Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup
- Sleep with your socks on or off: Off
- Ask for permission or ask for forgiveness: Forgiveness
Londra Lain is giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card
This contest is hosted by the author and/or promotional company, and Jessie G Books does not have access to any data collected as a result.