Guest blogger and giveaway: Alicia Nordwell – Earning His Trust

Five Things You Don’t Know About Me ~ Adult Version

  1. I’ve worked in the medical field, which made it easy to decide on making one of my characters in Earning His Trust a doctor, and I do a lot of consulting for the authors who know I’ve a lot of experience with that. Need to figure out why a vampire might have a realistic medical reason for having red eyes and a need for blood? I’ve done that!
  2. Tying into #1, it’s a huge pet peeve when authors hurt their characters for a hurt/comfort theme, or to create a caregiver situation, but then don’t face the reality of what recovering from an injury involves. I burn myself a lot, so when I used that for to give Ben and Evin a reason to come face to face, I knew just how it would feel and how long it’d take to heal—and how hard it would be to take care of a baby while that happens!
  3. I’m a huge klutz—see part in #2 where I mention burning myself a lot, lol.
  4. I hate the sun and snow, so living in the Portland Metro area is perfect for me. We get rain 9 months of the year, and that’s perfect in my book. Ben & Evin didn’t seem to mind it all that much either. I also share what happens when we get more than rain here—definitely not pretty!
  5. Like Evin, I got to stay home with both my kids for the most part, and I can’t think of a more rewarding privilege. That’s led to my new career of being a special education paraeducator, but when they were younger, it also spurred me to find Gayauthors.org when I needed an outlet to express myself and that led me on the path to becoming a published author. Life has a funny way of working out!

Evin lost the only two men he ever loved. But he might get a second chance with one of them—if he’s willing to take the risk.

Following the death of his husband, Evin is living in Portland and raising the infant son they had through a surrogate. Six-month-old Micah is his life, and if it means no time for activities or friendships beyond his minuscule support network, that’s a sacrifice Evin is willing to make. When he suffers a burn baking teething biscuits, the last person Evin expects to encounter in the ER is Ben, his lover from college—and the man who left him without a word of explanation.

Ben knows it won’t be easy to earn Evin’s trust and prove he’s not the same man Evin once knew, but he can’t bear to watch Evin struggle to care for Micah, hurting and alone. He wants back in Evin’s life, as a friend and hopefully more, but Evin’s heart is fragile, and the years have changed him too.

The curtain slid on the overhead rails, and Evin held in his urge to snap about how long it took to get to him when the nurse said the ER was slow, but he froze with his mouth open.

“Hello, I’m Dr. Perez. I see you burn—” The doctor snapped his jaw shut and stopped before he reached the head of the bed. Micah was oblivious, sitting between his legs and playing with his fake keys, chewing away on the rubber tips and drooling. He clutched the soggy remains of a biscuit in his other hand.

Evin had to swallow hard himself. Of all the hospitals, in all the cities, his old boyfriend had to be in this one.

He looked… good. Older, some wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. It had been… how long since he’d seen him? Not since Ben was graduating medical school the same year Evin was graduating with a business degree. Evin certainly never expected to see him here, and by the shocked look on Ben’s face, he hadn’t known Evin lived in Portland either. Evin waited for Ben to say something else, but he just kept staring. Evin took a deep breath. He could be an adult. He was a dad now.

“Burned my hand,” he finished the sentence Ben never did. “I did it about an hour ago, and it really hurts.” Maybe he could move this along. Plus, Micah was on his third biscuit and getting fussy again. He probably needed to be changed, have some lunch, and then would fall asleep for the afternoon, just so he could keep Evin up all night again.

Ben dropped his gaze to Micah and then looked up to stare at Evin again. “What happened to you?”

Did he mean how Evin probably looked like he’d aged at least ten years since Ben bailed right before graduation, the last night they’d spoken? Well, spoken wasn’t a very good description for the fight they’d had after weeks of Ben ducking Evin’s questions about what he was planning. Maybe their relationship had run its course; maybe it was better for them not to be together.

But he’d never expected Ben to just up and leave. It’d been hard, but Evin had a job offer in Portland and he’d taken it. Fortunately, his best friend, Gianna, came with him, and they got an apartment together in a not-so-great area of Happy Valley. It’d been nice to have a friend he knew would stick by him, but then she met Carl, and they fell in love. Not long after that he met someone, but that had gone wrong too.

Gone was the bright, glittery guy who lit up the room in a flash, and this version of himself was all Evin knew how to be anymore. It was probably a disappointment. His hair was cut short instead of hanging down to his shoulders, and he was in a blue T-shirt and a pair of gray sweats instead of skintight everything. Nothing at all like how Ben would remember him.

Was he wondering how in the hell Evin had a kid, since he’d never even kissed a girl—at least before when Ben knew him? Probably.

Or had he brushed off their history, leaving Evin as the only one thinking about how the years had changed them—Ben definitely for the better. Most likely, he meant how Evin got the burn. He was a professional after all, and Evin was probably just another patient to him.

In the end, it didn’t really matter. His appearance, how he got hurt, it all came down to just one thing.

“Teething.”

Evin has been raising his son Micah on his own since his husband Daniel died before their son was born.  It’s been challenging due to his very small support group, he does not have much of a life aside from his son, until a cooking accident sends him to the ER and he is treated by Dr. Ben Perez, his college love who broke his heart all those years ago.  Ben has never forgotten Evin, or the hurt they both felt and after seeing him, wants to reconnect, even if just as friends.

`The story is told from both Evin and Ben’s point of view.

I really enjoyed this story, both characters are very likable, Ben is not some arrogant jerk who dumped Evin in college, and Evin is not so bitter that he won’t give friendship with Ben a chance.  There is definitely some subtlety to this story, the reasons for the college break up does not become a major plot point, it is actually dealt with in a very mature fashion since it was not a huge drama.  The point of the story is the here and now, and moving forward.  It is very well written, with a good pace.  I really liked that Ben wanted to first be a friend to Evin and increase his support system because we all know parenting is a big job and can be tough, so to be doing it alone is even bigger!  And I liked how the author made it very obvious that wherever Evin was going to move in his life, he and Micah are a package and his son is his priority.

What I thought was perhaps too understated, was the change Evin has taken in who he is since Ben last saw him.  At one point, Ben observes looking at photos of Evin and his husband and thinking Evin did not have as much spark as he did back in college – while I suspect there is more of a story there, it almost reads like Evin was not truly happy with his husband.  And perhaps that was meant as a point of what Ben wanted to see, but I would have liked there to have been a discussion between them about Daniel so you got a sense of what his life was with his husband, even if his future may include Ben.  Being married and planning a family is not exactly the same as having anonymous hookups since college!

Overall, I really enjoyed this story, even if I would have liked the additional detail, and I believe most readers who like stories of second chances at first love, with the addition of kids, will enjoy this story.  There is one sex scene, but it is near the end as this is more of a character driven contemporary, and there is some suggestion of PTSD, and one homophobic incident related to it, although I don’t believe it should be a trigger for anyone as the author has taken the approach to make the story of the characters the primary focus and for that and how they take their journey, I would recommend this story.  Review by Diane

Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/earning-his-trust-by-alicia-nordwell-8830-b

Universal Amazon Link: http://mybook.to/earninghistrust

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/earning-his-trust-alicia-nordwell/1126959085?ean=2940158790324

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/earning-his-trust

The number one question folks ask Alicia when she shares she’s a MM romance author: “Why gay fiction? Why write men when you’re a woman?” and her answer is: “Why the hell not!” Alicia Nordwell is one of those not so rare creatures, a reader turned writer. Striving to find an interesting story one day, she decided to write what she wanted instead. Then the voices started… Yep, not only does she talk about herself in the third person for bios, she has voices in her head constantly clamoring to get out. Fortunately, with the encouragement of her family and friends, she decided for her own sanity to keep writing.

Now you can find her stories both free and e-published. When she’s not on the computer typing away, she’s a wife and a mom of two in the dreary, yet ideal for her redhead complexion, Pacific Northwest. Except for when she disappears into one of the many worlds in her head, of course! She can also be found quite often at her blog, where she has a lot of free fiction for readers to enjoy or working hard, or maybe hardly working, as an admin on GayAuthors.org under her online nickname, Cia. 

Cia’s Stories: http://www.ciasstories.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alicia.nordwell

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AliciaNordwell

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4479520.Alicia_Nordwell

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you for having me and for the thoughtful review!!

  2. thanks for the chance and love the cover

  3. Thank you for sharing. Congrats on your new book =)

  4. Oh! I certainly agree with you on #2. I know quite a few who does that. Torture for the sake of hurt/comfort theme. Which sucks big time. *sighs* Anyway, congrats on the release of Evin & Ben’s story! 💗

    • Yes! Especially when it’s used to create the theme and then, when it’s inconvenient because the author wants to add sexual themes, they’re just miraculously able to move/not be in pain. Suuuuure! *end rant* LOL Thanks for commenting, James!

  5. Not only it’s a second chance romance, the (mature) MC got a baby too! Looking forward to read this book 🙂

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