Confessions: Julien by Ella Frank ~ Sarah A’s Review

Confessions: Julien, book two in the steamy contemporary MMM Confessions Series from Ella Frank, is now available!

People are complex.
Love a double-edged sword.
And when it comes to a broken heart, there are no rules, only time…

For the past eight years, Julien Thornton has been living with a secret. One that only a handful of people know about.

To the outside world, he has it all.
A thriving career. A loving husband. And a face that the American public fell for by the millions, on a reality show that inadvertently saved his life.

But behind the shine of celebrity, behind the easygoing nature, a crippling truth fills Julien with pain and self-loathing. It’s a truth that he fights to overcome daily with the help of his husband, Joel Priestley, and now their boyfriend, Robbie Bianchi.

But unlike Priest, Robbie doesn’t know what he’s helping Julien to fight. He doesn’t know what Julien did all those years ago. And with the anniversary of his sister’s death fast approaching, the time for explanations is running out.

And thus the question: will the princess be able to forgive the prick as the priest once did?

Only time will tell.

***  AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED  ***
Amazon

The Confessions series, thus far, has been a big surprise to me. I keep assuming I’m going to get one thing and end up receiving something completely different. Julien was far more of an emotional roller coaster than I had expected. I knew it was going to be sadder than Robbie, but I hadn’t anticipated how much Julien’s pain would impact me.

While Robbie primarily focused on Julien and Priest’s pursuit of Robbie and the beginning of their less than conventional relationship, Julien delved more into the dynamics of their partnership and the roles each of them played for one another. I was desperately worried that Robbie was going to end up being less than equal to Julien and Priest, but it was evident that his role was invaluable. Honestly, after reading this book, I’m a little unsure how Julien and Priest had waded through the emotional landmines of their pasts. Robbie was definitely the silver lining to their perpetual storm clouds.

Julien’s guilt had been evident in Robbie, but the depth and breadth of it were far beyond anything I could have fathomed. He wore that shame like a veritable crown of thorns, never letting anyone assuage the remorse he felt over his actions the night his sister had died. The flashbacks to his life with his sister gave us a great insight into how intensely close they were and helped to convey why her death, beyond any guilt he felt, was so devastating for him.

When I started reading Robbie, I never checked on the length of the story – or the order – and had assumed, based on the way that book had ended Priest’s book was next. After reading Julien, however, I’m glad Priest’s book was saved for last. Even with how emotional this story was, the crumbs we got about Priest’s past in this one makes me think Julien’s pain is going to pale in comparison to Priest’s. And I can’t wait to see what he has in store for us.

Confessions: Julien is the second book in Ella Frank’s Confessions series. These books are not standalones and need to be read in order. This series is a spinoff from Ms. Frank’s Temptations, though reading that series is not necessary for the comprehension of this one. Julien is written in third-person limited perspective, alternating between Julien, Robbie, and Priest’s voices.

I have currently filed Ella Frank under ‘must-read-M/M(/M) authors.’ I love M/M books but have found it hard to find authors who tip more to the romance part of the relationship than the erotica side, and Ella Frank does just that. She gives her readers plenty of erotic scenes, while still ensuring the emotional connection between her characters is at the forefront. Those scenes are used to solidify their relationships, rather than be gratuitous smut. I am highly impressed with Ms. Frank’s writing and how she gives each character’s voice enough distinction to tell one narrator from the next.

Chapter One

CONFESSION

Those who are meant to be yours
will always find you.
“WE MEET again, Mr. Thornton.”

A shiver of awareness raced up Julien Thornton’s spine as he stood in the jail cell of a downtown L.A. police station where he’d been thrown around an hour ago for public intoxication.

He didn’t need to turn to know who was on the opposite side of those steel bars. That voice was the one he’d been hoping to hear when he’d made his “one call” and left a message after a generic voicemail. That voice? It had been on his mind since the last time he’d heard it, nearly two weeks earlier when he’d met—and attempted to steal the car of—a man who called himself Priest.

Julien pivoted on his heels, and when he did, he realized that he’d grossly underestimated the impact that Joel Priestley had had on him the first time around.

Oui, he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about him, that was true, and oui, he might’ve purposely provoked the police officer tonight hoping he’d end up needing a lawyer. But Dieu, he’d forgotten the way Priest made his body respond. Like an inferno was licking through his veins.

With auburn hair, stormy eyes, and a presence that Julien gravitated toward like a magnetic force, he didn’t think anything could prepare a person for the powerful energy Priest exuded. Not to mention that cool, judgmental stare of his.

But Julien had no one to blame for that judgment but himself. Maybe if they didn’t always meet at the end of one of his week-long benders, he could have the upper hand with this man for once. And wouldn’t that be délicieux, he thought, as he looked at the lawyer who’d dropped him home two weeks before, instead of at the police station like he’d originally threatened.

Priest was as put together now, at three in the morning, as he had been that afternoon in the alley. Suited up in a tailored navy number that framed his broad shoulders and emphasized the rich color of his hair, he looked sharp, controlled, and dangerous to Julien’s already unstable state of mind as he stood there sizing him up with an unreadable expression.

“I’m curious,” Priest finally said, as he clasped his hands behind his back and took a step closer to the cell where Julien had spent most of the night sobering up. “Did you not understand me the last time we spoke?”

Julien clenched his jaw and wondered if Priest realized how condescending he sounded when he spoke—or just how much it turned Julien on. “Non. I understood just fine.”

“Then what part of ‘I won’t be so lenient next time’ made you think that calling me to bail you out of here was a good idea?”

Julien was still trying to work that out himself, but thought it might have something to do with the fact that he was drawn to this man. There was something about Priest that made him feel alive, when all he’d felt for months now was dead inside.

When Julien didn’t respond, Priest cocked his head, studying him closely, the disapproval rolling off him in waves. “Are you that hard up for a date that this was the only way you could think to get one?”

Putain, the man was arrogant. But for reasons Julien couldn’t explain, that seemed to make him all the more appealing. “You’re the one who gave me your card the last time we met. Perhaps it’s you who are hard up for a date, monsieur. Giving your number out to—”

“Criminals?” Priest frowned. “No. That’s called smart business acumen, considering I’m a criminal attorney.”

Julien scoffed. “I’m hardly a criminal.”

“Really?” Priest said, and took his time examining the six-by-eight space Julien currently stood in. He then leaned forward and said in a lowered voice, “Your current situation tells a different kind of story.”

Despite his “current situation,” and the reason he’d gotten himself into it, Julien felt his lips curve, and he realized exactly why he was drawn to Priest. He possessed the one thing that Julien had been looking for—the ability to take his mind off the black hole his life had become. “Maybe it’s le destin.”

“And what does that mean? Destiny?” Priest straightened and brought his arm around to check the time. “I doubt destiny has anything to do with it. A more likely scenario is that I was your only option.”

“Even if that’s true,” Julien said as he wrapped his fingers around the bars, “you came anyway.”

“As I said before, it’s my job.”

“At three in the morning?”

“At any hour of the morning,” Priest said, and then looked down the hallway that was devoid of anything other than dreary off-white tiles and horribly bright fluorescent lighting. “I’m going to go and see if I can get you out, and then you and I are going to have a talk.”

Something about the way Priest said you and I made Julien’s pulse race, and as Priest went to walk away, Julien whispered, “J’ai vraiment hâte,” and the ever-so-serious lawyer stopped in his tracks and looked back.

This time when those eyes roamed over Julien, his breath caught. There was nothing cool about that stare now. There was heat, interest, and an intensity that made Julien’s fingers tighten around the bars before Priest cut the connection and walked away.

Julien watched him go until he disappeared around the end of the hall, and then he released his breath on a rush. Merde. He’d never been so attracted to someone in all his life, and as he stood there waiting for Priest to save him yet again, Julien knew he needed to stop what he was thinking.

There was no way in hell he deserved someone like that. Non, no way at all. That didn’t, however, stop him from counting down the minutes until Priest returned to him…

Relationships are complex.
Love ever-changing.
And when it comes to rules of the heart,
they were made to be broken…

That’s what Robert Antonio Bianchi was telling himself, anyway.
Otherwise, he really had no excuse for what—or who—he’d done.

No excuse, except for his lonely heart, a pitcher of margaritas, four Bitter Bitches, and the apparent need to confess all his weaknesses to the two men he knew would bring him nothing but trouble.

But trouble was nothing new.
Just ask his crazy sisters or any of his friends, and they’d be the first to tell you:
If there was a bad decision to be made, Robbie always had a knack for making it.

And thus begins the story of the priest, the princess, and the prick.

***  AVAILABLE IN KINDLE UNLIMITED  ***
Amazon US | Amazon UNIVERSAL

Ella Frank is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite contemporary romance, Sex Addict. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!”

Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Phillips.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Newsletter | Instagram

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.