Strong Enough, an all-new sexy standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow and David Romanov is available now !
by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Publication Date: June 19, 2017
I wasn’t looking for Derek Wolfe.
I wasn’t looking for anybody. All I wanted was to start a new life in America. But when I found myself stranded here with no place to go, he came to my rescue, offering me a place to stay.
He’s smart, successful, and sexy as hell—I can barely sleep knowing he’s right down the hall. And when the chemistry between us explodes one night with fierce, fiery passion, it’s hard to deny there’s something real between us.
But he does.
He says he was drunk. He says it was a one-time thing. He says he’s not into guys and what we did meant nothing.
He’s lying. Because it happened again, and again, and again. And it’s better every time.
I know we could be good together, and I want the chance to try, but I’m done hiding. If he’s not strong enough to admit the truth, I’ll have to be strong enough to walk away.
Figuring I’d had enough booze to blunt his effect on me, I rolled up the sleeves of my black button-down shirt and moved next to him. “I’ll help you.”
I caught him trying to not to look at my wrists and forearms, and it made me smile. How does it feel to want someone and have to hide it? “You wash, I’ll dry?”
We worked in silence, shoulder to shoulder, and I found myself increasingly—and disturbingly—pleased at the thought of him being attracted to me and being forced to conceal it. It was fucking horrible of me to take pleasure in his discomfort, but I liked being secretly wanted. Being illicitly desired. Being the object of his covert glances and maybe even his darkest, dirtiest thoughts. I let our arms touch more than necessary, as thrilled by the physical contact as I was by the thought of what it might be doing to him.
For there is no man who does not sin.
My dick started to get hard, clearly unbothered by the whiskey that was breaking down my inhibitions, pushing past all my defenses, and letting my imagination run wild.
What’s in that gorgeous head of yours, Maxim? What’s behind those cobalt eyes? What would you do to me, if I let you? What would you let me do to you?
“Carolyn is so nice,” he said, handing me the last serving dish left to be dried.
What? He was thinking about Carolyn right now? He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about Carolyn—I was, goddammit!
But I wasn’t. “Yeah.”
He turned off the water. Rested his wet hands on the edge of the sink. “I didn’t realize you had a girlfriend.”
And I heard it in his voice—the slightest edge of jealousy, so faint I might never have noticed it had I not been so hyperaware of everything about him right now. I fucking loved it.
“She’s not my girlfriend.”
“Oh.” Now there was confusion. “I guess I misunderstood.”
“She wants to be my girlfriend.”
Of course there was silence. Maxim would never ask what the problem was. But I wanted to tell him. I wanted him to know. I wanted to share the impossible longing I felt with one person who might understand it.
“The problem is me.”
He was completely still. Before I could stop myself, I covered his right hand with my left. “Sometimes I don’t know what I want.”
He yanked his hand from beneath mine and we faced each other.
For the first time tonight, I looked him right in the eye. Nothing around us existed for me anymore. I heard only his breath. Smelled only his skin. Saw only his guarded expression.
I had to have him.
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/YwYlrO
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Whitney’s Four Star Review:
4 stars for a sexy m/m novel from writing duo Melanie Harlow and David Romanov!
Melanie is one of my go to authors and when I heard she was doing a m/m book with David, I knew I’d be reading. I’m not always a fan of the whole writing duo thing and often end up disappointed. Especially when one of the authors is a newbie.
And while this book isn’t my favorite of Melanie’s, I was not disappointed at all. Even pleasantly surprised by a lot of it.
What worked? Maxim and Derek were oh so sexy together. Scorching hot. The tension was great and when they finally get together, I’d recommend making sure you’re not reading in public. Or around your kids. Ha. I also enjoyed Maxim’s character a lot. He projected a fresh innocence and inherent kindness that I adored. But he also stood up for himself and had a stubborn streak which gave him some depth. Derek’s sister, Ellen, stole many of the scenes she was in and I loved her. And the writing was actually quite good. Better than I would have expected with parts being from a new author whose first language is not English (sorry, David!).
What didn’t work? I thought the storyline itself was a little boring sometimes. Like maybe not quite enough actually happened. And I don’t know whether I really liked Derek or not. He has some great moments but he’s also kind of a jerk. And his emotional journey is kind of the point of the book so I’d like to have seen a little more from an epilogue. Maybe them a few more years down the line with a family. I can understand why this wasn’t included as it would almost be another story in itself. But I felt a little shortchanged by not seeing their relationship develop even more. As much as Derek wants to be a father, his personality is so not conducive (other than his kindness) so that would be a funny short story in the future maybe?? I feel bad for picking on him now because he really is very kind and his willingness to help Maxim really melted my heart.
So overall, I was pleased with the story and I seriously love that Maxim’s character is based quite a bit on David himself. If you’re a fan of m/m, this is a great read. If you’re a Melanie fan, this one isn’t as light or funny but you’ll still walk away happy.
Melanie Harlow writes sexy, emotional romance about strong, stubborn characters who can’t help falling in love. She’s addicted to bacon, gin martinis, and summer reading on the screened-in porch. If she’s not buried in a book or binging on Netflix, you might find her running, putting a bun in someone’s hair, or driving to and from the dance studio. She lives outside Detroit with her husband and two daughters.
Melanie is the USA Today bestselling author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, MAN CANDY, AFTER WE FALL, IF YOU WERE MINE, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.
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For David Romanov, STRONG ENOUGH is to a great extent autobiographical. Born in Russia and raised in Europe, he landed in the United States at the age of 24, where he learned a lot about cultural differences between East and West. David firmly believes in ‘The One’ and learning through love. When he isn’t traveling or educating Melanie in Russian culture, he enjoys books and the company of his husband and dog in Los Angeles.
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