Title: Guitars and Cages
Author: Layla Dorine
Genre: gay fiction, urban drama, contemporary, M/M fiction
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
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Asher Logan is a bartender and a pretty wicked guitar player, when he isn’t wrecking his hands fighting in a cage. With a past he keeps hoping to outrun, Asher’s been on a downward spiral for longer than he can remember. When his sister-in-law leaves Rory, his eight-year-old nephew, in his care, Asher is forced into two things he’s never been good at: sobriety and responsibility. As he struggles to care for Rory, his own life begins to unravel.When Asher’s brother, Alex, turns up, presenting as a girl and announcing her new name is Alexia, it further complicates matters, as does the arrival of his new neighbor, Conner. Both, in their own way, compel Asher to look at his own closely-guarded views on sexuality.When the siblings’ older brother, Cole, reacts violently to Alexia, Asher is placed squarely in the middle of a family conflict which compels him to confront who he pretends to be versus who he really is.Asher must choose who to trust and who to finally walk away from.
Review by: multitaskingmomma
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Clearly, this is one of those books that can send me to tears. And it did. By the buckets but! This was so good... How do I review something this well written?
The story is about one flawed man and other flawed men and women. We have the MC Asher who is not a likable individual at all. Well, he does have his moments and he is kinda the MC but seriously, if he were in front of me a good smack would have righted him. I would have to go on a stool and reach up risking breaking a hip, but you know what I mean. Seriously, this guy has some issues!
Then there is the nephew, Rory. Is he abandoned? No, he isn't but he kinda does end up as. Asher is tasked by his brother's widow to please take care of the boy as she seeks greener pastures. I won't reveal the whys, wherefores nor what happened next.
Then there is Alex, Asher's brother only this time, he went the Caitlyn way and became Alexia. I love Alexia. Please, I need her story! She is precious. But their brother, Cole, the a$$ by a million, needs a whopping for what he did to Alexia, and in the process, Asher and Rory. Unforgivable.
Then there is Conner. He is the unexpected lover that comes into Asher's life and he is gutted.
Who is Asher? What is he? Why is he going through all this drama? What does he do now? Who counts as family?
As the questions pour in, the emotions run through and... Seriously. This is a good book!
Note: That cover! That is one artistic work there. I just love it. One of the more original covers I've seen in a long, LOOOOONG time!
Prize: $20 WIP Gift Card and 1 ebook copy of Guitars and Cages
“You know what? Sometimes it is. I’m not saying it’s a good thing, Conner, but sometimes you need money faster than you can earn it honestly. I hadn’t planned to fight anymore, but Kimber ditched Rory with Morgan, like for good, and the bar is struggling. The taxes are due and the only goddamned home Morgan, Alexia and Rory have is over that bar. I knew I could make enough to help Morgan pay the taxes until he got things settled at the bar again. That’s the only reason I took that fight tonight.”
“You know what, I can understand that. What I don’t get is how you go from fighting to ending up cuffed and blindfolded with that guy pawing you like a bad prom date.”
“I’m one of the guys Catfish took a liking to. He’s been after me for months to work for him as his bodyguard. What that really means is I’d be hired muscle and a personal fuck toy. I would have said yes to the bodyguard if the rest didn’t come with it, but Catfish don’t want one without the other, and every time I’m with him, it’s just...”
I let out a shuddering sigh and hung my head.
I felt Conner’s hand on my arm, and he used his other hand to brush my hair back from my eyes. “Do you know that whenever you don’t want to talk about something, you try to use your hair as a wall?”
I glanced at his face, and then down again. “Yeah.”
He slid his hand beneath my chin and raised my eyes so I was looking at him. “I’m not judging you. I want you to explain it to me so maybe I can understand what you’re thinking when you go there.”
“That’s just it,” I said low, but I knew he could hear me. “He doesn’t judge me, he doesn’t think my scars are hideous, he doesn’t think I’m stupid because I don’t read so good and I didn’t finish high school. He doesn’t expect anything more from me than to be who I am, and when I need it most, he’s the only one who ever tells me I’m worth anything, or that he wants me around. I hate that I love it when he touches me, that it feels good even when he hurts me. I didn’t say yes to being his bodyguard because I knew if I did, I’d never leave. If I let him give me everything he’s promised, there would never have been a chance at walking away.”
Conner put one hand on my cheek and caressed it, while the other kept me from looking away. “You’ve always wanted more than to fight and play your guitar, haven’t you?”
I swallowed hard. “Yeah.”
About the Author
LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.