Monday, October 13, 2014

Blog Tour, eARC Review, Excerpt & #Giveaway: Decorated With Love (Designers Series, Book 1) by Parker James

Parker James is a unique, multi-variant personality who loves everything that has to do with love. Parker lives in Florida surrounded by wonderful friends, a home she remodeled herself—well, okay, paid someone to do what she wanted—and a rescued feral cat. While a published author in other areas, this is one of Parker's first forays into M/M romantic erotica, but there are many, many more to come!  Email:

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Chase Moore was devastated when he learned his hot boyfriend proposed to a woman. With his love life in tatters, Chase pours himself into his interior design career. But when a fabric order for an important client goes awry, it threatens to put him over the edge. Drowning his sorrows in a cup of hot, black coffee before consulting on his next big job seems like the answer—until he see Frank.
Frank Hilliard didn’t believe in fate or karma or any of those silly things when he stopped into the java shop, until a powerful attraction draws him to meet a gorgeous man’s gaze. He approaches the stranger’s table with every intention of following a gut instinct to get to know him better—much better.
When Chase discovers the man who sets his body—and soul—on fire is the husband of his newest client, he vows not to be the 'other man' again, but his heart and his body just aren't listening. Frank awakens feelings he never wanted to have--raw and primal--and just when Chase is certain it has to end, the real truth of Frank's situation reveals a stunning secret that promises more than Chase ever bargained for.

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

This is the story of two men who clash eyes and instantly knew they had a connection. However, both men are not free in every sense of the word. Chase is not free from his traumatic past and Frank is married. Not the best circumstance to have when instant lust and love are the key elements to this story.

Chase had fooled himself to believe his relationship with his boyfriend was going to be paradise but having to be told he was losing out to a woman for the sake of propriety or other such crappy logic, he just could not take it. Decisive for once, he breaks off the relationship and vows never to be the other man. 

Frank is powerful, as a husband, as a partner in a law firm that bears his name, and as a man per se. He was powerless, though, when he chances upon a beautiful man in a cafe and could not believe he fell head over heels in just a matter of seconds. For the first time, he regrets his decision to stay married to his good friend. How to explain all this to Chase is a totally different situation, as when seeing the wedding ring on his finger, the man up and left.

Matters come to cross between the two men when the appointment Chase had revealed none other than Frank as his client's husband. So the play with words and hands come in. The heat gets on. The anger simmers in the background. How both men deal with their situation, now that is for the rest of you to read.

This is an erotic story and is told from both men's perspective. It reads sizzling hot and a bit frustrating at some points for both men had real issues they both could not obviously deal well on their own. In comes the secondary cast of characters in the form of friends and wife and thus the arc of the series gets revealed. These set of great friends are what keeps all of these men together, in both mind, body and spirit. They are a huge family who stuck it out together through thick and thin since the day they met all those years ago as kids. Now as adults and business partners, it is this same set of friends who make everything logical for all. Chase depends on his friends, and Frank will, too, it should turn out. 

The one thing I have to be a bit frustrated about are the loose ends that are not resolved at the end of this read. I can speculate but with nothing left to hold on to, none of my speculations are even a bit tangible. This is a great beginning though, for as I read the preview of the second installment, what loose ends are found here are obviously going to be touched on and maybe tied together. Until then, I will wait, I will speculate, and dream that my thoughts will run the same course as author Parker James. 


Chapter One

“Damask? Who ordered the damask? Certainly not me. I wanted silk—the soft sage green silk I sent you the swatch of last week!” Chase broke the connection on his cellular with as much conviction as he could manage.

He swore, wishing he’d taken that call on his office phone, a good old-fashioned handset device that allowed you to slam down a receiver so a caller could feel the wrath as you truly meant it. He shook his head incredulously. Silk. Soft sage green silk—the perfect material for Ms. Conrad’s penthouse boudoir curtains—and some buffoon at the warehouse filled his order with damask! The horror swamped Chase, especially since he didn’t have the opportunity to break a phone receiver at the warehouse fulfillment worker’s expense.

Only one immediate cure popped into his mind at this moment—a nine-thirty-in-the-morning moment when a glass of Scotch whisky, neat, was out of the question—a good, strong cup of the blackest coffee Chase could find, along with the richest, most calorie-laden warm cinnamon roll, dripping in buttery, sugary icing. Well, at least the black coffee, he considered as he looked for the damned silk order form all over his desk at Just For You, the full-service concierge home store where he was a partner and worked as the resident interior design expert. I’d have the cinnamon roll and instantly regret the choice. Maybe I’ll settle for a muffin—easier on the waistline but decadent enough to soothe my pain, especially if they still have those carrot ones with the cream cheese icing.

Chase bolted from the desk chair with what he knew to be unnecessary force, grabbed his cell phone, and left his office. Giving his office door as much of a slam as he dared—what if Stefan or, even worse, Kurt had clients in their offices?—he purposefully made his way down the wide internal hallway and out to the reception area, stopping there to address the receptionist and interrupting her from what he was sure must be a very juicy romance novel.

“Wanda, I’m stepping out for about an hour. If those imbeciles at the warehouse call about the Conrad order, tell them I’ll get back to them in about twelve hundred calories.”

Chase barreled past a stunned and totally-clueless Wanda, down the elevator and headed out onto the sidewalk. He didn’t care if she understood. Right now, he just didn’t care about much. The morning air still crisp, Chase took a long, deep breath, as if clearing his lungs would rid him of the frustration the morning had already given him. A short walk to the trendy coffee shop on the next corner would be just the thing to cleanse his mood and give him a fresh outlook for a new beginning on the day. What had happened to him last week, along with snafus like this morning, were cutting into his otherwise positive outlook about himself personally and his burgeoning career as one of the areas up-and-coming new designers. His thoughts drifted back to how the trouble had all began.

“What do you mean you’re going to ask her to marry you?”

Chase could still remember the shrieking tone in his voice when he asked his lover of several months how he could want to be with a woman…and forever. Chase and Brad had been quite the item—or at least it seemed that way to Chase.

Yes, Brad had been dating Sylvia when they first met. In fact, Chase remembered the first time they’d laid eyes on each other—and shortly after, hands, tongues, and…well, everything else. Their meeting had occurred during one of Brad’s dates with the woman.

Chase had been invited to a big gathering at a local estate. He’d been privileged to design and supervise a huge redecoration project there. The invitees numbered over a hundred and Chase frankly had to stifle yawns of boredom. Good business mandated, though, that he hang around and be recognized as the person who created the luxurious ambiance the guests so enjoyed. Regardless of the money their firm spent on advertising, the best source of leads remained word of mouth and networking. Given how many people were in attendance and the quantity of champagne the waiters seemed to be pouring, there would be plenty of word of mouth happening.

He watched as the hostess—what a pain she had been to work with—wove among the guests, shaking hands, laughing, making conversation. He even noticed that while she circulated, her husband used the opportunity to visit with every young, pretty thing in the room, copping the occasional feel. Chase just shook his head in wonderment. The woman was a dyed-in-the-wool bitch, but even she didn’t deserve to be disrespected in that way, especially in front of her guests at her very own house.

What a circus. If I stay about a half hour longer, I should be able to leave without sacrificing any future coups. Chase grabbed another glass of champagne, leaned back against thestone pillar, and resumed his favorite pastime—checking out the men at the party. The women held little allure for him, unless they had deep pockets and a need to hire a decorator. Chase’s interest focused more on the faces, builds, asses, and bulges of the male guests. He hadn’t been laid in quite some time and the tension built in him.

He’d just about determined the dark-haired man with the older blonde woman had to be gay and a hired escort for the night when someone brushed against his shoulder—a little too close to be accidental.

“I don’t think you’re checking out the woman for some action there, pal. I think you’re sizing up her date. Do you think he’s the right size for you?” the masculine voice whispered softly, its timbre filled with innuendo.

Chase steeled himself not to turn around. The thrill the hot, suggestive statement promised had gone straight to his groin and his dick woke immediately.

Taking a deep breath, Chase kept his eyes forward but turned his head ever-so-slightly in the direction of the voice at his shoulder, replying in the same tone the man used. “How very
astute of you. But to answer your question… I don’t know. They say size isn’t important, but I’m thinking I could use long, hard, and large right about now.” Chase smiled inside as he considered he’d returned as good as the mystery voice had given, and the excitement of the game they played made him even harder as he finished his statement.

“Well, if you need long, hard, and large right now, maybe you don’t have to search too far away. Why don’t you just look here?”

Chase turned to face the source of the mysterious voice and fell straight into the deepest nearly-black eyes he’d ever seen. The man, his exact height and build, stood eye-to-eye and so close they were nearly nose-to-nose. Chase’s cock twitched, and he considered briefly if the mystery man’s did the same, they could duel like swordsman—horny maleness seeking satisfaction.

“So, it seems you may have an interest in fulfilling a need I have,” Chase addressed the man, not moving a muscle closer or backing away. “It’s a powerful need, and it will take someone of considerable ardor to satisfy it. Do you think you can handle it?”

The dark-eyed stranger didn’t flinch when he gave Chase a piercing stare and replied in a thick, even voice, “Handling you expresses exactly what I had in mind—right now. And I think you’ll find my ardor sufficient to please.”

Chase wouldn’t play games any longer. It was becoming rather painful, standing inches from what was quickly developing into a very promising situation. He gave the man a meaningful glance and made his way down the steps leading off the pool deck into the manicured gardens below. He strolled slowly but deliberately to the darkest, most secluded spot he could find. Once there, he quickly freed his stiff dick. The head already dripped with the juice of potential fulfillment. He couldn’t resist the temptation to stroke his organ while he waited, hoping he’d been followed—and finding out quickly he had.

The handsome stranger’s eyes widened when he noticed Chase’s hand wrapped around his hardened sex, the head glistening with pre-cum. The man stepped closer, freed his own cock, and grasped it firmly.

“Beautiful,” he said before his mouth descended on Chase’s.

Hot, wet, and demanding, Chase didn’t think he’d ever wanted a kiss so badly.

Pulling back, he managed to gasp, “I need your cock.”

“And I need yours,” the man answered then removed his grip on his own staff and led Chase to switch hands, so he held the stranger’s length and the man grasped Chase’s firmly.

For the next several minutes, Chase fought to stay ahead of his feelings and his approaching orgasm. Chase joined their cocks in the same hand, giving each pull of his sex the double friction of two men’s hands and the feel of another cock rubbing and throbbing against his—intense and nasty, needy and primal. He deepened their kiss—wet and desperate. His tongue probed and darted, matching the cock strokes—hot, horny. Finally, as if on cue, Chase’s release gave way, along with the man’s, their cum mixing in their hands.

That surprise encounter had been the beginning of him and Brad. After their adventure that night, Brad slipped Chase a business card with his contact information and went back to the party to find his date and girlfriend, Sylvia, who’d made a trip to the lounge to freshen up. Chase had known about Sylvia from the beginning, but Brad had been the hottest and sexiest partner he’d ever had. Besides, Brad had told him Sylvia was a nice woman that he cared about but their relationship was really no big deal. Brad spent time with Sylvia and never talked badly about her, but based upon what Brad had told him, Chase believed he used her more as a ‘beard’ to keep the world at large from discovering what a true ‘man’s man’ he was. Brad always found time for them to get together—and get together they did. They couldn’t keep their hands off one another. They’d almost been caught several times.

Chase closed his eyes while waited at the light, remembering the feeling of Brad’s hot, wet mouth wrapped around his dick. And it had been so long since he’d sunk his cock into Brad’s sweet, sweet ass or taken Brad’s dick into his.

Brad never promised Chase anything, but Chase had secretly hoped Brad would realize they were meant to be together. After all, everything with them seemed to fit perfectly. How can Brad not see that? But just last week Brad had destroyed his hopes with the news he intended to ask Sylvia to marry him.

“We can still get together,” Brad had said.

Stricken and lovesick over the news, he had his limits—fucking a married man among them. Chase called it off, then and there. After tears, scotch, and a couple of movie musical DVDs accompanied by buttery popcorn, he’d readied himself to face the world again. But what did the world give him? Damask! Damned damask!

Chapter Two


Chase entered the coffee shop, needing that hot, black coffee more than ever. Luckily, there were only a couple people ahead of him in the queue, giving him just enough time to consider his choices of pastry. The desired and dreaded carrot cake slathered with cream cheese icing tempted him mightily but he tore his gaze away from it, trying to whip up some interest in the healthier but decidedly boring bran muffin.

“Hey, Chase, what’s your
pleasure today?” Mandy, the barista asked. “You look like your dog got run
over, and you don’t even have a dog. No offense.”

“None taken, and anything that isn’t made of damask or named Brad will work fine,” Chase answered, knowing Mandy wouldn’t have a clue what the hell he was talking about but not being able to refrain from spitting out exactly how he felt nonetheless.

“All righty then… One no-damask, no-Brad coming right up—not. Would you like to try that order again?” Mandy laughed, and Chase had to smile at her one arched eyebrow and her cute dimples, even though they did nothing for him that way.

“Sure, Mand,” he forced a smile and called her by her nickname to soften his initial comment. Just because he felt lower than a snake’s belly wasn’t reason to take it out on her. He was a regular and she was one of his java besties. They’d passed more than a few hours when she wasn’t busy, commiserating about life disappointments in general and man problems in specific. “I’ll just take coffee black this time. Give me the darkest roast you’ve got ready, please.”

“Want a pastry with that?” Mandy threw the question back over her shoulder to him while she dispensed the coffee. He could see the steam rising from the brew, and he was hopeful its warmth would cure what ailed him.

“Nah, thanks though. I think I’ll behave myself this morning, though tell your Nana that the carrot cake should be illegal. I’m going to call the police and have them at her door one
of these days.”

That made Mandy smile and with a wink, she handed him the cup, took his money, and turned to the next customer.

Coffee in hand, Chase made his way to an empty table in the corner. Maybe a few minutes of quiet and hot java, would pick him up. He congratulated himself on avoiding the muffin, but
he wasn’t entirely certain he wouldn’t weaken, go back to the counter, and get it and the carrot cake after all. His current outlook on life? Down—about as down as anyone could be. The breakup with Brad had really shattered his confidence in the relationship department.

Wait, could we even have a breakup if Brad kept his relationship with his girlfriend the entire time? What did we have besides some really hot sex? How much of a jerk am I, believing him andcheating with him on the side? Shit. That’s so not me—or at least it’s not who I thought I was or who I ever wanted to be.

Staring into his steaming coffee, Chase reflected on the realization he’d wasted months of his life on a relationship that likely was all in his imagination. Brad had used him. He’d been nothing to the man he cared for but a sex toy, a fuck buddy. His stomach dropped with the understanding and made Chase feel even worse, if that were possible. What an idiot! I deserve
someone who returns my feelings and doesn’t consider me just an easy lay—even if I acted like one!

And then the business—damn that damask! Chase couldn’t even get an order right this week. Kurt bouncing off the ceiling was a given. He involuntarily cringed at the thought of facing that when he got back to his office.

Kurt, one of the triumvirate involved in Just for You, along with Stefan and Chase, had turned their boyhood friendship into a partnership that suited each of their individual talents.
Chase had a knack for color and design detail. Stefan was a master carpenter and all-around handyman, and Kurt possessed an uncanny ability to market, woo potential customers, and coordinate the financial and physical details of project organization and fulfillment. Together they’d forged the most successful concierge design business in the city—and in a relatively short time.

Chase felt pride in the three of them. They’d met in grade school and been quite the trio. They were as different as they were alike, and those similarities and differences were what
made their friendship special.

Chase had always been the smaller, more slightly built of most of the kids in school and the very interests that led him to eventually become a decorator also opened him to harassment and bullying. He was proud of his creative eye and his artistic abilities now, but during those awkward, formative years, they had been challenging, to say the least.

He remembered it as if it were yesterday. He’d been walking home from school one day—he thought it was during his fifth grade year—when a couple of the older—and much bigger—boys from his class had cornered him against Mrs. Johnson’s hedgerow.

“Hey, squirt, got any treats in that bookbag for us?” They’d crowded up to him, making him instantly fearful. It wasn’t the first time he’d been put upon this way by these boys, and they had friends who did similar things as well.

Chase hadn’t known what to say. His bookbag didn’t have anything in it they would like, and he somehow knew that wasn’t going to bode well for him. So, he just remained silent, waiting to see what fate would befall him. It seemed the safest route to take.

“What’s the matter, buddy? Cat got your tongue?” The one named Marv put a beefy palm against Chase’s chest and pushed him back farther against the hedge. The branches poked his back and he felt the sting of scrapes against his arms. There’d be some scratches there, for sure. Still he remained silent. What’s the point of trying to reason with them?

Suddenly the other boy—wasn’t Chad his name?—grabbed Chase’s jaw and squeezed his mouth into a painful pucker.

“Hey, pretty boy? Wanna give me a treat from your bag—or maybe you want to share another kind? I think you’re one of those sissy boys who’d rather play dolls with the girls and play mush-mush games with other boys. Is that the kind of treat you’d like to give us? Gimme a kissy-kissy.” He’d put his face so close up to Chase’s that Chase could smell his fetid breath.

Man, who’d want to kiss that mouth? Chase’s fear was momentarily pierced by that thought and he nearly smiled. Now that would not be a smart thing to do.

Chase just remained silent and still, hoping against hope that they might move on or at the very least, not hurt him too badly. He’d closed his eyes to wait for their next taunting salvo when suddenly the hands that had been grabbing at him were wrenched away, pulling him forward a bit with them.

The memory of opening his eyes and seeing two other boys, taller than him and definitely more physical, holding onto Marv and Chad with relative ease, still stayed with Chase. One of them—he knew now it had been Kurt—addressed the bullies.

“Now what are the two of you doing? Don’t you know it isn’t a good thing to bother a friend of ours?” Kurt shook Marv just a little as he delivered the question in a deceptively sweet and sing-songy tone.

A friend? Chase had seen these two around the school, but they’d never met, much less formed a friendship. But at this moment, he wasn’t about to contradict his rescuer’s statement. About that time, the other boy—Stefan, he’d later learned—literally picked Chad up and tossed him into a nearby bush.

“Don’t ever let me see you near this guy again. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll give him a wide berth—unless you want to grow up in that hedge you tried to back him into, that is.” Stefan wiped his hands on his jeans, as if needing to clean himself off after putting out the garbage.

Giving Marv a shove so he landed on top of Chad, Kurt clapped Stefan on the back, they exchanged a high five, and turned to Chase.

“Hey, dude, I’m Kurt. This is Stefan. Want to go grab a soda?”

And that’s how it had begun. Their friendship had only deepened since that day. Chase recalled their awkward phases and the uncertainty, embarrassment then wonder at the realization they were all gay. They’d navigated the sometimes-treacherous waters of growth from being children, to adolescents, and on into adulthood—and they’d done it together. They’d even come out to their families together. What a night that had been. They’d planned a multi-family cookout, and over dessert of triple chocolate cake, they’d broken the news. Chase smiled when he pictured the looks of shock on some of the faces and the mix of reactions. They’d nearly held their collective breath until their parents had ultimately come to terms with what their sons had chosen to share with them en masse. Thankfully everyone had accepted them and who they’d discovered themselves to be. Chase smiled when he reviewed the memory.

That night, along with all the other experiences we’ve shared, forged a bond among us that’s saved my ass on more than one occasion. Life might be shit right now, but my friends are the best.

He might not have Brad, but at least Chase had his best buddies and his business, even if he would have to deal with—

I have got to let go of the damned damask! If they won’t take it back, maybe I can use it in Mrs. Shaupenouer’s dining room design.

Chase had nearly made peace with the morning’s material order error when fate made him look up, straight into the gaze of the best-looking man ever born.

Damn! Who are you and where have you been all my life?

The attraction to the tall, dark-haired man felled Chase instantly—mentally, emotionally, and physically. He even felt a little lightheaded, which didn’t really surprise him, since so much blood seemed to have rushed from his brain to his suddenly wide-awake and rising-to-attention dick. Dropping his head to stare into his now-empty coffee cup, he suddenly had more questions than answers. Who are you? Why are you looking at me? Are you interested? What should I do now?


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