Author: Andrew Grey
Series: Stand Alone
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: Aug 10 2015
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Ember is a drop-dead gorgeous Las Vegas escort. He notices Alejandro in some of the classes he teaches at his side business—a yoga studio. Then, color-blind Alejandro further captures Ember’s attention when he’s blinded by a quick change in light and needs Ember’s help at a club. What Ember doesn’t expect is the way Alejandro touches his heart.
Alejandro never intended to develop feelings for Ember. He’s in Las Vegas for a year to sow some wild oats. But Alejandro quickly sees more in Ember when he sets out to make some of Alejandro’s dreams come true—including a trip to the Grand Canyon and the beaches of LA. Alejandro’s wild oats could turn into something memorable.
Ember knows keeping his escort job from Alejandro isn’t the right thing to do, but he wants to be liked for who he is. Alejandro keeps his own secrets for the same reason. But Alejandro’s family obligations, along with Ember’s profession, could make it impossible for the two of them to stay together—unless they can figure out how to make the most of the gifts they’ve been given.
“Thank you for the drink,” Ember said, turning to him.
“You’re welcome.” Alejandro smiled slightly and watched Jimmy and Ember step around the table. The other guys all said good-bye, exchanging hugs and talking quietly.
“Is that the guy from the yoga studio?” Christo whispered, and Alejandro nodded slightly.
“For God’s sake,” Christo said. “You’ve been sitting here chatting him up and you’re just going to let him go? Have I taught you nothing? Before he leaves, ask him out, get his number, something.”
“How do I know he’s interested?”
“How do you know he’s not? Someone has to make the first move, so get up out of that seat and go ask him out. If you want something, you need to make it happen.”
“You sound like my father.”
“Maybe he’d be right, in this case.” Christo paused. “Do I have to do what I did to get you that date to the Christmas ball?”
Alejandro stood. “If you do, so help me, I’ll….”
Christo stepped back and folded his arms over his chest. “You have ten seconds.”
“I wonder why I’m friends with you,” Alejandro muttered as he stood up and walked to the end of the table. Christo could be such a pain in the ass at times.
Jimmy and Ember were getting ready to leave, and Alejandro wondered how he should broach the subject. Back home, he’d… hell, back home he’d never in a million years have the guts to approach another guy like this. Maybe that was the problem? He kept thinking like he was back home, and he wasn’t… at least for now. He was here, in Las Vegas—what did he have to lose?
“Ember,” Alejandro said when they turned away from the table.
“Go on out to the car, I’ll be right there,” Ember said to Jimmy.
“Umm, I wanted to thank you for helping me earlier, and I enjoyed meeting your friends. They seem really nice.” He was beginning to sweat something fierce and figured he might as well get this over with. Ember could tell him he wasn’t interested, and Alejandro could go back to the table and proceed to drink a few more martinis before heading home for the night.
“Is there something you wanted?”
Alejandro nodded and rubbed the back of his neck. If he got any more nervous, he was going to puke, and that would be so attractive. “I was wondering if you’d like to have dinner with me? I’m a terrible cook, but we could go someplace, then maybe a show.” He knew he sounded like a schoolboy, but he’d at least gotten the words out.
Ember looked like he wasn’t sure how to respond. He blinked a few times, and Alejandro actually wondered for a second if this was the first time anyone had asked him out, but that seemed doubtful. Alejandro prepared himself for rejection. He figured Ember had to be thinking of a way to “let him down easy,” like they said on television.
“I’d love to,” Ember finally answered, and it took Alejandro a second to register Ember had said yes. “Let me give you my phone number so we can talk and arrange an evening.”
Alejandro’s heart began working again and he smiled hugely. “That would be great.” Alejandro reached into his pockets for something to write on, but came up empty. Christo pressed a card into his hand, and he peered at it and then gave it to Ember with a smile. Ember handed him a card from the yoga studio.
“I put my number on the back. I really have to go. But we’ll talk tomorrow afternoon.” Ember waved and then turned and threaded his way through the people toward the front of the club.
The Gift was like all of Andrew Grey's books, a work of art. Every book by Mr. Grey that I have read has left me thinking beyond the pages, looking deeper. This book, I still do not know how he has done it but, he has written Ember who fast became my favorite as an escort but he did in a way it wasn't ugly. Yes it was distasteful, even to himself when he thought about his life, but he wrote Ember being strong rather than being used. Alejandro was wonderful as well. When I got to know his situation I could feel the noose tightening around my own neck as the book progressed. Family obligations and demands are something most everyone understands. And when those same obligations could keep you from the one person you are falling for it would make them even more confining.
As usual Andrew Grey's book is fantastic. The characters are perfectly developed and the world around them is vividly descriptive. It has some pretty humorous moments and those times when it felt like my chest was going to implode from all the heart break. Ember and Alejandro get pretty hot, passionate and loud. And total loss of control is not a bad thing sometimes. They both have some pretty fantastic friends that are more like family. They both have tragic stories that are no where near the same. This was such a beautiful love story between some very very unlikely men. I highly recommend it to those who love a good love story.
My rating system is different from Amazon where this will be a 5☆. See my rating chart to the right.
Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation.
Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.
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