Thursday, November 3, 2016

Tru Smoke by Edie Danford Is Now Available & Reviewed

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…

Whenever Jones touches him, flames flicker in Truitt Larkin's smoky-gray eyes.

Growing up in Ember Peak, Colorado, Jones Hudson nurtured dreams as big as the Rockies. Why else would a flat-broke college student believe he has a shot with Truitt Larkin, the billionaire CEO of Larkin Corp? And, sure, Tru might own the fab, five-thousand-acre Ember Peak Ranch, where Jones is just the son of a ranch employee, but that doesn’t mean a future with Tru is doomed, does it? When he finally, finally convinces Tru to break his chiseled-in-rock no-sex-ever policy, Jones is sure smoke will never shroud Tru’s silver-flame eyes again.

But fire burns and dreams crash. And when Tru shuts down Jones’s hopes, Jones leaves Ember Peak—and a big chunk of his heart—for good.

Tru knows he’s responsible for fracturing his valued friendship with Jones. Indulging his attraction to the younger man was selfish and destructive—something he’ll always regret. When Jones returns to Ember Peak for a family wedding, Tru wants a chance to heal their friendship and give back to Jones the comfort of coming home. But sparks fly the moment they reunite, and they scramble to douse the passion that’s burned them both before. Yet a flicker of hope glows brightly, and soon they need all their courage to see their way to a future together.

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Book 1
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I was playing with fire. The phrase churned through my head even though it was the kind of cliché I’d usually have no use for. I knew too well that every worthwhile risk had a good chance at ending up in flames. I also knew fire could be hypnotic and beautiful and feel fucking great, especially if your soul had been encased in ice for a good long while.

Being scorched by Jones Hudson and his amazing fire was like a ride to hell I never wanted to end. But what I wanted wasn’t good for me or for him, and so…

This morning was gonna suck. It was time to pay the price for my selfishness, my weakness. I held back a sigh and glanced at the clock. 5:45. I had two hours. Two.

Sweet Jesus.

My fingers tangled gently in his hair. He’d fallen asleep like this—smashed against my side, one arm draped over my chest, one leg draped over my thigh, his face nestled into my neck—at least twenty times in the last week.

Sex wore him out.

For about ten minutes.

My lips curved into a smile even though my heart was beginning to thump a pained rhythm beneath his warm grasp. It was dawn and the curtains were open on the room’s floor-to-ceiling windows. The sun wasn’t strong yet, but the newborn beams making it through the glass had found Jones’s hair.

Talk about fire.

My first horse had been a sharp little chestnut with a coat that had turned to flame in the sun. So pretty it had made my eyes hurt. Jones’s hair was the exact same color.

His fingers tightened suddenly on my ribcage and I prepared myself to get hit with a dose of pure autumn sky. “Morning,” he mumbled, his voice scritchy as rough-grade sandpaper.

More guilt there. I’d gone a little wild when he’d blown me in the elevator last night, his welcoming throat a temptation I couldn’t resist.

He propped himself on my chest, opened his eyes all the way, and smiled. And there it was—eyes heartstoppingly blue and a smile that inspired me no matter how stale my dreams had become.

“What’s wrong?” he asked, tracing the curve of my lower lip with his fingertip.

He asked it, of course, even though I was wearing my best everything’s-cool face. Never could fool Jones. I could occasionally fool his mother. And on very rare occasions my half-sister, Sandra. But never Jones.

I shook my head and tipped my chin for a kiss. His lips were chapped and I licked at them gently before going deep, wanting to taste him, refusing—goddamn forbidding myself—to think about how this was the last time I’d be with him this way.

“Mmm,” he sighed into my mouth. “How can you taste this good?”

“Because you crave the flavor of morning-after jizz, wine, and pizza?”

He licked my smile. “Yep. Must be it.”

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Mary Jo☆☆☆☆
On the surface, this book is about Jones and the unfailing love he has for Tru. This book is really about Tru, the boy inside the man. The boy who is afraid to love and be loved. The boy who leaves before he is left.

Truitt Larkin is a rich and powerful rancher who is always chasing 'what's next.' His heart and soul is at Ember Peak. And with Jones. The one man he can't let himself have. The reasons are varied and many, but the heart of the matter is that Tru doesn't want anyone to depend on him for their happiness. He's afraid he's like his father, emotionally stunted with a propensity to run off those who claim to care for him. His mother left, Sandy's mother left, why would Jones stay?

The book is a powerful read about love and loss and how to keep trying ‘til you get it right.

I want to start my review off by saying that I really enjoyed Tru Smoke. I’m saying that plainly because I fear that my review is going to sound more like complaints, but they’re not meant that way and I’m hoping that by the time I get to the end that you will understand them as such, so please stick with me. I jumped at the chance to review Tru Smoke because I’m a big fan of Danford’s Ellery College series. In fact, I had it on my short list of reads for our blog’s January BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) month. But when the review opportunity came up, giving me the chance to read it now rather than later… that was a no brainer (and frees up a spot for Unraveling Josh).

Because of my experience with Danford’s previous books, I was a tad surprised that Tru Smoke opened with Jones and Tru getting all hot and bothered. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining because these two men have some niiiiiice chemistry – I just wasn’t expecting it. However, by the time I got to the end of chapter one, I understood why events unfolded as they did. For me, it painted a picture of contrasts between the 21-year-old Jones and the 36-year-old Tru, the college kid and the billionaire, the kid with his whole life in front of him and the jaded businessman who’s been around the block more than a few times – and having parts of the story told from Jones’s and Tru’s points of view drove those differences home even harder and made their parting at the end of the chapter even more heartbreaking. But it also sets the stage for the rest of the book and Jones’s inevitable return to Ember Peak three years later.

What I think surprised me the most was how well Danford brought the new adult elements she writes so well into Jones’s character, keeping him true to his age, not just in chapter one where his youth is such a juxtaposition to Tru’s jadedness, but throughout the book. Jones definitely has his areas of experience and maturity that reflect his upbringing, but his youthful exuberance for life, his indecision about his future, and his hopefulness that if he can show Tru how good they can be together that it will all work out in the end, are all traits I would expect to see in a character his age. It is Danford’s ability to write a character who would take center stage in a new adult romance and play him opposite a character who is world-weary and afraid of the happiness the younger man is offering him that made Tru Smoke such an enjoyable read for me. Being closer to Tru’s age, I can empathize with his worry that accepting the love that Jones is offering would be a mistake the young man would eventually come to regret, his worry that a relationship between the two of them would stifle Jones, and his worry that Jones is too young to understand what love truly is. At the same time, the author does such a good job with Jones’s internal monologue that I just wanted to pull Tru aside and tell him it’s real and to grab ahold of Jones and to never let go. Oh, yeah, I was invested in these guys and them finding their way happy ending TOGETHER. I spent a large part of the book hoping and worrying that book two would be a continuation of their story – hoping because I want more time with them, but worrying that they wouldn’t work things out by the end. Of course, Danford delivered the best of both worlds by penning an ending that closes this chapter of Tru and Jones’s life, while setting book two up for the next part of their journey. As it is, I cannot wait for Tru Burn’s release in December so I can see where life takes them next.

Although her extended family hails from the Rockies, the Plains, and the Midwest, Edie has spent the last ten years in her Green Mountain home. She seeks romance wherever and whenever possible.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Tru Smoke (Ember Peak #1) by Edie Danford to read and review for this tour.

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