Thursday, January 31, 2019

Living on the Inside by Londra Laine Release Blitz


Micah Grayson lives in his baby mama’s guesthouse. It’s unconventional and awkward, but he’s happy for a chance to reconnect with his teenage son. He doesn’t have time for other distractions—no matter how sexy, independent, and compassionate that distraction might be. Besides, he’s not good enough for more than a fling—no one would ever take him home to meet their parents.

Adrien Darling has book smarts, but no street savvy—at least that’s what his family says. And after a heart-breaking betrayal by the man meant to love and protect him, Adrien believes them. But then a gorgeous guy with a defeated look in his eyes walks into Adrien’s coffee shop and makes him want to take a chance.

After years of living on the outside as two misfits looking in, both men are afraid to reach for more. But in each other’s arms, Micah and Adrien find out what it’s like to live on the inside. As their tender bond grows and blossoms, old insecurities bubble to the surface. Will their commitment crumble under the pressure? Or will the two find the strength to fight for each other.

***Please be aware that this book contains a flashback of and several references to domestic abuse that may be triggering to some readers.***

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“Is that what we are?” Micah asked quietly. “Friends?”

“Yeah,” Adrien answered. “I hope so.”

Then he was surrounded by Micah’s body. Adrien hesitated for a moment before returning the other man’s embrace, locking his arms around Micah’s torso. A few seconds into the hug all the reasons why he needed to pull away from Micah—now—raced through his mind. But he couldn’t make himself do it.

Adrien had been fighting his attraction, but the man had slipped past Adrien’s defenses. Micah’s earnest joy at making progress with his son. His trust in Adrien as he shared his insecurities. His nonjudgmental attitude. Their growing friendship. All those things made him feel strong and needed. Adrien wanted more of that feeling. He leaned into Micah.

Micah sighed as he squeezed Adrien tighter, and Adrien’s body sagged against him, the fight against his attraction to Micah leaving his body. He tucked his head into the crook of Micah’s shoulder, and gave in to defeat, breathing in the salty sweet scent of Micah’s skin, running his palms up the man’s back.

The scent and feel of Micah was heady, and Adrien’s head swam as he let his eyelids flutter shut, let his lips graze the exposed skin between Micah’s neck and shoulder. Micah tensed against him and his breath hitched, making Adrien wonder if he’d gone too far. But then Micah’s palm slid up Adrien’s neck, cupping his nape, grazing a thumb along his hairline.

Micah moved his other hand lower, resting it right above Adrien’s ass, his fingers lightly grazing the swell below Adrien’s hips.

“Adrien,” Micah grated out. Adrien pulled back, slowly opening his eyes. Micah licked his lips, his eyes skimming Adrien’s mouth, and then he leaned forward.

Adrien met him halfway, their lips connecting in a kiss. The light brush became a firm press then flared, hot and wet, as Adrien ran the tip of his tongue against the seam of Micah’s lips. Micah submitted to Adrien’s silent request, parting his lips to give Adrien access to his tongue and mouth.

Then a loud honk made them jerk apart as a car sped past them, headlights bright and blinding. Their chests heaved, and Adrien took in Micah’s disheveled hair and damp lips and wondered if he looked nearly as enticing to Micah.

Adrien’s gaze skittered away, and he grimaced, embarrassment replacing the intense need he’d felt moments ago. What was he doing? He knew better than this. He’d been down this road before. He couldn’t get involved with an employee again.

Then a terrible thought occurred to him. What if Micah felt like he had to hook up with Adrien? Had Adrien pressured him in some way? Shit. Negative thoughts tumbled through his mind, making him dizzy. He had to nip this in the bud.

“Micah, about what just happened—”

“Our kiss?” Micah moved closer to him.

Adrien’s eyes wandered, unable to meet Micah’s. “Yeah, the kiss. I’m sorry—I didn’t mean to—I’m sorry.” He shook his head and Micah stopped the motion by gripping Adrien’s chin between his forefinger and thumb. He lifted Adrien’s face to his.

“I’m not sorry.” Micah’s voice was quiet in the night.




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Angie☆☆☆
First and foremost, please read the trigger warnings. I will say some of the things are described in detail and will set you off if you get triggered by verbal, mental, physical abuse and domestic violence. I have to say that I don’t really get triggered by most things but in this book, while Adrien’s family was treating him so horribly, it reminded me of my family and then I just felt down in the dumps. People sometimes don’t realize how toxic things are in their own life until they hear about it in someone else’s life. Micah and Adrien have both had crappy lives and both have so much healing to do. I loved these two together at first, but then halfway through the book something happened, and it just didn’t have the same vibe anymore. The ending seemed rushed and not really a happily ever after but a happy for now, which didn’t help my feelings towards this book either.


Angela☆☆☆☆☆
Having adored Londra Laine’s writing in Curl Around My Heart, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Living on the Inside. For me, this was a much tougher read because of the subject matter. Between Adrien’s domestic abuse flashback scenes and the emotional penance Micah must pay (rightfully so) as he earns his way back into his son’s life, Laine ran me through the wringer. A word of warning, the domestic violence scenes are frighteningly realistic, causing me to cringe in sympathy and I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, so if you’re a domestic violence survivor, please read with caution.

The aspect I loved most about the story is also the aspect that irritated me the most, depending upon the character(s) I was confronted with at the time. Adrien’s conscious decision to pay it forward and offer Micah a job because of his record – and because he seemed like a good bet as an employee – warmed my heart. When faced with an ex-con with extensive customer service skills, Adrien saw his chance to give another human being the same chance someone gave his father – a chance that had it not been given his father, Adrien probably would not have been in the position to help Micah out. Yet when his mother and siblings learn of his decision to hire an ex-con, they are less than receptive to Adrien’s decision and his brother’s outburst actually had me cringing on their father’s behalf. In their fumbled attempts to be protective of Adrien, they come off as insulting of their husband and father’s past, at least to me they did. I was surprised that Adrien actually called them out on their hypocrisy, but I was glad to see him stand up for himself.

As for the actual romance between Adrien and Micah, it plays out quite awkwardly. For me, this wasn’t really surprising. As the business owner, Adrien has to temper his attraction to Micah, especially considering his past bad judgments (his characterization) when it comes to picking potential partners. Micah’s position is just as precarious because as much as he is attracted to Adrien, the thought that he could lose his job if things didn’t work out between them makes him wary, especially considering how hard it was to find a job and how much he enjoys working at Adrien’s coffee shop. This makes for two guys who are rather standoffish with one another as they actively fight their attraction. So during their first few attempts to be more than employer-employee, they kind of flail a bit as they try to find their way. As much as I enjoy watching two slightly dented people who complement one another fall in love, it’s even better when there’s an added level of realistic awkwardness like Adrien and Micah’s, making their journey more believable. Obviously, my heart broke when things come to a head in the story, but I was glad that they were able to find their way back to one another, even if their reconciliation seemed to come about faster than I would have expected considering their pasts. Regardless, I enjoyed Living on the Inside and am already looking forward to Laine’s next release.



A forever-man for every man.

Londra has loved reading since she figured out how to do it. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.

Londra makes money as a communications manager. She is a former journalist, a runner and a mezzo soprano.

In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her spouse.

Connect with Londra

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Living on the Inside by Londra Laine to read and review for this tour.

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