Monday, June 8, 2020

Straight Up by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn Blog Tour


Love, served straight up.

Malcolm Elliott has been keeping secrets. Helping his mom through a financial crisis has nearly emptied both his bank account and his kitchen cupboards, despite his thriving career with Corporate Equality Campaign. Malcolm is also bothered by his inability to tell the most important people in his life that he identifies as gray ace.

Stuart Morgan has a secret of his own. Though years have passed since the tattooed chef fled the Mormon Church in Utah for New York, he’s never truly come to terms with the kink that ruined that rigid but outwardly perfect life. Experience has also taught Stuart that keeping his love of lacy things under wraps is safer than telling the truth.

After Malcom’s boss, Carter, hires Stuart’s restaurant to cater a gala fundraising event, the strait-laced Malcolm is thrown together with badass biker Stuart. Despite their differences and a couple of false starts, the men discover they work well together and a friendship quickly forms.

As Malcolm’s feelings for Stuart deepen, his sexuality awakens, but he remains tight-lipped about his problems. And though Stuart grows more and more attached to Malcolm, he remains fearful of confessing his kink.

When both of their secrets are finally exposed, they find themselves at a crossroads in which they must choose between playing it safe or finally coming clean to the person they love.

Reader advisory: This book contains references to homophobia and polyamory.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53347072-straight-up


Book 4
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Pride Publishing
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~




“Crap, crap crap.” Malcolm took the subway stairs two at a time, muttering under his breath.

He’d arranged the Thursday meeting with Chef Morgan at Lock & Key, expecting forty-five minutes would be plenty of time to commute up from Midtown. However, a mechanical problem had plagued his train and he’d spent the crawling ride exchanging messages with his mom, trying to get her to apply for job openings he’d found in the neighborhoods around Staten Island. Now Malcolm was nearly fifteen minutes late and almost sprinting along Broadway in his loafers and business casual duds, messenger bag bumping his hip.

Malcolm hated being late, particularly when it came to his job. He’d texted the chef with a heads-up he was running behind, but still felt wretched and unprofessional. He also knew this would make a poor impression on a man who had high expectations of the people around him. Stuart had been friendly—even charming—when he’d introduced himself to Malcolm, tattoos peeking out from beneath the chef’s white jacket. His demeanor had changed the moment the talk had turned to food, however, shifting into a thorough confidence that was reflected in the quality and plating of the food he’d put in front of Malcolm. Everything had been luscious—both esthetically and in taste—and Malcolm had known from the first bite that the chef and his staff at King’s would do impeccable work for the CEC fundraiser.

The steel in Stuart’s expression as he’d spoken about food and his work had reassured Malcolm. He understood how to interact with a man who was all business. He’d been less sure of how to handle the moments when Stuart had smiled at him, however, and the way that warmth had made his brown eyes dance. The chef’s touch had tingled against Malcolm’s skin when they’d bid each other goodbye, too and… well. Malcolm really didn’t know what to make of that.

He caught sight of a huge motorcycle parked by the curb as he neared Lock & Key and slowed to a walk. It was a beautiful machine, gleaming black and chrome in the late afternoon light, and Malcolm could imagine the kind of man who rode it, clad in a leather jacket with tattoos on full display.

I’ll bet Stuart Morgan wears a leather jacket.

Malcolm nearly tripped into Lock & Key’s door. Where the hell had that come from?

Seconds later his errant thought literally came to life and Malcolm blinked at the sight of the chef seated at Lock & Key’s bar, a tall glass of water in hand and motorcycle helmet by his elbow. Stuart wore a black leather jacket, just as Malcolm had imagined, and a scowl so mighty he looked almost like a stranger. Malcolm’s stomach flipped.

“I’m sorry I’m late,” he said in a rush. Moving quickly, Malcolm waved hello to the bartender, then pulled the strap of his bag over his head and stepped up beside Stuart. “I meant to be here to meet you, Chef, but the train—”

Stuart cut in, his voice gruff and grumpy as Malcolm had expected. “I get it. Public transportation sucks.”

“It’s unpredictable,” Malcolm replied. “Anyway, Under’s head bartender is waiting for us downstairs.”

“Downstairs?” Stuart waved at the room around them with one hand. “Downstairs from here?”

“Um, yeah. This is Lock & Key. Under’s located in the basement.”

“I thought you said the event would be happening on the roof?”

“It will be. Under and Lock & Key will be part of it, too though. Sort of.” Heat flashed over Malcolm’s cheeks when Stuart rolled his eyes. “Sorry, let’s…” He blew out a breath and squared his shoulders. “Let’s start again.”

Stuart’s expression softened by a degree. “Okay. I’m listening.”




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Ruthie☆☆☆☆
This is the fourth book in the series, and although it relates to a completely new couple, there are inevitably lots of tie-ins with previous stories, as the speakeasy Under is common to them all. We also get to enjoy Riley and Carter tying the knot in this one, which makes it extra special to series fans.

Malcolm is a really interesting character in this book, because he is just full of contradictions on the page. I found that confusing, but also intriguing, very intriguing. He is kind to a fault, to the extent that he is shouldering far more of the financial burdens of his mother than he should be, and almost starving himself in the process. He works for Carter and is certainly not poorly paid, indeed he has huge responsibilities, yet allows his mom to live in denial of her means. He has a lot of good friends, but he would never consider asking for help. He comes over as a small, submissive person, yet he is tall and can command a space due to his nature. He is also confused as anything by his strong attraction to chef Stuart, when he has rarely felt any kind of interest in anyone, male or female.

I loved Stuart's get go attitude, his non-apologetic nature, and his love of life. Yet even he had a deep secret that ashamed him. Between the two men we get a lot of reminders that no one has every part of their lives sorted or understood. Inevitably a product of a million influences and experiences. It is therefore a great pleasure to watch them recognise the friendship and attraction growing between them.

The Under gang are vital to the success of any possible relationship between these two, as they provide the glue and the friendship that they need to navigate new waters. It is very pleasurable to be along for the ride. The fun of the cocktail & food pairings is just a bonus along the way!

A fun series which is fresh in each story.


Also Available in The Speakeasy Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Pride  Publishing
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our With a Twist post.


Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Pride Publishing
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Extra Dirty post.


Book 3
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Pride Publishing
~  Also Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

For reviews & more info, check out our Behind the Stick post.



K. Evan Coles

K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.

K.’s books explore LGBTQ+ romance in contemporary settings.

Connect with K.

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
K’s Whiskey Words Café Facebook Group


Brigham Vaughn

Brigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time author. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.

Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, bisexual, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.

To stay up to date on her latest releases, sign up for the
Coles & Vaughn Newsletter.

Connect with Brigham

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Brigham’s Book Nerds Facebook Group



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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Straight Up (The Speakeasy #4) by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn to read and review for this tour.

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