Monday, April 17, 2023

Ripped by Linden Bell Instagram Tour

Blog Tour. Linden Bell’s Ripped. Mars Fitness.

Sometimes heartache is a blessing in disguise.

I thought my life was perfect, and then I walked in on my boyfriend sleeping with my best friend.

The only person I can turn to now is Donnie, the silver-fox spin instructor who lets me crash at his place. Donnie’s a lot older and he’s still grieving his late husband. My dreams of being a filmmaker have disintegrated along with my relationship.

The worst of life has brought us together. Do we dare create something beautiful out of it?

Ripped is an age-gap, nerd/jock, hurt/comfort, MM romance between roommates who cuddle while watching classic movies. Expect steamy shower rooms, teary confessions, disapproving family, and brand new beginnings. Happily ever after guaranteed.
It is the first book in the Mars Fitness series and can be read as a standalone.

Content Warning: grief and loss of a spouse, description of fatal car accident, description of homophobic family, cheating secondary characters.


Add to Goodreads.


Ripped by Linden Bell

Book 1
Buy Links

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




I give the kitchen one last wipe down, then make myself a mug of chamomile tea and bring it upstairs with me. I stop on the second-floor landing. The door to the guest room is open and the light is still on. When I peek inside, I find Connor lying on his side in the middle of the bed, on top of the covers.

He looks so small like that, so defenseless and vulnerable. This big guy, all curled up, his thick thighs tucked against his chest. His dark blond hair is all tousled and his lip is pushed out in that pout.

I set my hand on his shoulder and give him a shake. “Connor.”

His eyes flutter open and reveal light brown irises that remind me of caramel. Warm and sweet and comforting. He stares at me, but I’m not sure if he sees me at all.

“Come on, let’s get you under the covers.” I set my mug aside and tug Connor to his feet. He moves slowly, loose and languid. He’s probably on the edge of unconsciousness. I get him onto the bed, head on a pillow, and drag the covers over him, making sure they’re wrapped snuggly around him. When I turn to go, his arm shoots out from under the bedding and latches onto my wrist.

“Don’t leave.” His words are slurred with fatigue, but the neediness in them is as clear as a bell. It echoes through me and I can’t tell whether I’m reflecting what he’s projecting or whether I need that comfort too. Either way, I can’t leave him.

I climb onto the bed next to him, the thickness of the covers separating us. Connor immediately molds himself to me, head on my shoulder, arm flung across my body. He rubs his cheek back and forth, breathing in deep like he’s filling himself up on my smell. When he sighs, all the tension melts away and he’s heavy and soft on top of me.

His weight… I close my eyes as my body pushes through the murkiness of a four-year slumber. His hair tickles my chin, his chest rises and falls against my side, his arm is heavy on my stomach, his hand is curled possessively around my hip. I haven’t slept next to anyone since Roger. Hell, I haven’t held anyone as closely as I’ve held Connor since then either.

My brain dumps barrels and barrels of oxytocin into my system, the entire stockpile over the last four years. It feels so goddamn good to have Connor on me, touching me, curled up around me. My skin is all sensitive and tingly. My muscles are liquid like I’ve had a deep tissue massage. And my dick… Christ, my dick roars to life.

I’m hard, achingly hard. From something as simple as having a guy cuddle me in bed. We’re both fully clothed. There’s a thick blanket between us. But all my dick cares about is that I have a man on top of me and it feels fucking good.

Connor is already asleep. He was out the second I laid down with him. The ten extra minutes I stay there are for me. Only me. I let myself enjoy his weight, the softness of his hair, the scent of Mars’s locker room soap that still clings to his skin. I let myself soak it all in, as much of it as I can get, until I’m almost falling asleep myself.



There’s a flair about him, something enigmatic that keeps drawing me in.



Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This was a fast weekend read for me. Connor gets home from spin class and finds his boyfriend is cheating on him with his BFF. He's devastated and runs, ends up at the gym in hysterics. In comes Donnie, the spin instructor, to the rescue. Things move super fast. Are there really nice people like Donnie in the real world? I mean Connor and Donnie were basically strangers but then Donnie offers him a room? Whatever, it's a story. I loved Donnie instantly. I felt his pain with the loss of his husband. This was a really sweet romance, low angst, age gap, with hurt/comfort too. It wasn't an insta-love story, but it was sweet and loving, and I liked how both characters grew. I am looking forward to reading the next book.

Ripped is the first book in the Mars Fitness series.

When Connor walks in and finds his best friend and his boyfriend, not so much in bed but looking like they were in it not long before, he's crushed. When he can't turn to the two people he would normally go to when he needs someone he doesn't know where to go. He finds himself back at the gym he left right before this nightmare happened. He can't seem to control his emotions and collapses sobbing, thankfully Donnie, the cycling instructor, is there to hold him together.

Donnie's husband died four years ago. He knows he needs to move on with his life, but he's stuck in his grief. Seeing Connor so distraught has him reacting in ways he never saw coming. The urge to protect him and hold him together is something that he can't deny and offers his spare room to the basic stranger. But he sees something in Connor that might help them both heal.

Connor and Donnie have an almost insta-love story, but I didn't mind that aspect at all. Their chemistry was easy to see, and it was fun to watch it play out. I was instantly invested in these characters and loved seeing them get their happily ever after.

Linden Bell is a new-to-me author, and I really enjoyed this first time read. I am looking forward to what comes next.



It feels like I’m slotting into place with him. Like he’s carved out a piece of himself, shaped especially for me.


Author Bio

Linden Bell. Sweet & Spicy Gay Romance.

LINDEN BELL writes romance that heats you up and makes you smile. She's a lifelong fan of romance novels and the happily ever after.

Connect with Linden Bell

Facebook  ~  Goodreads



The hurt in him recognizes the hurt in me.


Hosted by

Gay Romance Reviews Tours & Promo.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Ripped (Mars Fitness #1) by Linden Bell to read and review.

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