Monday, March 11, 2024

On Guard by J.R. Gray & Andi Jaxon Blog Tour

He's going to break my heart and I'm going to let him.

Selling my virginity wasn’t how I saw my first week of college going.

But after my parents cut me off, an offer from a gorgeous rich stranger doesn’t sound so bad.
It’s only twenty-four hours and I’ll never have to see him again.

Much to my horror, the stranger is Oliver Godfrey, the captain of my fencing team.
And as if that isn’t bad enough, his parents own half the city.
There is no escape from him or the way he makes me feel.
He’s everything I don’t want.
And everything I need.

A playboy like him shouldn’t look at me twice, so why is he ruining my life?
But what Oliver wants, Oliver gets, and he wants me.
He’s arrogant, possessive, and infuriatingly obsessed with me.
This can’t work.

His parents want him to marry an heiress so I can’t keep him.
All I can have is stolen moments hidden in the dark.
He's going to break my heart and I'm going to let him.


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On Guard by J.R. Gray & Andi Jaxon

Book 1
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I can’t bring myself to look him in the eye. Someone like him won’t care about my problems. I doubt he’s ever had money issues. He was probably born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

“It’s just life.” I shrug when he doesn’t walk away.

“You’re a student here. A freshman, if I’m assessing the situation right.” He pauses, and I can feel his gaze scanning over me. “So what could it be...” His words aren’t unkind, but they are probing. “Family issues or money issues.”

Ding ding ding.

How did he know? Is it written on my face? A stamp on my forehead?

“I must be easy to read.” I suck in a shaky breath to collect myself and keep my voice steady. “Both.”

“Ah, yes, I can see how one would easily follow the other.” He takes a seat on the bench next to me. “Want to talk about it?”

“Not really.” I laugh without humor. “It’s not going to help.”

“You never know. Sometimes discussing things with a stranger can give you a perspective you might not have seen yourself. What do you have to lose? I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. Even if you told me the innermost details in your heart, I don’t know your name.”

“You know where I live, and we go to the same school.” I assume anyway.

“You live in a building with hundreds of other kids, and we go to a school that’s attendance is in the tens of thousands. It’s nearly the same as being anonymous. You don’t seem like you have anyone else to talk to. I’m a good listener, I promise.”

I exhale a weary breath I feel in my bones, knowing he’s right. I don’t have anyone else. “My parents cut me off because they think I slept with my high school boyfriend.” I sneak a half glance at him to gauge how he’ll react to my statement.

Stone face. Not even a single twitch of his mouth.

“And I thought I had it all figured out,” I continue, just to fill the awkward silence. “I had my loans lined up and a job. I knew it wouldn’t be easy to juggle all the work and studying, but I really thought I could do it.” I swallow back a sob, refusing to let anymore weakness show. But my chest is tight, and my stupid lip trembles.

“What happened?”

“I got fired, and my first loan payment hasn’t processed yet, and while the school will wait, nothing else will.” I pull my knees into my chest and drop my head to hide the fresh wave of tears threatening to fall down my face.

“The school will wait. Is there a textbook you need or a computer? Usually you can sit in the library and use theirs. They don’t let anyone check them out for this exact circumstance.”

Well, that solved one problem. “I didn’t know that. Thank you, but textbooks were the lowest on my list of emergencies.”

“What am I missing? What is higher?” He gives me another once-over, finally settling on my face with his deep probing blue eyes.

“I had to skip a meal plan because I couldn’t afford it. I only got so much aid and scholarships, and because they take into account my parents’ income, they wouldn’t loan me anymore, and my parents won’t help, so I had to remove something. I thought if I worked I could at least buy textbooks and food if I’m really careful, but then I got fired, and I’ve put in dozens and dozens of applications, but no one has called me back, and my phone will be shut off if I don’t pay in a few days, so they won’t even be able to call me. I have six dollars to my name, and I’ve been over and over it, and I can’t make it work. I’m down to my last ramen.” I’m barely breathing at the end of my rant. My face flushes with frustration and embarrassment. I should be able to figure this out, to take care of myself, but I can’t. I can’t get a break, and I’m tired of trying.

He doesn’t say anything for a long time. I’m pretty sure he’s attempting to come up with an exit strategy.

“You don’t have to stay and keep listening to me. I know it’s a lot of word vomit from a stranger. No need to say anything. I know you want to find a nice way to leave,” I mumble as I pick at a string on my pants.

“You’re quite wrong on the direction you think my mind went.”

I meet his eyes for the first time. He’s younger than his style suggests, or maybe he has a young face, but where at first I’d thought he was a doctoral or master’s student, he’s probably not more than a few years older than me. “What were you thinking?”

His expression strains between amusement and a deeper ruefulness, but that doesn’t give me any clues to what he’s thinking. “I shouldn’t say. My mind goes a lot of places better left off public consumption.”

“Can it be worse than the direction my life is already going?”

“That entirely depends on your definition of bad and proclivity to solve your problems with out-of-the-box thinking.” He shrugs, smile not wavering.

“I’m willing to try almost anything at this point.” My voice has a breathy quality I’ve never heard from myself before.

“Have you tried the food pantries?”

I scoff. “Don’t tell me that’s what you had in mind? And yes, one. I’m only allowed to get one box a month, and the other is run by my parents and their church. I know the second I show my face in there, they’d know about it.” I realize after I said it how easily I can be found with that information, but what did it really matter?

“Zealots for relatives. Delightful.”

“Hardly.” I let out another shuttering breath. “Thanks for listening. I should pull myself together and go hand out resumes.”

“But of course, I won’t keep you.” He stands but lingers. “Would you like a different way to earn a few thousand dollars?”

I cough as my eyes bug out of my head. “A few thousand dollars? I’m not selling drugs.”

“It’s not selling drugs, and I can assure you it’s legal.” He’s almost amused by my response.

I narrow my eyes, not believing him. “If there was a way to make thousands in a night without selling drugs, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?”

“No, because I wouldn’t pay just anyone.” He’s not amused now but watching me with a heat in his gaze that I’ve never felt before.

My heart skips a beat or two, and my breath catches in my throat. “Wh-what do you mean?”

“Give me twenty-four hours of your time, and I’ll give you, say, a thousand dollars.” There’s no hesitation. He offered the amount like it’s pocket change. That much money might get me through the whole semester if I’m careful.

“Twenty-four hours of my time to do what?” My voice cracks. Deep down in my gut, I know.

“Anything I want.” The seductive lilt to his voice has my stomach fluttering.

I gasp, despite knowing what he’d meant. “I couldn’t.” But I want to.

“No? Not even to not starve?”

I shake my head. “Thanks for the offer, but I really can’t. I’ve-I’ve never slept with anyone.”

He cocks his head to the side. “But you said...”

“I said my parents thought. I didn’t say it was true.” My voice quivers, betraying me even more.

He blinks, but his smile returns with vigor. “You’re kidding.”

“No,” I whisper.

“Why didn’t you tell the zealots as much? Surely, they would have accepted you back into the fold.”

“Because they wouldn’t believe me, and they wanted me to put off going to college until I’m more mature.” I jut out my chin out, not ashamed I’ve chosen myself.

“A bit of spirit then. I like it.” He lingers for another moment before reaching into his inner jacket pocket and pulling out a metal case. He takes a card from it and holds it out. “Three thousand dollars for twenty-four hours. You don’t have to answer now. Think it over.”

I take the heavy black card from him expecting to find a name, but there is only a number, and when I look up, he’s gone.

I know I can’t do it, but three thousand dollars...




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

On Guard is the first book in the New York Gods series.

Isaac Becker's parents disowned him when they found out he was gay. He went to college to find a new start but not having enough money to eat was not something he thought would happen. When he's outside on the sidewalk feeling sorry for himself, an opportunity he didn't expect comes from a man calling him Kitten. Isaac didn't expect to sell his virginity, but he sees no other way. Twenty-four hours with the man to do whatever he wants. He's nervous but he wants everything the man is offering him.

Oliver Godfrey is the captain of the fencing team. He has until he's done with college and his parents marry him off to someone of their choosing. Oliver never expects to see Kitten again, especially in his fencing space, but something about Isaac calls to him in ways he never expected. Can he go against his family’s expectations? Can he keep the only person he's ever loved?

I absolutely got lost in this world. I love Oliver and his twin brother, Owen. The differences are so glaring; I can't wait for Owen's book. I wasn't a big fan of Oliver in the beginning but watching him change and show that softer side with Isaac was everything I needed to be Team Oliver. Oliver was Isaac's safe place where he could finally be the person he always kept hidden within.

I can't wait for what's next in this series!!

I was super excited to read this book when I read the blurb. I didn't hate this book, but I also didn't love it. I think I struggled the most because of the writing style. You could definitely tell this was written by two different authors and it didn't flow smoothly.

I felt for Isaac when we saw how his first boyfriend did him dirty and his parents’ reaction. It breaks my heart to know that people still deal with this and go through that in this day in age. Oliver was a jerk, but had a sweet side for Isaac. Isaac's roommate was amazeballs, and I hope he gets a book. Oliver's twin, Owen, was someone I'd like to see again as well.

The second half of the book was better than the first half and even though I struggled at times, I'm happy I stuck with Isaac and Oliver through their journey to happiness.



Author Bio

J.R. Gray. Author.

J.R. GRAY is a cynical Chicago native, who drinks coffee all day, barely sleeps, and is a little too fashion obsessed. He writes realistic and damaged characters because everyone deserves a happily ever after.

Connect with J.R. Gray!

Facebook  ~  Instagram  ~  Twitter  ~TikTok  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: J.R. Gray Pack


Andi Jaxon. Butt Stuff & Heartbreaks.

I am probably one of the most random people you will probably ever come in contact with. My favorite accessory is rainbows (I have glasses and converse), big hoop earrings, and fake eyelashes (I only recently learned how to put them on). I always have coffee on hand so I can try to keep up with the three minions I’ve created.

I write about tortured pasts and hot sex, a happily ever after that has to be worked for. My stories tend to be a little dark but with some comic relief, typically in the form of sarcasm.

I like to dabble in a little of everything when it comes to stories. Romantic suspense, MM, a bit of erotica, with plans for Greek retellings, maybe some fairytale retellings, and some shifters. I write broken people who fight for their happily ever after, in all the many forms it takes.

Connect with Andi Jaxon!

Facebook  ~  Instagram  ~  Twitter  ~TikTok  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads
Facebook Group: Andi’s Junkies


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Literally Yours PR.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of On Guard (New York Gods #1) by J.R. Gray & Andi Jaxon to read and review.

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