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text 2020-08-24 08:10
New Release Blitz - The Assistant

 

Title: The Assistant

Author: John Tristan

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: August 24, 2020

Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 52900

Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, gay, Japanese-American, trans, interracial, BDSM, D/s, power play, slow burn, personal assistant, disability/ chronic illness, depression, age gap

 

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Synopsis

 

Burned out ex-soldier Nick Kurosawa has drifted from job to job since he lost his family in a car crash. Lately, he’s been working on and off as a bouncer, barely managing to cover his bills; an opportunity for steady, well-paying work is just what he needs to get his life back in order. Jacob Umber, a secretive philanthropist, gives him that opportunity. Umber has fibromyalgia and needs a personal assistant to help him with the tasks of daily living—someone strong, adaptable, and, most of all, willing to let Umber take the lead. It seems a perfect opportunity for Nick. More than anything, he craves guidance and a purpose, and Umber gives him that in spades. When Nick starts craving more, it seems an impossible complication, but even the reserved Umber can’t deny Nick’s talent—and need—for following his orders. But Umber’s shadowy past holds secrets that could undo their fragile new relationship and any hope Nick has of a normal life.

Excerpt

 

The Assistant John Tristan © 2020 All Rights Reserved

 

It was a clear autumn night, with the moon low and yellow above the city. Between its fullness and the lights, only a few stars could be made out, pinpoints in the raw black silk of the night. Nick stood with his fists balled above the man breathing hard in the gutter. A trickle of spilled beer ran into his hair, foaming like shampoo. He smelled sour, of sweat and fear.

 

“Jesus, man!” The man’s companion—a skinny young guy with a circular Band-Aid over one eye, like a discount pirate—crouched beside him. “Somebody call an ambulance! Call the cops!”

 

“By all means,” Nick said. He forced himself to take a step back, unclench his fists. “Let’s call the cops and tell them the whole story.”

 

Discount Pirate slit his eye at him and helped his companion to his feet. The man was dazed but seemed unhurt. Still—he could easily have a concussion.

 

Nick hesitated. “Maybe we should call an ambulance—”

 

“Forget it,” the man said thickly and spat into the gutter. In the neon and moonlight, the blood in his mouth looked black. His eyes met Nick’s, and this was the worst part: they understood each other perfectly. He’d wanted to start a fight, and Nick had taken the bait. Another night, it would have fallen out differently.

 

“Let’s get out of here,” Discount Pirate said, putting a proprietary arm around his companion’s waist and dragging him off into the darkness.

 

Nick let out a shaky breath. The street was empty, now; if he was lucky, this wouldn’t get back to Merritt, who owned the Hellhole. He hadn’t hired Nick to start fights but to stop them as gently as possible—de-escalation, not macho bullshit. The Hellhole was the only gay bar in Westerley, which meant it drew both the occasional snickering asshole and its share of ex-boyfriend drama. Merrick wouldn’t thank him for bad publicity.

 

“Jesus, Nick.”

 

Fuck. This was the last thing he needed. He turned toward the familiar voice. “Hey, Alex.”

 

Alexander Finn—his friend, once-upon-a-time fuck-buddy, and self-appointed social worker—had come up out of the Hellhole at just the wrong time. Sweat was still beaded on his pale forehead, cooling rapidly in the night air. “What happened?”

 

“Didn’t know you were down here tonight,” Nick said, affecting a breezy tone. “Must have been here before my shift started.”

 

Alex rolled his eyes. “I know you’re not jealous, so you’re trying to deflect. What happened?” He took out his cigarette case—silver, engraved—and popped one into his bow-lipped mouth, then offered one to Nick.

 

He reached for it, then hesitated. “Haven’t smoked in months.”

 

Alex gave him a skeptical look. “Come on.”

 

“Vaping doesn’t count.”

 

He laughed softly. “I’ll give you that one.” He snapped the case closed and tucked it away. “Talk.”

 

“I don’t know.” Nick ran his hands through his hair. “The guy just. Got under my skin. It’s like he knew how to push my buttons.”

 

“You’re not supposed to have buttons while you’re on the door.”

 

“Fuck you. Give me a cigarette.”

 

He did; they smoked together in the neon-lit dark.

 

“This job…” Alex chewed on his thoughts for a moment. “It’s not good for you. This isn’t the first time you’ve let someone…push your buttons.”

 

Alex was right—he’d never let himself take it this far before, but there were more than a few times over the last few weeks when a sneer or a snicker or a muttered insult had gotten under his skin and launched him right in someone’s face, teeth bared, eyes glittering. His fuse frayed shorter every week he was out here. He took a long, slow draw from the cigarette and laughed bitterly. “Well. I still need the rent paid.”

 

“How long until your shift is over?”

 

Nick grinned sideways at Alex. “Why, you want to take me home?”

 

He sighed and shook his head, but it had raised a smile. “Just think you could do with a good night’s sleep. After that…” Alex hesitated a moment. “Can you take the next few days off?”

 

“I’m not back on shift until Monday evening.”

 

Alex nodded and took a card out of his pocket—his business card, Nick recognized—and then fished out a pen. “Turn around,” he said.

 

Nick did. Alex leaned on him, using his back as a desk to write on. He could feel the scratch of the pen through his shirt.

 

When Alex was done, he handed him the card. Nick frowned at it. There was an address on it, a place in the financial district, and a name: Jacob Umber. “What’s this?”

 

“Someone—someone I know is looking to hire. I thought…well, you already have a job, and I had someone else lined up, but—”

 

“You always have someone lined up for something, don’t you?” There was a slight edge of bitterness to Nick’s words. Alex networked—he always had a side hustle lined up for someone, for the washouts and burnouts, the ex-cops and ex-military, the bikers and drifters he seemed to draw into his orbit. His type: like Nick. “Is this meant to be charity? Because you can pass it on to one of your other tricks. I don’t need it.”

 

“Call it what you will. And you’re not a trick, Nicholas.” Alex leaned in to kiss him on the cheek, chastely. “You’re my friend.”

 

Nick swallowed a sudden lump in his throat and stuffed the card in the back pocket of his jeans. “Yeah, all right, fine. There’s no number on the card—am I meant to just show up?”

 

“I wrote hours on there,” Alex said. “Nine to three. Weekdays.”

 

“Right.”

 

“Nick…” He seemed to be struggling with his words. “This isn’t a guaranteed job. I can get you a way in, but you’ll have to impress.”

 

“Come on, Alex.” Nick flashed a smile. “Don’t you think I can pull out the stops when I need to?”

 

He laughed and shook his head. “I know you can. Good luck, Nick.”

 

“Thanks. No, really…thank you.”

 

He nodded and left him on the empty street. Nick took his vape out of his pocket and sucked down a nicotine cloud; he noticed his hands were shaking. There was a subtle ache in his knuckles, where they’d collided with the man’s cheekbone. He felt a tiredness deeper than exhaustion, something like lead in his bones, and on top of that, a thin hot skin of queasy arousal. He didn’t know if he wanted to sleep for a year or get fucked up against the wall of the nearest alley. Well, he told himself, right now it’s going to be neither. He smoked until his hands stopped shaking and then waited for the sky to lighten—for his shift to be over—so he could go home.

 

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon

 

 

Meet the Author

John Tristan is a multinational gay nerd, currently living in Manchester, UK. When he’s not writing, he works in the voluntary sector; when he’s not doing either, he’s probably playing video games or tabletop RPGs. After his mother banned books at the table during mealtimes, he read the backs of sauce bottles. His stories are sometimes romantic, sometimes erotic, often speculative, and always queer.

Website | Twitter

 

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review 2020-06-21 00:02
The first time I listened to an audio book written by Gregory Ashe...
Police Brutality - Gregory Ashe,Tristan James Mabry

 

was back in December of 2018...so not really that long ago and I admit I did it for two reasons...#1 some of my friends were reading or listening to his stories and saying some good things and #2 I discovered that Tristan James was the narrator and I've been a fan of his from the first audio book narrated by him that I ever listened to. I've enjoyed around 50 audio books narrated by Tristan James...that is if you only count each title once and not how many times I've listened to a particular audio book...which would mean that I've listened to a whole lot more.

 

But the subject here is Gregory Ashe's 'Hazard and Somerset: A Union of Swords' series or to be more precise 'A Union of Swords' book #2 'Police Brutality'. Fans of this pairing will know that while this is only the second book in this series this is in fact the eighth novel featuring this couple...give or take a novella and/or story here and there.

 

The important thing to take away here is that if you want to enjoy the full Hazard and Somerset experience you need to go back to the beginning...back to the original series and yes, it might seem daunting but it's so worth it. I was actually late to the party in discovering what a hidden gem these stories are but once I found out, I was all in. I gathered up the audio books and I marathoned my way through book after book loving every minute of them to the exclusion of all else.

 

As a rule I'm a big fan of series that present a different set of MCs every book or even two...mostly because in the past I've found that my interest tends to lag as things begin to feel repetitive and so far that has not been the case at all with these stories. Not only has the criminal/investigative aspect of these stories varied in terms of the who, what, where, why and when but the relationship dynamics between Ellery and John-Henry has held a realism to it that's been to say the least kept my need to know 'where things are going for these two men?' 

 

Back in 'Pretty, Pretty Boys' we watched as Emery Hazard returned to his hometown to find himself partnered with John-Henry Somerset the bane of his existence when he was younger and as they go from antagonistic partners to cautious allies to friends and more in each successive story the reader gets to share in the emotional roller coaster ride as well as the dangers they face along the way.

 

Even after all this time things are not perfect between Ellery and John-Henry and just like couples in the read world their relationship is a work in progress. It's not all sunshine and light with these two...sometimes it's hard and it's just not pretty.  It was at the end of the first series that we saw Emery Hazard leave the police force and with the encouragement of his John-Henry, he set out to become a private investigator. 

 

So now here in their follow up series 'A Union of Swords' we get to see the effect of Emery's decision on their relationship. In book #1 "The Rational Faculty" we saw the beginnings of how things are changing for the former work partnership and it's impact on their personal relationship but here in book #2 "Police Brutality" the changes continue and with John-Henry talking about marriage and the addition of Dulac, Somerset's  recently acquired work partner, who seems to be there at Hazard's every turn and add in Hazard's newest client...Walter Hoffmeister, a rather unpopular police officer that we've encountered in previous stories, along with the fact that 'The Keeper of Bees' is very probably still around and a  threat to all that Ellery holds dear and this series is shaping up to be even more intense and mind gripping than the first one.

 

As much as I enjoy all aspects of the story, I have to admit for me it's the dynamics between Hazard and Somerset that keep me coming back for more. I love how these two men are together. I love that they see the flaws and imperfections in each other, that they fight...sorry, but in the real world people fight and argue and they make up. They say I'm sorry...not always with words but in ways that only someone who truly loves them can see and understand. Theirs is not a perfect relationship but one that's built on love and determination with a bit of sarcasm and snark thrown in for good measure.

 

Hazard and Somerset is about second chances, it's about flawed men, broken men who are to stubborn to stay down no matter how hard the world tries to keep them there. It's about men who do the right thing even when it's often not the easy thing to do and it's a series that grabbed my attention and has won my heart. I love this couple and having been there for the beginning I absolutely want to be there for whatever comes next.

 

*************************

An audio book of "Police Brutality" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

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review 2019-07-03 04:51
You know that moment...the one where things can be saved or lost...
Trusting Cade (Custos Securities #1) - Luna David,Tristan James

This one probably ended up closer to 2.5 than 3 stars for me but there's no 1/2 stars here and I'm not feeling like I want to split hairs so I'm calling it a day at 3 stars.

For the most part this one was ok and I liked it. Tristan James was the narrator so no problems there as far as I'm concerned. Mr. James is one of those narrators who never fails to provide me with an enjoyable audio experience when it comes to the audio portion of things.

 

As for the story there were two issues that really dragged this story down for me...the first one was the insta-love and folks we are talking insta-love here. This was probably one of the fastest cases of love at first sight on record. It whipped by so fast that it feels like I've got a case of whiplash which resulted in the fact that for me the connection just wasn't there.

 

There were a couple of times when Cade felt like Braden didn't have as much faith in him as he should and Cade was all "You should know by now..." and there sits me going "He should know what by now? He's had the relationship from hell and it's still stalking him, he's known you for 5 f*ing minutes and you think he should know what? That you're the end all, be all of boyfriends?" sorry but I think Cade needed to get over himself a little.

 

My second issue was in regards to the events that transpired when they were searching for Braden...I've already had my little rant about that in an earlier comment so for now I'm just going to say that 'not only was it unbelievable at times it was also laughable' and not in a good way. This should have been a very dramatic and pivotal point in the story. It was the perfect chance for the author to make, what was until then an average story into something better...it was the the moment when things could have been saved or lost...unfortunately for me it was the moment when things were well and truly lost and the story became locked in as being less than the solid 3 stars that it was until that point.

 

Now having said all of that I'm off to the second part of Cade and Braden's story in 'Protecting Braden' so there's still a chance for the author to win me back. I'm willing to keep an open mind and she's already got a point in her favor because this one is also narrated by Tristan James...so, I know it's a win for the narration but I'll just have to wait and see how the story goes.

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review 2019-07-03 04:44
I wish this had worked better for me but sadly...
Protecting Braden (Custos Securities Series Book 2) - Luna David,Tristan James

if anything I liked it even less than the first book. The story had potential but unfortunately it got lost in the execution. I wanted characters that had depth and dimension, people who were relatable and felt real...sadly what I got felt pretty flat.

 

'Protecting Braden' was 10 hours and 30 minutes of a story that probably could have been told in 4 if we didn't have to listen to Cade and Braden repeatedly tell the world just how wonderful the other one was and how lucky they were to find each other and how much they loved each other...seriously I got the message after the first dozen or so times that I heard it and after a while I was definitely beginning to wonder who they were really trying to convince.

 

Unfortunately in spite of all the drama of Braden once again being kidnapped, people being shot, Braden back in the hospital yet again and on and on. Somehow it always felt like Cade and Braden were just carrying on with their ideal little lives and everything was sunshine, lollipops and roses and nothing really touched them...there were no gut clenching, riveting moments that left me feeling like anybody was ever truly at risk and considering some of what happened in this story...that's really kind of sad.

 

So, while I've still got the third book to listen to and as much as I do enjoy the narrator for this series I think I'm just going to tuck my rose colored glasses away for a bit and give this one a break before tackling that last story that hopefully will work a bit better for me...it's not the same MCs so I'm going to remain ever the optimist on this one.

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review 2019-06-14 23:06
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns - Archie Bongiovanni,Tristan Jimerson

For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I loved this handy little guide. Simple, easy, and to the point. It covers various topics such as how to ask someone what pronouns they use, how to use gender neutral language in everyday life, and how to address situations in which someone uses an incorrect pronoun (in reference to you or others). 

One of the things I really liked about this book was the explanation of how someone may feel when they are misgendered. It is very simple, but so meaningful. Gender neutral language is a new way of thinking for many people, but reading from someone first hand about how a person who is misgendered feels should motivate anyone to at least try to use the correct pronouns.

I also really liked the level of understanding represented when people accidentally mess up. The book doesn't come off as demanding or antagonistic (except toward people who purposely misgender someone, which, let's be honest, makes that person a jerk and such antagonism in response is pretty warranted). The overall message is to do your best to use correct pronouns, correct yourself when you catch yourself making a mistake, and don't be offended when someone points out that you used the incorrect pronoun. 

This is all around a great book. A nice way to address the topic from a gender-neutral and a cisgender point of view. Wonderful read and a great way to get people to really think about the language they use.

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