FIVE STARS FOR Trey
Trey Walker has one major flaw as far as he’s concerned: he impulsively falls in love too easily and too often. That reckless impulse resulted in several failed relationships, not to mention the implosion of his marriage. And what’s the best way to ensure you don’t make that mistake again? That’s easy. You shrug off relationships for good.
And it was working for him.
Right up until it wasn’t.
Trey was on a winning streak until fate threw him a curveball eighteen months ago when he crossed paths with Magnus Storme, the smoking hot, ridiculously persistent twenty-four-year-old owner of Camp K-9. Using the 12-year age gap as an excuse, Trey managed to resist Magnus … for about a minute. Did he mention Magnus was persistent? His first mistake was taking Magnus home, thinking one night with him would get the man out of his system. One night turned into two, then a week, a month, two…
After a year, Trey still adamantly denied falling for Magnus, which meant he wasn’t only lying to Magnus, he was lying to himself.
Just when Trey’s life seems to be cruising along the right track, another unexpected turn arrives, this time in the form of a woman from Magnus’s past. Only Ava March isn’t just any woman, she’s one Magnus has a history with, and now Ava needs him.
Trey has to make a decision: live in denial and walk away from the man he loves or accept that his feelings are in direct contradiction to everything Trey thought he knew about himself.
This MMF romance can be read as a standalone; however, Trey, Magnus, and Ava’s story picks up where things left off in Confessions from the Brantley Walker: Off the Books series.
✔️ Overcoming Tragedy
✔️ Bisexual Ménage
✔️ Second Chances
✔️ Friends to Lovers
✔️ Family Saga
✔️ Small Town
Trey Walker stood outside the hospital room door, waiting patiently in the corridor for his brother to arrive. He’d just learned the devastating news from Charlie, but before he dragged Magnus out of the room to hear it for himself, he wanted to see his brother’s face to confirm that what she said was true.
God knows, if it was, it was going to be devastating.
Perhaps not so much for Magnus as it would be for Ava. Her life had been irrevocably changed in a matter of days. The effect this news would have on her was going to add insult to injury, with a bucketful of pain, heartache, and mourning to follow. Perhaps, times two. At least for Ava. She had a long, tough road ahead of her, according to her doctors.
She’s alive. That’s all that matters.
The little voice in his head had been repeating that every time he looked at the beaten and battered woman. It was true. She was alive. That was all that mattered, and since the prognosis was good, some of the tension had eased out of his shoulders. Mostly. Okay, that was a lie. Yeah, he was relieved that Ava was all right. Honest to God relieved, even if it meant his entire life was about to go into a tailspin.
Trey did his best not to eavesdrop on a couple of nurses talking quietly two doors down while he stared toward the end of the hall, waiting for his brother to appear. It could’ve been ten minutes or ten hours—time had long since stood still since they’d found Ava March beaten and broken, hovering dangerously close to death. He finally heard Brantley’s voice echoing down the hallway, bouncing off the tiled floors and the false ceiling above.
He steeled himself, and the moment Brantley came into view, Trey met his younger brother’s gaze, exhaling for the first time in what felt like forever. What Charlie had told him was true. Of that, he was certain.
“You have a chance to talk to Magnus yet?” Brantley asked when he was close enough to keep his voice at a normal level.
Trey shook his head. Rather than admit he’d been too chickenshit to relay the news himself, he said, “I didn’t want to pull him away from her until I had to.”
Brantley’s expression held a wealth of sympathy. “I think it’d be best if we told him first, let him decide how he wants to relay the information to Ava.”
Trey appreciated that Brantley thought he had a choice in the matter. What his brother didn’t realize was that Magnus was acting like a bristly grizzly keeping his cub safe as he sat watch over Ava, ensuring no one did anything that might cause her any more pain. Trey understood the protective instinct because he felt the same overwhelming need to wrap her in cotton and tuck her away so nothing could get to her. He wasn’t sure where the instinct came from, but it was there all the same.
“It won’t go over well, regardless,” Trey mumbled. “Bad news never does.”
“You wanna grab him?” Brantley prompted, nodding toward the door.
Not really, no. He forced himself to turn toward the door, slowly opening it. His gaze shot to Ava lying in the hospital bed, looking so young, so pale and fragile after her horrific ordeal. She was hooked up to wires and tubes, stark white bandages prominent against her sallow skin, covering the damage done by the bastard Ava was married to. Trey had to admit seeing her like that pained him in a way he didn’t understand. Hell, there was so much about this situation that pained him, he was surprised he could breathe without choking on his confusion and anger.
“Magnus,” he said softly, not wanting to wake Ava, although the pain meds kept her sedated.
“Hmm?” Magnus’s gaze lifted, those hazel eyes wary as he stared at Trey.
“Brantley and Reese are outside. They need to talk to you.”
He looked over at Ava, then back to Trey. “Do I have to?”
“Yeah. You need to hear what they have to say.”
Reluctantly, Magnus nodded as he slowly rose to his feet. He reached over, lightly tugged Ava’s blanket higher to keep her warm before leaning down and pressing a kiss to her temple. “I’ll be right back.”
She didn’t move, and the monitor tracking her heart rate remained steady at the side of the bed.
Taking a deep breath, Trey waited for Magnus to join him, then opened the door and let the other man precede him into the hall.
“We’ll make this quick,” Reese said as soon as Trey closed the door behind him. “But we figured you needed to know before someone leaked the information.”
“What information?” Magnus glanced between the three of them. “Did they arrest that bastard?”
Trey squared his shoulders, preparing to let Magnus lean on him if he needed to.
“Harrison Rivers is dead, Magnus,” Brantley said.
Trey appreciated the fact his brother didn’t mince words.
Magnus frowned, his dark eyebrows slashing downward over tired eyes. “Dead? How?”
Trey noticed that Reese’s gaze had dropped to the floor, and Trey fought the urge to look away, too.
“Ava’s mother shot and killed him,” Brantley relayed.
Magnus’s eyes widened.
That’s not the worst part, Trey thought. Brace for it.
Brantley plowed forward. “Then she took her own life.”
When Magnus staggered back, Trey reached for him, putting an arm around his shoulders and drawing him in close.
“She’s gonna be devastated,” Magnus whispered, turning into Trey’s arms. “She’s been through enough.”
That was an understatement. The only good thing about any of this was the fact that Ava had survived her husband’s brutal attack and his blatant disregard when he dumped her lifeless body in a field, wrapped in a rug. The bastard had left her for dead, not even bothering to realize he hadn’t stolen the life from her body completely. He couldn’t fathom what that had been like for Ava. Regaining consciousness, finding herself alone. No doubt she’d been terrified, left to die in a field, having to get to safety with numerous bones shattered inside her body.
Trey held on to Magnus, letting him know without words that he was there as the anger churned in his veins. He was grateful Harrison Rivers was dead. Otherwise, there was a good chance they’d have another tragedy on their hands. One that would result in someone spending a lifetime in prison. There was no doubt in Trey’s mind that Magnus was capable of killing the bastard as payback for what he’d done to Ava.
“She has,” Brantley agreed, his tone somber. “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if it makes it easier for you, I can be the one to tell her.”
Magnus shook his head, pulled himself together, and extricated himself from Trey’s arms. “No. I’ll do it. She needs to hear it from me.”
Yes, Magnus was a better man than Trey. If it were up to him, he’d let someone else tell Ava. Then again, Trey had never been much for confrontation.
Trey looked at his brother.
Brantley nodded. “As of right now, you’ve officially contracted the services of Sniper 1 Security. I’m gonna talk to the hospital, let them know that we’ll be stationing agents in the building to ensure no one gets up here. Give the media some time to die down.”
“I can’t afford it, but I’ll do whatever it takes,” Magnus said, his voice only slightly steadier than before.
Brantley smiled, although there wasn’t any amusement in it. “We’re doin’ this free of charge, man.”
“You don’t have—”
“You’re family,” Brantley said firmly, his gaze briefly darting to Trey’s face. “There’s no other way to do it.”
Trey appreciated everything his brother had done for Magnus over the past few days. All the work that had gone into finding Ava, rescuing her from her rescuer. He wanted to thank the woman who had safely stowed Ava away, ensuring her husband couldn’t find her, but he also wanted to throttle her for putting Magnus through hell as they combed every inch of the area she’d been dumped, searching for her. It hadn’t been easy, and Trey knew the hard part was yet to come despite the fact Ava was now safely recovering from her horrific injuries.
Brantley put a hand on Magnus’s shoulder, squeezed. “We’ll get goin’, but if you need anything at all, just holler.”
Something flashed on Brantley’s hand, catching Trey’s attention.
He reached for Brantley’s arm, pulled it back. “What’s this?” he asked, tapping the ring on Brantley’s finger.
Brantley pulled his hand away, but not before Trey noticed the blush on his brother’s face. Had the man ever blushed before?
Trey looked at Reese. “Did you…?” His gaze shot to Brantley. “Are y’all…?”
“He did, and we are,” Brantley said firmly, clearly closing the door on the conversation by adding, “And that’s all we’re gonna say about it.” Brantley narrowed his gaze. “And don’t you dare tell Mom and Dad.”
His brother was getting married. Despite the somber moment, Trey was thrilled for him but decided to refrain from celebrating. That would have to wait until later.
With a quick wave, Brantley turned and strolled back the way he came, Reese right next to him.
“How do I tell her about her mom?” Magnus asked, looking up at Trey.
Trey honestly didn’t know. He knew so very little about Ava March as it was, having only met the woman once.
“I’ll be right there with you,” he assured Magnus, wanting the man to know that regardless of what the future brought, he had no intention of drifting too far away.
He had a feeling his life was about to take a very different turn than anything he could’ve anticipated, but Trey knew what he felt for Magnus was real. Real enough that he had already committed—at least to himself—for the long haul.
Little did he know, but that different turn was going to alter everything he’d once thought about himself.
Publisher: Nicole Edwards Limited
Cover Design : Nicole Edwards Limited
Cover Image Copyright © Wander Aguiar | WanderBookClub.com
Cover Model(s): Alex C.
While this book is about love, healing, and perseverance, some readers may find the retelling of the physical abuse Ava suffered at the hands of her husband difficult to read.