Tag Archives: Ellis Carrington

Stripped Away by Ellis Carrington

Stripped AwayPublished 4 August 2014

Published by Ellis Carrington

Copy obtained from author for review.

Synopsis:

HE DOESN’T RECOGNIZE HIMSELF

David Moorehouse has spent his life hiding behind masks. Nice guy. Best friend. Reverend’s kid. After finding his father dead on the floor, he’s been stripped of his job at the family church and his identity as the quiet, nice guy. The life he knew is over, and he doesn’t know what to do next.

HE KNOWS ANGER BETTER THAN ANYONE

Ricky Slade is itching for a fight. By the time he meets David, he’s struggling to save his business, his best friend, his drug-addict brother, and his own sanity. He’s got no patience for his business partner’s judgmental sibling showing up and getting in his face.

Their furious heat turns into a fiery inferno, but Ricky’s fresh off a bad breakup, and David is getting guilt-tripped by his family and his ex. Every time they fight, they fall into bed, but will that be enough when things around them come apart?

Be advised, this book contains: two men with big egos and bigger trucks, more emotional baggage than they can carry, and a whole lot of sizzling man on man action.

Our Thoughts:

One of the things that struck me while reading Stripped Away was how appropriate the title was and Stripped Clean, book one, for that matter. I feel that Ellis writes a book without bells and whistles. There’s no ploys to move the book along. What we get are stripped down, emotionally charged dealings between two men. Their lives are not perfect and they are struggling. Their nerves are stripped down and they don’t always make the best decisions or choices. Their lives are stripped down in one form or another. They’re left raw and emotionally charged and have to find their center again. Whether that is alone or with each other remains to be seen.

Stripped Away picks up where Stripped Clean ends. Ricky accompanies Greg to his father’s funeral and that’s when Ricky and Dave first meet. The sparks are flying from that moment on. Dave challenges Ricky at every turn. It isn’t like him to be so confrontational and harsh but something in Ricky’s the cocky demeanor sets Dave off.

Ricky is definitely attracted to Dave but they seem to butt heads more than they get along. From the beginning Ricky is nothing but helpful and accommodating to his best friend’s half-brother. In the first book Ricky came across as a real tough guy. Someone not to cross and also very dominate. I was very surprised to see a very different side of Ricky emerge in Stripped Away. He isn’t the person I assumed he was. I rather liked Ricky. More than in book one. I like his business sense, the way he takes care of people. I enjoyed his softer side and his kindness. I was also surprised by his willingness to submit. Ricky was a total surprise!

I wish I could say the same for Dave. It really took me awhile to warm up to him. His stiffness from being closeted and under his father’s church views was pretty severe. He was very awkward and hard to read. After going through the motions for so long, he was finally free of it all and still couldn’t let go. His father was gone, the church had folded and yet his family was still a pressure point. I felt bad for him, but I still wasn’t liking him. It wasn’t until he started actually thinking and doing for himself that I warmed up. He was open to a relationship with Greg and once he got off his high horse, he was open to Ricky, not for a one-off but in the potential to have a meaningful relationship with him. I loved the bond he formed with Ricky’s mom. That showed just how caring Dave really was, the rest was just a protective shell from year in the closet.

Stripped Away isn’t a sugar-coated book. It is raw emotion and a rocky road. These guys fight and claw and fight some more. When they get past that, the tenderness is so worth the emotional roller coaster.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!

COVER REVEAL and EXCERPT: Stripped Away by Ellis Carrington

We are excited to reveal the cover for Stripped Away, the sequel to Stripped Clean, Dave and Ricky’s story!

StrippedAway

About Stripped Away:

HE DOESN’T RECOGNIZE HIMSELF

David Moorehouse has spent his life hiding behind masks. Nice guy. Best friend. Reverend’s kid. After finding his father dead on the floor, he’s stripped of his job at the family church and his identity as the quiet, nice guy. The life he knew is over, and he doesn’t know what to do next.

HE KNOWS ANGER BETTER THAN ANYONE

Ricky Slade is itching for a fight. By the time he meets David, he’s struggling to save his business, his best friend, his drug-addict brother, and his own sanity. He’s got no patience for his business partner’s judgmental brother showing up and getting in his face.
Their angry heat turns into a fiery inferno, but Ricky’s fresh off a bad breakup, and David is getting guilt-tripped by his family and his ex. Every time they fight, they fall into bed, but will that be enough when things around them come apart?

Excerpt:

“You know—” Dave made a disgusted noise in the back of his throat. “Never mind. I don’t know what you’re talking about and I don’t want to know.” He threw his stuff in the rear of Ricky’s cab, then turned to jab a stiff four fingers into the center of Ricky’s chest. “Least we can agree on the dickhead thing. I mean, who shows up to a funeral with a firearm?”

Ricky didn’t show up to funerals at all when he could help it. Easier to avoid acknowledging death that way. “Need I remind, you tried to turn away your own brother? That sort of potential was exactly why I brought the thing.”

Ooh. Jumping jaw muscles and gritting teeth and everything now. “He’s only my brother by blood. I hardly know him.”

Ungrateful punk. “He’s the closest thing you got. He deserved to be at that funeral much as you did. ‘Sides, he was born first.”

Dave advanced on Ricky again, hot breath puffing and panting. “My mama’s heart can’t take that kind of shock. I was trying to keep the peace.”

Ricky matched the threat in Dave’s posture. “The person whose behavior was shocking, Church Boy, was yours.” He licked his lips slowly, grinning at the way Dave’s pupils got smaller and larger and smaller again, like he couldn’t decide whether lust or pissed-as-hell was winning in this fight of theirs.

Ricky himself had adrenaline swirling through his veins and a tornado in his belly. Man, this shit was better than a third ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl “I mean damn, any more heated and you and I coulda wound up going to the dirt right there in front of everybody. Bet that woulda really given your poor mama something to— fuck.”

David growled and gripped Ricky’s shoulders, hauling him front-first against the side of the truck. “Shut up. Shut the fuck up!” His breath beat harsh and ragged against Ricky’s ear.

With what air hadn’t been squeezed outta Ricky’s lungs, he laughed at Dave again. Was that the intelligent option? Hell no. This dude had the markers for being at least three colors of crazy. Ricky didn’t back down though, so he’d push until the other guy did.

Or until someone got hurt.

He’d have said no way could this guy kick his ass, not with his glasses and wiry frame, but Dave handled Ricky’s body with a reasonable amount of strength and know-how. Not enough for a total ass-kicking, maybe, but enough to impress. Speaking of impressive…. “If you think I’m gonna be intimidated by the anaconda you’re rubbin’ against my backside, Church Boy, you got another thing coming.” He sucked in a breath. “Gotta tell you though. If fucking in the parking lot is your thing, you really gotta give a guy some advance warning. I would’ve parked in an unlit area.”

Ricky’s most-likely unexpected response must’ve startled Dave into loosening his hands. Ricky twisted Dave’s arm and turned them both, pushing Dave’s back into the truck and Ricky’s fists into Dave’s chest.

“See, that’s what I figured,” Ricky murmured with his lips a hair from one mother of a betrayed sneer. “Damn shame, too.”

Dave narrowed his eyes. “What’s a shame?”

Ricky smiled slightly, shaking his head. “You’re all bark, Church Boy.”

Stripped Away, Available August 1: Add to Goodreads
Stripped Clean, Available Now: Amazon | ARe |B&N | iBooks | Kobo|  Add to Goodreads

About the author:

Ellis CarringtonRomance requires a hopeful ending and that is why Ellis Carrington is driven to write it. She loves to create original stories that are gritty, witty, and a little unexpected, just like the heroes who inhabit them. Her guys come in both human and non-human form because spirit guides and vampires deserve love too. Her favorite things are great friends, great music, and books that make her sob like there’s no tomorrow

Get social:
Web: http://elliscarrington.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EllisCarringtonRomance
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MMbyEllis

Stripped Clean by Ellis Carrington

18485072 Published on 13 October 2013
Published by Ellis Carrington
Copy obtained for review from author

Talk about a mess! How Carlos and Greg have managed to get themselves into some seriously messed up situations is insane! Carlos is gay, married to a woman he got pregnant. They were okay friends but made one stupid choice and surprise! Pregnant. Carlos goes off to boot camp to ‘man-up’ for his dad. He is on the verge of being outed when he is injured, then his wife loses the baby. Now he feels nothing but remorse for being stuck in an inflated, underwater mortgage with someone more a roommate than a spouse. Carlos’s life is like a sad country song that just keeps getting worse! One thing is for certain, he is trying to do the right thing in every situation and by doing so, he is losing. Carlos takes a job as a janitor at a local strip club because the pay is good. He’s trying to get out from that mortgage so he can get a divorce. That one change will be the end to Carlos’s agony.

If you think Greg will have less issues, you would be assuming wrong! Greg has an absent, judgemental father.  Greg lets his preferences be perverted by his ex. His ex-boyfriend is a drug addict who has treated Greg terribly, hurt him and won’t stop coming around. Greg is asked to invest in the strip club with his best friend so that brings on a new level of stress. Although he is making it financially and we think he has his life together, he still lives with him mom and still takes his ex coming around.

Both boys need a lesson in fighting for what they want. Once they meet at the club the attraction and lust is there but the work relationship and the fact Carlos is married keeps them on a friendship level. They talk and help each other out in various ways. Basically being good friends. It’s always nice to see the guys get to know each other and establish a base before venturing further. Carlos finally catches a break from an act of betrayal. For Carlos the hurt always comes before the good. I just felt so bad for him! Even with all the suffering he is still a giver and manages to help Greg through a tough situation.

If you like angst, you will love this book! I think this sums it up nicely, “What had happened in that phone call wasn’t completely clear. How they kept going from zero to holy shit with each other wasn’t either.” Both Carlos and Greg have a lot of issues to work through and they need to trust in each other to get through them. Of course wearing their hearts on their sleeves is not easy. Asking for comfort or help isn’t either. I think they both have to grow and learn. They have to give help but also accept it. They have to fight for the happiness they want and realize they deserve it.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story moved quickly and is actually something I could see happening. People put themselves into situations that eventually leaves them feeling hopeless. All it takes is one person or change to set in motion a domino effect of good. This is true for both Carlos and Greg. The boys were very emotionally charged. The chemistry was deliciously hot. They really work for their happy ending and grow together. It  is a journey that is worth every angst filled page! I especially loved the final paragraph of the book, it really pulls everything together.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!!

 

Stripped Clean by Ellis Carrington – Excerpt

Today we are happy to feature an excerpt from Stripped Clean by Ellis Carrington! Sizzling hot, full of angst and a unique setting. What more could we want in a hot m/m romance?! Enjoy this tasty morsel from Stripped Clean. ;)

18485072About Stripped Clean:

Carlos O’Shea is stuck. He knocked up a girl in college after a night of too much drinking and then married her to be honorable. With little money, fewer options, and no degree, he winds up cleaning the floors in a small town gentlemen’s club and thinking desperate thoughts about the handsome owner that’ll lead to nothing but trouble.

Greg Moorehouse only invested in a nudie bar to help his best buddy out of a financial crisis. Now his drug-dealing ex-boyfriend, his reverend father, and a parade of surgically-enhanced DDs are driving him insane. But what’s really stripped him of all good sense is his growing obsession with his married employee, Carlos.

They circle each other in a push-pull of misunderstandings and growing attraction. Carlos needs to get his boss out of his head, and Greg can’t abide cheaters and married men. So what are a strip-club owner and the guy who cleans for him going to do with their undeniable desires?

Be advised: Contains explicit love-making between two hot-blooded men, angsty dark moments, and cupcake-baking exotic dancers

Available at:  Amazon | All Romance ebooks | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

Excerpt:

“Ask you a question?”

Carlos looked up at Greg, trying hard to put the whole weirdness at the club behind him. To forget fast that he’d seen his boss not just naked but getting—Jeeezus, getting done by Sam “Nose Candy” Slade.

His head throbbed with an uncomfortable dilemma: focus on the knowledge that handsome Greg Moorehouse, with his sandy hair and his muscles, had let a prick like Sam Slade inside him? In doing so he risked losing his breakfast as soon as it hit his stomach. Or he could focus on the realization that Greg had rock-hard abs, a small dragon tattooed on his hip, a cut cock, and that the whole package turned Carlos on in more ways than he had a right for it to. Oh yeah, cuz it meant Greg did guys.

Except you’re stuck. You’ve got Lacey. You’re also the guy who scrapes gum from under his bar tables. What does it matter?

Carlos adjusted himself under the table, trying to get comfortable on the hard bench seat. “What’s the question?”

“Your last name. O’Shea. Unusual, right?”

Carlos tensed up for a second. He’d gotten used to people asking, but it dredged up memories he’d rather bury. “My father was Spanish, my mother’s Irish and English. My father and I weren’t close. When he died, I took my mother’s last name.” He recited the whole spiel quickly, automatically, as he had on more occasions than he could count. He bent to the task of peeling the lid off another Half & Half.

“Oh.” Greg tapped softly on the table. “Sorry.”

Carlos looked up into a pair of hooded eyes. “What for?”

Greg lifted one shoulder slowly. “Dunno, you sounded annoyed. Didn’t mean to pry.”

Something about Greg’s kindness helped unwind the knots in Carlos’s shoulders. He eased back against the vinyl booth. “People ask a lot, that’s all. I got used to spitting out the answer. You didn’t annoy me.”

Greg nodded in apparent understanding, but his face still conveyed doubt.

Or maybe Carlos was paranoid. He picked up a sugar packet and flipped it back and forth, just for something to do with his hands.

Greg sat forward, his forearms on the table, his biceps pushing the limits of a short-sleeved shirt made from a dark, stretchy fabric. “So you speak Spanish?”

Lo siento.” Carlos shook his head. “Not really. Not anymore.” He paused, gaze bouncing from one point on Greg’s face to another, trying not to stare hard at his eyes or his lips. This question was tougher to answer. “Like I said, my father was a prick. I sort of refused to communicate with him in Spanish. Eventually, I mostly lost the language.”

Greg looked sympathetic and thoughtful, perfect lips open slightly like he might ask more questions.

Carlos wanted to squirm. Nobody liked pity. Every muscle in his body hugged tight against his bones. He had to change the subject. “Can I ask you a question?”

Greg thumb-wrestled with himself for a few seconds. “S’pose so.”

Don’t ask, don’t ask. “You and that Sam guy? Seriously?” Idiot.

Greg slapped a hand on the table and leaned back in his seat with a roll of his eyes.

Carlos’s insides went from cold to subzero. “Sorry. I—”

The waitress chose that moment to deliver their food so there was lots of plate clinking and fake smiling and saying thank you. Carlos hadn’t ordered steak but Greg had, so then there was waiting for condiments and uncomfortable looks across the table because neither of them seemed to want to say a word when the redheaded lady with the long curls would be back with the steak sauce any second. Carlos sure didn’t.

“Here you go, boys, need anything else?”

“No,” they both answered in unison.

She smiled and sashayed off, far more alert than either of them at nearly eight in the morning. Must have recently started her shift.

“Look,” Carlos said, when she was finally out of earshot. “Never mind. None of my business. I don’t know why I asked.” Yes, you do.

Greg blew out a slow breath. “No, it’s….” He whumped the bottle in his hand and poured what looked to be half the sauce on his T-bone. Distraction by condiment. “He’s changed. A lot. And you gotta understand, in a small place like this, it’s slim pickins.”

The imaginary straitjacket tightened around Carlos’s body, pinning his arms and stealing his breath. A dispiriting handful of what-ifs tumbled through his brain. What if he and Lacey didn’t owe more than their house was worth, if they could sell it and dissolve their marriage? What if he was handsome enough, successful enough, for a man like Greg Moorehouse? Greg didn’t deserve “slim pickins,” he deserved far better. What if Carlos had the stones to stand up to his father back in high school? Later?

Fuck, he never shoulda let his dad put money down on that house when Lacey got pregnant. Back then though, knocking up a girl had been the only thing to ever make Pedro Zabala act with pride toward his son. So yeah, Carlos had let his old man put a down payment on that little piece of shit they now hated.

What if, what if…. But there he was, stuck.

 

About Ellis Carrington:

Romance requires a hopeful ending and that is why Ellis Carrington is driven to write it. She loves to create original stories that are gritty, witty, and a little unexpected, just like the heroes who inhabit them. Her guys come in both human and non-human form because spirit guides and vampires deserve love too. Her favorite things are great friends, great music, and books that make her sob like there’s no tomorrow.

Social networking links: WebsiteFacebookTwitterGoodreadsTumblr