Keep Me In Mind ~ An Act of Devotion by A.M. Leibowitz ~ (Reviews, Characters Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: A.M. Leibowitz
Book Name: An Act of Devotion
(M/M companion to the F/F book
‘Memoir in the Making' by Adrian J. Smith)
Release Date: May 1, 2016
Adam Lansing has always relied on his charm to get by. Sure, he’s starting over—new school, new graduate assistant position—but he knows he won’t have any trouble working his magic on anyone he chooses.
Antonio "AJ" Mancuso is deep inside his own head. He's cool, calm, and confident. Despite all the friends around him, he often feels like he straddles two worlds. Is there anyone who could love him for everything that defines him—past and present?
From the first time they meet, Adam is determined to get gorgeous AJ to notice him. But just as the heat is cranking up between them, Adam spots AJ with another man. Adam strikes back through a fling with an ex. When he discovers the truth behind AJ's behavior, he realizes that his magic won't clean up for him this time.
Pages or Words: 215 pages
Categories: Bisexual, Contemporary, M/M Romance, New Adult
Inside the one-floor building, there were half a dozen other students. Two of them were going through boxes; they looked like undergraduates on work study. Two were sitting in chairs in the waiting area, probably to see the nurse practitioner in the back offices. One was flipping through brochures in the rack on the wall, and the last one was behind the desk. When Adam saw him, his jaw nearly hit the floor.
The man—because this was absolutely not one of the gangly, barely-adult boys in abundance on campus—was gorgeous. No, not merely gorgeous. God-like in his stunning beauty. He was practically a work of art. His skin was bronze, and he had a mass of thick, almost black hair that lay in heavy waves. Under long lashes, his dark eyes shone, and his lips were full and pink. He wasn’t quite clean-shaven, and the light, purposeful stubble oozed attractive masculinity. Even seeing only his upper body, it was obvious he was muscular and toned in a way Adam barely aspired to be.
Adam wasn’t one to be overly concerned about the packaging when it came to love—or lust, as the case might be. Hot people were hot people, in his opinion. As long as everyone was on the same page with what they wanted, the particulars of hes or shes or theys were only as important to him as they were to his partners. In all the years he’d been practicing the science of mate selection, he was certain he’d never met anyone who had melted his insides as fast as the man at the desk.
While Adam was busy staring, he stood rooted to the spot, having forgotten why he was there in the first place. The low throat-clearing startled him, and he shifted his gaze from Sexy’s torso to his face. The man’s lips twitched, but he didn’t smile.
“May I help you?” he asked.
“Uh…” Adam mentally slapped himself. He was not one to lose his words over anyone, no matter how attractive. Time to take control back. He stepped up to the counter. “Yeah. I need a couple of things.” He lowered his voice and put on what he hoped was his sexiest expression. “I came in to get condoms.”
Once again, amusement flashed on the other man’s face. “No problem. You can leave a donation here.” He shoved a jar forward on the counter.
Adam almost laughed at the pink paper label taped to the front. It read, Condoms—Tip Jar. Still feeling off-kilter, he snipped, “They’re not free?”
“They are. We’re asking for donations because we offer a lot of free stuff here, and it helps offset the cost when people give a little.” He looked Adam up and down. “I’m guessing you’re non-traditional or a graduate student, so maybe you can spare some change.”
Adam sneered, but he reached into his pocket for his wallet. He withdrew a dollar and stuck it in the jar then held out his hand. The other man reached under the counter and came back up with one condom, which he slapped into Adam’s palm.
“You have got to be kidding me. You want me to pay a dollar per condom? I’m going to need more than one,” Adam huffed. “For less than that price, I could buy them at the drug store.”
The man laughed. “I’m messing with you. You’re being a huge dick about making a small donation to the health center, so payback is fair.” He snorted. “Although, look who thinks he’s such a stud. If you need that many, why not buy them at the store?”
“Because I live in student housing, and this is more convenient. If you must know, yes, I have an important date.”
“I’m sure.” The man’s smile was condescending. “Fine.” He reached under the counter again and came up with a handful of condoms. “Enjoy them, with my blessing.”
Adam stuffed them in his pockets, turned around, and stalked out of the health center. No matter how hot that guy was, he was an ass, and Adam didn’t want to stick around for any more of his attitude. He had a date to get ready for, and guaranteed she would be much better company than the self-righteous jerk in the center. Which, of course, was exactly why Adam couldn’t get his handsome face and toned body out of his head.
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Today we’re interviewing AJ from An Act of Devotion. He’s an activist and social justice advocate with a passion for people.
1. What is the best gift you ever gave?
I gave my first girlfriend a locket. I had no idea how to pick out gifts for any girl, let alone one I was dating, but she loved it. Sadly, that relationship didn’t end well because she found out I liked boys, too. But years later, we’re friends again, and she still has the locket.
2. What was your favorite subject in school?
Art. I had a teacher I connected with. He inspired me to do something with my work. I didn’t, but I’d rather not discuss all the reasons why right now.
3. What is the last thing you tell your partner before bed?
Il mio cuore è solo tuo, which is Italian for “my heart is yours alone.” Uh…well, I usually say it, anyway. Sometimes we fall asleep too fast.
4. What is your motto?
You are not alone. I wish I’d known it sooner myself.
5. What is your biggest strength?
I’m good at solving people-problems, and I’m level in a crisis.
Adam Lansing has always hidden his insecurities behind his innate charm. Now he’s starting over with a new school and a new graduate assistant position. Although he still doesn't know what he wants to do with his life, one thing is for sure, he won’t have any problems attracting bedmates.
Antonio "AJ" Mancuso projects cool, calm confidence. However, despite having many close friends surrounding him, he finds himself unable to merge them all together for fear that they won't understand each other. This separation leads to AJ feeling as if he can't completely be himself or he'll never truly be accepted.
From the moment Adam first spots AJ, he decided he needs to get to know him. Unfortunately his normal flirting doesn't work on AJ, instead he's perceived as a cocky jerk. Unable to give up Adam continues his flirting even as he begins to realize it isn't getting him anywhere.
Luckily Adam finds himself thrown together with AJ to work on a school event and AJ begins to see the real Adam. From there they begin a friendship that slowly turns into something more. However, when Adam gets the wrong idea about AJ and another man, his subsequent actions fracture the fragile bond he's beginning to share with AJ. When the truth comes out, will Adam and AJ be able to start over or will AJ's secrets and Adams insecurities destroy them for good?
What I Loved: This is really one of only a few books I've read in which both Main Characters are bisexual without mentioning a preference towards a particular gender and that was refreshing.
The writing is very well done and I liked Adam a lot. Even with his cocky attitude that seemed to backfire whenever he aimed it toward AJ I found him to be quite endearing. He hid his insecurities behind bravado but when he was himself his natural charm made him easy to fall for. While he did end up making mistakes, I felt he was extremely patient and willing to own up to things. He had a romantic side to him that wasn't apparent when we first meet him but seemed very real.
While I didn't love AJ I did like him. I hope this is the beginning of a series because I would like to see him mature more and grow into his own skin.
What I liked: There are a lot of issues addressed in the book, physical and emotional abuse, sexual assault, stigmas towards bisexuals and transgender. All socially relevant topics that many college students face today.
What I didn't like: There was too much going on and I began wondering if I was reading a book in the middle of a series. AJ had a large group of friends, all struggling with major conflicts. At times they truly overshadowed the MCs. There were a lot of instances where the secondary characters took center stage and their own stories were alluded to as if we had already known what had happened to them which was a bit confusing.
I also spend the entire book wondering about AJ's past. It's not until the last few chapters that we learn what has happened to him in his last relationship. Then once we did find out it was almost anticlimactic. So much had already happened I felt almost like his trauma was brushed over.
Would I recommend this book? Yes, however be prepared because this is not a light fluffy read. It's definitely not a story of insta-love, these characters have to work at it. First as friends and eventually as lovers.
Meet the author:
A. M. Leibowitz is a queer spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. Ze keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing about life, relationships, hope, and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, ze blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, books, and hir family.
Where to find the author:
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/UnchainedFaith
Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyunchained @amyunchained
Web site: http://amleibowitz.com
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00OIC158W (A. M. Leibowitz)
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29508991-an-act-of-devotion
Publisher: Supposed Crimes
Tour Dates & Stops:
#2 - 1 package containing a signed print copy plus a bag of Sorrento Spicchi Italian hard candy and a pack of assorted condom varietiesa Rafflecopter giveaway