Troy – Out of the Dark
by J.J. Harper
Rafferty ‘Raff’ McMahon—beaten, broken and cast out of his home at eighteen—turns to his aged aunt who helps him become a new man with a new name. Ten years later, a successful photographer with an edge to his work everyone seems to want, a call that will set his life on a roller coaster ride comes through. Troy Ballantyne, CEO of De’ath of You Enterprises, wants to meet him. Mesmerized by the voice coming down the line, Raff immediately agrees to the meeting.
“Hi, can I speak to Rafferty McMahon?” A deep and seductive voice asks.
“You are.” My reply is short, who the fuck is this? I’m having a horrendous day and, however hot this guy sounds, I want off my phone.
He sets about researching, not the company but the man himself; captivated by Troy’s images, Raff is excited to meet the man behind the sexy drawl.
When Troy sets up a meeting with up-and-coming photographer Rafferty McMahon the last thing he expects is to be drawn to him. A connection he has already experienced once before, his heart beats a little faster. Is this for real?
“What do you want, Troy?” His voice, low and gravelly, sends shivers over my body.
“I don’t know. We have only just met but from the first moment I heard your voice I haven’t been able to stop thinking of you.”
The feeling of ownership overwhelms Troy and as much as he wants to stay locked away with only the memories of Franco, he can’t fight his feelings for this handsome man.
Is this the man Franco told Troy was waiting for him? Is he going to be the great love of his life? Will both Raff and Troy be allowed to be with their one true love, or is there someone out there ready to tear them apart?
This book is a gay M/M romance and include sex between two men, and is recommended for over 18’s. It is book two in a duology and follows on from Troy – Into the Light available now.
Troy’s story hits on a hard subject that may act as a trigger for some.
Returning, I find he has his eyes closed as he rests against the back cushion of his lounger. Without thinking, I reach my hand out and stroke through his hair. Raff’s eyes shoot open; his green eyes darken as his eyes cloud with pure lust. His hand reaches up and grasps hold of my wrist, his thumb stroking the pulse point, making me catch my breath.
“What do you want, Troy?” His voice, low and gravelly, sends shivers over my body.
“I don’t know. We have only just met but from the first moment I heard your voice I haven’t been able to stop thinking of you.” I drop down onto the chair next to him and my free hand moves to his face, my fingers fondling the soft beard.
Raff huffs out a laugh and turns our hands to his mouth, dropping a kiss on my palm. “I’ve been doing the same thing. I have searched the internet for photographs of you, I have read all the interviews you have given. I have told myself over and over that I’m being stupid, but when you turned up to take me from that awful motel, I knew my feelings for you were real. I just didn’t know how to deal with them.” I watch the flash of excitement being followed by the light extinguishing when I say there’s no rush. “I found my boyfriend in bed with another man, we’d been together for two years. I don’t know how to deal with the thoughts I have of you.” Raff admits nervously, making me feel like a shit.
“I’m sorry that happened, Raff. I’m also sorry for coming on to you.” I drop my hand, letting it rest on my knee. As I move to stand, Raff’s hand clasps the back of my neck and pulls me up close to his mouth; I can feel his soft breath against my lips as he exhales. Leaning his forehead against mine, Raff sighs. His nose rubs up against my own as his mouth covers mine in the briefest of kisses.
My tongue slides out and swipes over my lip, trying to capture the flavor of this man’s mouth. “He means nothing to me, whereas you, Troy Ballantyne, seem to be everything.” Raff sighs.
Lowering my head again, I capture his mouth with my own and, for the first time in over three years, my heart beats faster. Nothing more than merely pressing my lips against his has awakened my lust and desire. As my hands travel up his neck and reach to let my fingers tangle in his soft, reddish brown locks, my tongue tentatively touches Raff’s soft, full, bottom lip. This time his taste explodes on my tongue like dark, rich chocolate and I want more. Sliding across the seam of his lips, I feel him part them, allowing me a sliver of access, but his tongue pushes against mine.
“Fuck!” I mumble against his mouth, unable to pull away. This feels entirely too damn good. I dip deeper into his mouth, running my tongue over his teeth before delving into the cavern. Raff’s hand in my hair holds me tightly. Then, as he caresses my tongue with his, I feel my eyes roll back in my head; his taste is like a drug. Suddenly, I feel him drawing back. Shit! Is this not doing it for him? But, as he pulls away, he captures my bottom lip and sucks it, letting his teeth tug on my tender skin. I feel a vibration as Raff groans deeply against my mouth, causing me to match it with my own.
The next kiss is on Raff’s terms as he plunges his tongue inside me, dueling with mine until overpowering me. Sucking my tongue, he releases me and moves his mouth away and down my chin. Scraping his teeth on day-old stubble and moaning as he goes. Continuing his licking and biting, he reaches the spot right below my ear. His mouth stills as he licks my sensitive skin before blowing cool air over the moistened patch. My hands clutch him to me as he moves down to the junction of my neck and shoulder, kissing every part of my skin as I crave ever more.
Pulling his head back up to mine, I plunder his mouth, hot and hard. My lips feel bruised and swollen; I never want this to end but I wrest away to breathe huge gulps of air into my lungs as we gaze at each other. Raff’s chest heaves as much as mine, his lips parted as he pants. Watching his tongue slide over his plump bottom lip, I want to bite it. But I don’t. I lean away, putting some space between us.
The lust-fueled fog dissipates as we continue to study each other almost cautiously—where do we go from here? Am I ready to have him in my bed? As much as I want him, I know I’m not ready for that. Raff’s hands scrub his thighs and then move up to rake through his hair. He pulls the band holding his hair back and, as it falls softly to his shoulder, I smell the lemons and herbs from his shampoo. Inhaling deeply before sighing, my fingers move up and capture a tendril of the still slightly damp hair and rub it between my fingers, reveling in the softness of the curls.
“I love your hair.” The words slip from my mouth before I’m even aware of them. Raff’s eyes widen and he catches hold of my hand, dropping a kiss on my knuckles.
“I’m glad, I’d hate to have to cut it.” He smirks then gathers it back up and ties it again. “Come on, let’s clear up this mess; it’s gotten late and I’ve been awake far too long over the last few days. I need sleep and I’m sure you do, too.”
Troy—Out of the Dark is the conclusion of Troy’s story.
Troy has been grieving for the last two years, trying to get his life back, but he’s unsure he’s ever going to love again after losing Franco. Listening to Rafferty McMahon’s voice over the phone has Troy reevaluating this, though, as he feels a connection with the man even if they’ve never met, which is only confirmed when Raff accepts a job with De’ath of You Enterprises as their photographer.
Raff ran away from his house, bloodied and beaten up by his own father when he was 17. He changed his name when he went to live with his great-aunt who made him the man he is now. His attraction to Troy is instant and neither man can deny the connection they feel, even if they agree to take things slowly. The more time passes, the more their feelings grow for each other, however, there are persons from Raff’s past who aren’t happy with their relationship and will do whatever it takes to break them up.
I loved Raff, he was a great addition to this great cast of characters, fitting great with Ryan, Troy and Nico. While we have insta-love here, too, it’s tempered by the fact Troy is still getting over Franco’s death and Raff getting over his boyfriend cheating on him, so it worked better for me, plus both of them seemed to be on equal footing in this relationship. They were sweet together and had fantastic chemistry. While there were plenty of steamy scenes, J.J. Harper balanced those out with the secondary plotline with Raff’s father, who was eviler than evil and who I hated to bits.
I really enjoyed the paranormal touches in the story, they made sense all things considered. This book is less angsty, but there’s a bit more violence, so proceed with care.
All in all, this was a really good way to end up Troy’s story, giving him the HEA he and Raff deserved and setting things up for the next book in line.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***
Troy – Into the Light Book One
Troy grabs his bags and, shoving in as much of his belongings as he can, he clambers out of his bedroom window. He can hear the shouts and arguments starting up and his name being called. Not able to face his parents, Troy runs away.
How can one chance sighting turn into a love affair you never thought existed outside of a book? That one glance that altered my whole life?
Leaning against the wall of the club, Troy’s eyes are drawn to the dark-haired man dancing fluidly with another man. Their eyes meet and Troy’s life changes in the blink of an eye. Inexplicably drawn to each other, they meet on the dance floor. Tremors course over Troy’s body as the handsome stranger touches him.
“I’ve been waiting for you. I don’t know how or why, but I know that you are mine.” As he leans in, he whispers in my ear, “I’m Franco; I am the man you’ve been waiting for, too.” Troy’s life alters irrevocably in that instant as he falls for the handsome, Italian man.
As they build their life together Troy and Franco discover true love, a love so deep they can’t be apart.
I hold his head against my body and, no longer able to hold back my emotions or my words, I stutter, “I love you,” into his hair as my lips cover his head with kisses. “I love you also, Troy. I never knew such a feeling was possible.” Franco whispers against my chest as I hold him.
When illness strikes, Troy has to discover a new part of himself as he struggles past the pain. A new, stronger, braver man emerges, taking his life in his own hands.
This book is a gay M/M romance and include sex between two men, and is recommended for over 18’s. It is book one in a duology and ends with a lead up for book 2, Troy – Out of the Dark.
Troy’s story hits on a hard subject that may act a trigger for some.
Teaser for Troy – Into the Light
“I find myself so connected to you. When I first caught sight of you I was, I am, mesmerized by you. You are beautiful, Franco,” I smile when I see a blush brighten his olive skin, “it’s true, you are the most amazing man I have ever set eyes on, and, this is where I am confused. I am a lot younger than you; I guess you are at least thirty years old…”
“I’m thirty-two.” Franco interrupts me, a rueful smile flutters on his lips.
“Okay, then you are fourteen years older than me. I don’t know what you see in me, I have no life experience, I’ve run away from my home and have not had any contact with my family for nearly six months. I live in a dingy, damp apartment, I work a poorly paid, dead-end job, but the way you look at me gives me such a feeling of hope. And that confuses me; why me? Out of all the other men in that club tonight did you choose me?”
I dip my head down as Franco drops my hands and stands up. Standing chest to chest, Franco is about three inches taller than me but, because of his muscles, he seems so much larger. Two fingers lift my chin up so I can only look at his face. The thick, long, black eyelashes that hood his, now dark whiskey brown, eyes blink only once as he focuses on me. His fingers leave my chin and move up, softly stroking my cheek. The tips drag down over my clean-shaven jaw to cup my face. I know he’s going to kiss me and I think the anticipation is painful, my tongue darts out and swipes across my dry lips. His eyes darken even further as he follows to path of my tongue; I pull the corner of my lip between my teeth as my nerves begin to overwhelm me. The thought of ducking my head flashes through my mind but I can’t, I’m transfixed in his gaze, caught like a rabbit in the headlights of a speeding car: unable to move.
“No more lip biting, Troy, unless it’s mine your teeth are pulling on.” Franco’s warm breath washes over me and I breathe deeply, capturing the taste of him on my tongue and I sigh.
“Troy, precious, why are you fighting this? We both know we can’t fight destiny and ours are unquestionably connected. So, my love, no more talking.”
This is it, Franco’s right, this is why I’m here…I’m here for him. My eyes start to close as his mouth lowers to mine but I need to see him. We had kissed briefly but passionately in the club but this, this is simply more. So fucking much more.
Franco’s mouth lowers to mine and his lips brush fleetingly across mine as I feel him sigh. “This is our first real kiss, Troy.”
I find myself being held still as his lips begin to explore mine, my eyes lock on his as I watch the lust consume him. But then, as his lips touch mine, my eyes close and I embrace the feeling of awakening; Franco has brought me back to life with only one touch. I tentatively reach my arms out and grasp his hips, but I hate that his robe is in the way and fumble to undo the knot of the belt.
Franco moans into my mouth as my fingers graze over his heated skin and I swallow his as my own sigh breaks from my throat. His tongue slides possessively over the seam of my lips, seeking—no, demanding—entry, as my lips part, my tongue darts out to meet his. This is no battle, no dueling for power, but a simple exchange of passion and eagerness. My hips slam into Franco’s as his hands reach around my head and his fingers knit together with my hair woven between his fingers.
But this is not enough, I want more. My hands creep around Franco’s back and reach down over the firm globes of his ass, kneading and grasping at his cheeks while his tongue controls mine. I can feel the heat rising in my body as his erection slides up my stomach when I clutch his butt harder. His lips are pressed hard against mine but I can still feel the softness as they rub me. Franco’s hands have untangled themselves from my hair and follow the ridges of my spine, slowly his fingers dance over my skin. When his hands reach the waistband of my briefs, I feel him tense, making me try to back away.
“Don’t move, Troy, I just hate the barrier between us. I need to feel your skin on mine. I need your cock free from it restraints so it can rub up against my desperate, aching erection.” Franco’s hands have delved under the elastic and cup my ass. Pushing his hands further down, my briefs start to lower. Leaving his body, my hands grab my waistband and free my aching cock and, pushing my underwear down my thighs till they drop, I step out of them.
“Fuck.” Franco whispers as we rub against each other. Then his mouth is back on mine, possessing, controlling the kiss.
Turning us around Franco walks me backwards to the bed and, when my knees hit the edge, I sit. Breaking our kiss, he leans over me, forcing me to lie down. I scoot further into the middle of the bed and lean up on my elbows, watching him approach me. His eyes are blazing with unadulterated lust and his hands clench in and out of fists as he battles to stop from touching me.
“The years between us mean nothing, your background and family life mean nothing to me other than grateful that it all led you to me. You job is no longer an issue unless you want to carry on working there.” Franco’s eyebrow rises, questioning me; I can only manage to shake my head before he continues. “And your inexperience is a blessing for me, I am now able to show just how good it will be.”
Moving towards me he lies on his side next to me, like as we had been before I freaked out. “So, the only thing I am interested in now is if you still wish to leave?”
Troy runs away from his house after being discovered having sex with his married neighbor and ends up working at an IT call center.
He meets Franco, who is 14 years his senior, when he goes out dancing with his roommate and the attraction between the two is instant, driving them to live together, until a tragic event puts a stop to their love story.
Troy: Into the Light is the first book in this Duology and it’s instalove, as in they see each other across the dance floor and the next day they’re exchanging ‘I love you’s’, going to the doctor to get tested so they can go bareback and moving Troy into Franco’s house. We met Troy in the Reunion trilogy, and I loved him there and I loved him here, as well. He was barely 18 when he met Franco and was swept off his feet by him. Franco was lovely, but the age gap was definitely noticeable and Troy seemed very immature in some instances. However, the chemistry between the two was electric and the sex scenes were hot, even if for me, there was too much of it, sacrificing the plot/character development.
There were some editing issues and some of the time transitions felt choppy, which affected the flow of the book. Still, it was a very good, engaging read, Troy, Franco and Nico are very lovable characters that you’ll root for and learn to care for. Be warned that when the illness referred to on the blurb strikes on the last 30-35% of the story, you’ll need a lot of tissues. I have to confess that was my favorite part, angst-whore that I am I was sobbing my eyes out through most of this portion, so yeah, please stock on the tissues, since you’ll definitely need them.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***
About JJ Harper
I’m J J Harper or Jess to my friends and family. I have a love for hot steamy love stories and write m/m and m/f romances.
I write from my heart more than my head, I sit in my living room typing away, with my dog and a warm fire in the winter, and in the summer, I sit in the garden soaking up the sunshine tapping away on my laptop, still with my dog.
I’m a mother and a wife but tend not to live by those definitions, I have still yet to work out how to act my age!! Lol. And I have no intentions of growing up or growing old gracefully, I am a fiercely loyal friend and love my family and friends hard.
I live in the UK in the quiet Lincolnshire countryside along with my husband and my dog, it’s a peaceful existence which balances out all the crazy that goes on in my head. What would the neighbours think of me???
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