Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Blog Tour ~ See My Words by Melanie Hansen ~ (GuestPost + Giveaway)

Title:  See My Words
Series: Spectrum Nights, book 2
Author: Melanie Hansen
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: April 24
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Female
Length: 101300
Genre: Romance, angst, family drama, friends to lovers, hurt/comfort, model (ish), Photographer/photojournalist, reunited, step brothers


Successful underwear model Scott Ashworth is lucky—his attack at the hands of an unknown assailant will leave no visible scars. His professional goals are still within reach, and best of all, his stepbrother Rylan Mahoney is back in his life, their teenage infatuation at last getting the chance to deepen into something more.

Thrown together by the circumstances of Scott's injury, Rylan's long-dormant feelings for him are quickly rekindled, though he's haunted by the memory of Scott's disappearance on the night of his eighteenth birthday and the six missing years that followed. Rylan pushes Scott for the truth, a firm believer in the maxim that secrets lose their power once they're shared—but resurrecting old demons almost always comes with a price.

Before Scott knows it, his life is spiraling out of control, his toxic insecurities welling up to threaten the fragile relationship he's building with Rylan. Learning to let go of the past and believe in himself will be Scott's greatest challenge, or else he risks losing Rylan forever this time.


See My Words
Melanie Hansen © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Scott stared at the image. All three of his half-brothers were sitting at one of the bar’s high tables, Donna standing behind them with her arms around their shoulders. They were clustered close together, leaning on each other, beaming.

“Whoa, they’re so big. And they look really happy.”

“They are.”

“When was this taken?”

“Right before I moved out here. In fact, I stopped in Pace on the way just to see them.”

Scott tore his eyes away from the picture to stare at Rylan. “So you’re still in touch with them? With the boys?”

Rylan nodded. “I am, yeah. We’re friends on Facebook, and we text sometimes. They’re great kids.”

Scott was silent for a moment. “What about the baby? Cara? Is she—”

“Still with Heather? Yes.” Rylan’s voice was soft. “The picture you saw that first day in my apartment? That was the last time I saw them, when I went up to visit Cara before finals.”

“So you talk to—her? Heather, I mean.”

“Sometimes. Not often.” Rylan touched the scar on his cheek almost absently, and his eyes took on a haunted look. “When she and my dad split up, Scott, it was…ugly.”

Scott’s stomach roiled, and the puree he’d just drunk surged back into his throat. He grasped Rylan’s wrist, drawing his startled glance.

“Did Heather give you that scar?” he demanded. “That fucking bitch—”

Rylan gasped. “No!” he exclaimed. “She’s never, ever touched me.”

Scott released him, studying the scar before tracing it lightly with his thumb. It was high on Rylan’s cheekbone, small, but white and jagged.

“You can’t tell me that’s always been there, Ry. I would have noticed it before.” Would have noticed it back when he used to map every inch of Rylan’s face with his lips as they lay entangled together in his narrow bed. “Who did this?”

A pause. “My dad.”

The answer was so unexpected that Scott reared back in disbelief. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he croaked. “Bob—hit you? Bob?” He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. Gentle Bob, who adored his son beyond reason, hit Rylan so hard he’d left a fucking scar? “What the hell happened?”

Rylan wrapped his arms around himself, hunching over. “While my dad was gone on one of his over-the-road jobs, Heather went out with her friends one night, got drunk, and brought home a man. But this time the dude didn’t fuck and run; he stayed for the weekend.”

“Holy shit. And your dad caught them.” Scott’s voice was hushed.

Rylan gave a jerky nod. “He walked in on them, in bed. I could hear them through the wall, and I’ll never forget the anguish in his voice as he demanded to know what exactly it was he was seeing. Heather was pleading with him, and the other guy was trying to tough it out. Lots of yelling, lots of crying—”

Rylan surged to his feet and started to pace. “The other dude finally left, and my dad and Heather kept fighting. I could hear them in the living room. I was gonna stay the fuck out of it until I heard Cara crying. So I went out there.”

Rylan’s chin trembled, but he pressed his lips together, breathing hard through his nose until he regained some control. “Heather was on the couch bawling, and Cara was wrapped around her leg. My dad was losing it, and when he saw me, he got up in my face. ‘Has this happened before, Rylan?’ I had no fucking clue what to say, and I guess my hesitation was his answer, because the next thing I knew, I was on the floor, my cheek on fire.”

He touched the scar, his eyes awash with the tears he was refusing to let fall. Scott ached to take him in his arms, but instead he jammed his hands in the loose pockets of his sweatpants, his fists clenched.

“My dad stood over me and screamed, ‘How many times? Why didn’t you tell me?’ He just kept saying that,” Rylan went on hollowly. “I had a cut on my cheek from a ring he was wearing. Blood was everywhere, dripping from my chin, getting in my mouth—” He licked his lips as if remembering the rusty taste on them. “—and all I could do was say, ‘I’m sorry, Dad.’”

“Jesus.” Scott’s curse was heartfelt.

“He was hurting, Scott, looking for someone to blame, and I was there. I was right there.”

“Why the fuck didn’t he blame the one who deserved to be blamed?” Scott snarled, taking his hands out of his pockets and slamming them down onto the couch cushions.

“He told me later that blaming her was too much like blaming himself, that he didn’t want to think about it being his fault. He wanted it to be someone else’s fault, even mine. After he hit me, he left and drove away. Heather helped me up, washed the blood off my face, and glued the gash shut with this liquid skin stuff she had. She wasn’t crying anymore, and she seemed really calm. It helped me calm down.”

His shoulders were so bunched and tense Scott couldn’t help but get up to put his hand on Rylan’s back, gratified when he seemed to take comfort in the soothing touch.

“What happened then?” he whispered, stroking the nape of Rylan’s neck with his thumb.

A quiver ran through Rylan’s body. “She put Cara to bed, and then we sat out on the porch together the rest of the night. Sometimes quiet, sometimes talking a little.” He heaved a sigh. “I think she really loved my dad, Scott, but for some reason couldn’t keep herself from sabotaging everything. She was devastated, but at the same time seemed almost relieved it was over, as weird as that sounds.”

When you don’t feel you deserve anything nice in your life, it scares you to death when you actually get it. It was a feeling Scott was all too familiar with, and he winced as an unwilling sympathy for Heather churned in his gut. He didn’t want to feel sorry for her, didn’t want to—understand her.

He shoved the thought away, concentrating instead on what Rylan was saying.

“We didn’t see my dad for about a week. Heather seemed okay on the outside, but I could tell she was slowly falling apart on the inside. I recognized the signs.” A shadow flitted over his face, and he clenched his hands into fists. “My own mom, you know? I couldn’t go through that again, and I felt so fucking helpless, so I went to Donna.”

Scott gave a quiet snort. “That woman is a force of nature.”

Rylan quirked his lips. “That she is. She drove over to the trailer, packed up the kids’ stuff, and took all four of them to her house. Told Heather they’d be safe until she got her shit together. She didn’t protest it, didn’t fight. When my dad came for me after a few more days, I left with him. Left her alone.”

“You’d done all you could, Ry. You know that, right?”

“I left without a backward glance,” Rylan said bluntly. “I was so fucking drained. By you, by her…”

Scott flinched, but Rylan went on, “My dad needed me. I walked away so I could save what was left of my strength for him.” His face was expressionless. “And for myself. I’d gotten a full scholarship to the University of Miami, but there was still a third of my senior year to go. I needed to concentrate on my grades and my own future. You were gone, the kids were safe with Donna, and there was nothing else I could do for Heather.”

The sun shimmered off the nearby buildings and bounced in through the windows, hurting Scott’s eyes and making him feel light-headed.

You should have been there, you stupid fuck.

As if reading his mind, Rylan murmured, “You being there wouldn’t have changed a thing, Scott. Heather would have still done what she did. You know that. It was only a matter of time.”

“But if I’d been there, maybe I could have deflected Bob’s anger onto me. Could have taken that blow for you, saved you that heartache at least.”

So much fucking heartache.

Rylan’s face softened. “It is what it is, Scott. Your mantra, remember?”

“Fuck mantras. I should have been there.” He slid his hand down to Rylan’s shoulder. “Were you and your dad okay, after what happened?”

“Yeah. He got us a tiny apartment not far from the school. It took a while, but we got everything sorted out. By the time he—died, we were more than okay.”

Scott relaxed a fraction. “Good,” he whispered hoarsely. “That’s good.”

Rylan patted Scott’s hand once before releasing him. “Ugh, I guess I’d better go take a shower, get ready for the club. There’s a big bachelorette party tonight, and Corey wants lots of pictures.”

“Yeah, okay.” Scott wiped a stray tear away with rough impatience. “If you need to go—”

“Can I take your car, or do you need it? I don’t mind taking the bus.”

Scott started to tell him to take the car, but the thought of the long, lonely night stretching before him made him say impulsively, “If you can wait a few minutes, I’ll drive you. Maybe stay for a drink.”

Rylan lifted an eyebrow. “Really? That’d be great. I know everyone would love to see you. People are always asking me how you’re doing.”

Scott didn’t know how true that was, given how silent his phone had been for the past three weeks, but he didn’t say anything, just headed for the shower. Afterward he pulled on a pair of jeans and an aqua-green silk T-shirt, standing in front of his full-length mirror and looking himself over, suddenly unsure.

“You’re beautiful as ever, Scott.” Rylan’s quiet voice came from the doorway.

“No. I don’t feel like myself at all.” Scott tugged at the loose material of his shirt, a shirt that used to mold itself to his ripped torso like it was painted on. “Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. People don’t need to see—”

Rylan came behind him and put his hand on Scott’s shoulder. “You’ll be the most gorgeous man in the room. Trust me.”

Their eyes met in the mirror, and Scott gave him a shaky smile. “I think you’re biased.”

Rylan chuckled. “I’m a photographer. I can’t be biased.” His voice was gently teasing. “Don’t believe me?”

Scott shrugged, and Rylan reached out and threaded their fingers together. “The camera doesn’t lie, Scott. Let me show you.” He turned to walk out of the room, tugging Scott after him and making a quick stop to snag his camera from the couch before leading him to the balcony.

The sun was low in the sky now, bathing everything around them in a soft, golden glow.

The camera whirred, and Rylan glanced at the screen, making a few quick adjustments before starting to shoot in earnest. Scott lost himself in Rylan’s quiet directions, first leaning back against the railing and then turning to prop his elbows on it while he gazed into the distance.

“Here, come see.” Rylan beckoned to him, and Scott walked over to gaze down at the digital screen in awe. The waning light kissed his face, throwing his cheekbones into sharp relief, the light scruff on his chin emphasizing his full lips. The soft green of his T-shirt reflected the fading radiance of the sun and made his eyes stand out like jewels.

“No filter, Scott. Just you. And you’re fucking gorgeous.”

Scott quirked his lips in a rueful smile. “You probably think I’m the vainest son of a bitch you’ve ever met, don’t you?”

“Never. There’s nothing wrong with needing some reassurance, especially after the trauma you’ve been through.” Rylan held up the camera. “I can tell you you’re beautiful, but sometimes you just have to see the words. See what I see.”

The lump in Scott’s throat threatened to choke him. “Sweet Ry,” he whispered. “Thank you.”

They smiled at each other, and Scott leaned in. Rylan lifted his face for the kiss, his lips parted, but Scott turned his head so his mouth grazed Rylan’s temple instead.

“Let’s go to the club.”


NineStar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

These days I’m writing on an iPad Pro.  It’s amazing, and I love it.  I also have a Toshiba laptop, but I’m using the iPad almost exclusively now.  

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Oh wow, that totally varies.  One of my books only took about eight weeks, and this current book has taken me over a year.  I think it depends on life stressors, and quality time to write, so many things.  I can’t imagine I’ll ever be considered prolific.

Do you ever get writer’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?

I do get writer’s block, and I’ve found it’s definitely situational.  If things are rough in my personal life, I don’t find writing to be an outlet or a stress relief like I’ve seen others say.  Things need to be on a pretty even keel personally and emotionally before I can be productive.  Long walks with music is my therapy of choice, whether I’m blocked or just needing an outlet.  I do my best story planning on my walks, too.

4.5 Stars

I'll be honest, this is one of the reasons I dislike cliffhangers so much. When I started this book, I had to go back and read my review of Pieces of Me and then the blurb and eventually, someone else's Goodreads review of See My Words, before I was able to remember how the previous book had ended and get my bearings to somewhat comfortably start understanding what was happening.

This book starts up right where Pieces of Me left off. Scott is attacked outside of the club and ends up in the hospital. This could inevitably end up costing him the MC2 job. Rylan is there to take Scott home when he's released from the hospital and care for him until he gets back on his feet. Over the next couple of months, Scott and Rylan rekindle not only the friendship they shared as teenagers, but they also give into the attraction they still harbor for one another.
I absolutely loved book one in this series and was really looking forward to the continuation of Rylan and Scott's story, but unfortunately, as a blogger I read so much, that it's sometimes hard to remember what happened in the previous book, so it took some time for me to get into this book. It's not that it wasn't a well-written and interesting story, it was the fact that I was so lost in the beginning. Not only did I not really remember how the previous book had ended, but this story has quite a few major secondary characters. It took some time to re-acclimate myself with them and remember who they were and what roles they played.

Okay, now let's talk about Scott and Rylan. While I understood and felt for both Scott and Rylan, I really wanted to throw something at Scott's head!! He was such a twat. I know he is damaged and has to learn to accept that he is worthy of love, but he pushed and pulled Rylan back and forth so much, I thought Rylan would end up with whiplash. And Rylan, I get why he kept coming back for more and refusing to be pushed away, but that can only happen so many times before you are perceived as a doormat.

But even with all that, Melanie managed to write an amazing story that took me on an emotional rollercoaster. This story made me want to cry, swoon, laugh, yell and throw things. This book is loaded with angst and I sat on the edge of my seat waiting to see if Scott and Rylan would get their happy ending. The author manages to recapture the chemistry that was there in the first part of Scott and Rylan's story. And the sex! The sexual tension was palpable and the sex was off the charts hot! **fans self**

There was a situation that happens in this book that I didn't care for. I understood why the author felt it was needed, but I feel like the person that should have initiated the reconciliation didn't, and that made the conclusion a tad disappointing.

All in all, this was a well-written and well paced story, but I really wish the ending had felt a bit more solid. Everything that needed to be said was said, but I was left feeling a little underwhelmed and wishing that the ending had left me feeling more secure in Scott and Rylan's future. There were also other relationships that were left unresolved, so I'm really hoping this isn't the last we've seen of Scott and Rylan. Very recommendable!!

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement

5 Stars 

A continuation of Pieces of Me that will have you smiling and feeling warm inside.

This book picks up where PoM ends, with Scott injured and his life seemingly going down the pan. Rylan is at his side, but Scott finds out who his friends are and how fickle his life and world are. He reverts to type in his pain and he lashes out at Ry, who sees behind his facade to the vulnerable guy behind, but things are not easy for them, and had Ry not been so confident and sure of himself and of Scott's love, he could easily have walked.

Scott isn't very likable for much of the tale, lashing out at Ry, despite loving him and seeing Ry's love, because he feels he's not worthy of him. There is so, so much pain in Scott that comes out in a painful read. But, Ry and his love are steadfast and Scott slowly learns to find himself, purge himself of his hate, resentment and demons, lashing out at the one he loves most. The leads know each other inside out, and Ry sees the good in Scott, but there's a lot that needs to come out and be dealt with before the guys can reach their HEA. There are some very sweet moments in this, too, including Scott reconnecting with...things from his past and healing emotionally.

There's quite a lot of sex in this tale and yes, it is hot and it is sexy, but the leads aren't yet ready for their HEA until the end of the tale and they enjoy some fun times. MH describes the guys as being sex positive - which I had to read up and put into context. It's a contemp tale, and MH has kept it realistic.

The ending? What the guys deserved, with Scott having found several meaningful somethings, culminating in believing himself worthy of Ry, and believing in them and that he does deserve the first guy he ever loved, and who loved him back unreservedly, without demands and without pressure. This is another amazing tale from MH.

ARC courtesy of Ninestar Press and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

Meet the Author

Melanie Hansen has spent time in Texas and Florida prisons…for work. She’s been in a room with a 17-year-old mass murderer who was also one of the most soft-spoken and polite teenagers she’s ever met. After a 13-year career as a court reporter, she can tell many stories both hilarious and heartbreaking. She grew up with an Air Force dad, and ended up marrying a Navy man. After living and working all over the country, she hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to her stories about people finding love amidst real-life struggles. Melanie left the stressful world of the courtroom behind and now enjoys a rewarding career transcribing for a deaf student. She currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.

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