Release Blitz ~ Wood: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via (Review + Excerpt)


Wood: A True Lover’s Story

AE Via

M/M Romance

Release Date: 08.08.20



It’s been a long seventeen years but Herschel Wood Jr. is finally a free man and he’s looking forward to reconnecting with his old cellmate, Bishop Stockley, who promised him a place to stay and some help getting back on his feet. Wood had a good life once upon time when he’d owned one of the most successful tattoo shops on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront – until a fatal accident that was his fault cost him everything.

Now at forty-six years old, all Wood wants is to work in another shop on the beach and find a mature, easygoing man to settle down with. But when he gets to his new place and finds he has to share the small trailer with Bishop’s childhood friend, he wasn’t expecting a sexy, smart-mouthed brat that enjoys pushing a man to his limits.

Wood pressed in tight until there was only misunderstanding between them, his mouth mere inches from Trent’s parted lips. “You wanted to get a reaction out of me you annoying, immature little shit… now you’ve got one.”

Trent Armstrong has never been considered a catch. He’s a twenty-nine year old laborer, an ex-con, and not the easiest person to get along with. He’s used to being the one people cast to the side when they’re done with him. Everyone he’s ever cared about has walked out of his life without a backward glance, so he’s used to the loneliness. His foul mouth and quick temper are a great defense mechanism and an easy way to hide his hurt.

From the moment the tattooed, silver-haired man walked into the house there had been nothing but tension, side-eyeing, and sparks between them. Trent has always held back a side of himself that he’s terrified to explore, and without warning Wood’s voice, his maturity, that maddening scent, and even his damaged past all trigger feelings that Trent thought he’d buried deep long ago.

Trent went completely still when Wood dragged his nose over his forehead and down the side of his face. His voice was shaky, and his breaths were hot and swift along Wood’s throat. “What the hell are you doing?”

“I’m doing what you want me to do.” Wood whispered. “I’m playing your bullshit game, Trent.”

The True Lover’s Stories are connected standalones. Each title features a different couple but will contain previously mentioned characters.

No multiple pairings. No cliffhanger. Ends with a HEA.

Note: This is a steaming agnsty, age gap, new-to-love romance.

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Well, well, well. What do I have here? Wood sat across from Trent at the small dining table while Mike went over some important particulars in his one-page lease. Wood knew he should be paying attention, but he liked the way he kept catching Trent trying to steal a glance in his direction. Of all the stories he’d heard of the hot-tempered, quick-to-whup-a-man’s-ass Trent, he didn’t picture him with thick, peach lips or piercing, warm brown eyes that he kept shielded by a slight frown.

He was fascinating.

Wood kinda wished Bishop would’ve told his family a little more about him instead of leaving them guessing…and eventually surprised. That meant they also didn’t know why the government thought he deserved to lose seventeen years of his life. Great. “Wood, your room is already furnished. That’s your own space. The living room and kitchen you’ll both share. However you want to split the groceries is between you two. The second bathroom has some pipe problems, so you guys will have to share the bathroom in the hall until I can get it fixed. You’ll divide the utilities half and half, and the rent is due on the first of the month, it’s late on the tenth. Don’t make me hunt your asses down for my money either.”Mike spun the paper in Wood’s direction and pointed for him to sign under Trent’s name. “Everything seem copacetic?”

“Yep. Looks standard.” Wood had no clue what a typical lease looked like these days, but he signed it anyway. He had a roof over his head that didn’t include an overseer and a room he didn’t have to bolt to keep out thieves. Mike’s terms were fair; he didn’t seem like a conniving bastard. And if he was anything like his son, he was probably a damn decent guy. When Bishop told him that his dad was only fifteen years older than him and more like one of the guys than a father figure…he hadn’t been exaggerating.

Mike stood when they were finished with business and shook Wood’s hand again. “I wish there was another way I could thank you for what you did for my boy in prison. I know how hard he struggled when he and Trent got separated. Thank you. Thank you for being there for him when I couldn’t. You’re a good man.”

Wood was surprised at the sudden seriousness, and he struggled with receiving such high praise. He accepted the handshake with a tight nod, and Mike added, “We’re in our off-season at work, but let me know if you need some extra income around the spring. I’m sure I can get you on one of the crews.”

Trent hummed his agreement. “I’m sure I’ll have room on my crew this summer. If he can hack it.”

Wood’s eyes were locked on Trent. Is he trying to bait me? How cute.

Mike walked past the back of Trent’s chair and popped him in the back of the head. “Night, asshole. Thanks for the beers.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll just deduct it from your rent, you irritating piece of—”

“Trent!” Bishop barked. “Why don’t you show Wood around and tell him where his room is.”

Trent gave Bishop an incredulous glare, and Wood had to hold back the chuckle that threatened to escape. Besides, he had a feeling his new roommate didn’t like to be laughed at. Bishop said it might take a minute to get Trent to loosen up to the idea of them living together, but he was thinking it might take a lot longer than that.

Trent got up and motioned for Wood to follow him while Bishop pretended to be busy watching Edison stir the chicken stew. Trent pointed out the utility room, the hall bathroom, the closet, and linen closet. At the end of the short hallway, Trent leaned against the wall and pointed to a room with the door already open. “That’s you.”He thumbed over his shoulder. “This is me.”

“You always keep your door shut that tight?”Wood asked, noticing how close they had to stand in the confined space.

Trent scoffed. “Is there a reason you want it open?”

Wood couldn’t stop himself from staring. Damn, he liked the way Trent worded that, liked how loaded it was with suggestion whether the man realized it or not. “No. No reason at all.”


4.25 Stars!

Trent is none too pleased to be getting a new roommate. His best friend, Bishop, has moved in with his boyfriend and has offered his old cellmate, Wood, a place to stay with Trent. Wood is just trying to get himself back on his feet after being in prison for so long. He’s looking for redemption and forgiveness as well as getting his life back on track. What he doesn’t need is a smart-mouthed, brat in his face all the time.

I wondered after reading Bishop why Trent was so defensive all the time. It becomes clear in this story why. I really felt for him, but was glad that he had so many people in his corner, if he would just let them in. His defensiveness is a shield, but also keeps him from seeing what he has around him in friends and family. I loved that Wood was able to see that underneath the bravado and defensiveness. Trent is definitely a really good guy who is still sorting out who he is and what he wants, but if you earn his loyalty, he won’t leave your side.

Wood is a bit of an enigma initially. Bishop always talked him up, but it’s clear that like any other human, Wood has his issues as well. While Trent initially annoys him, he starts to see underneath all the layers to a person he wants to know and spend time with. I loved how they slowly moved into spending time together and eventually dating. I felt so bad for Wood when he tried to make amends. While we got some of the story by then, I was even more angry for how his family treated him after Wood’s ex comes and finds him. The real story of the night that changed Wood’s life made me angry at all those that should have had Wood’s back.

Wood and Trent were really good for each other. I was happy and amazed at the level of care that Trent went to with Wood. I loved that it took them a while to move forward with their attraction into a relationship. I loved seeing how protective Mike, Bishop’s dad, was of Trent. While at first glance, Trent and Wood didn’t seem like they would be compatible, I can’t imagine them with anyone else now. They were made for each other.

*** Copy provided to me by the author for my reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. ***


~ * ~ Annies Review ~ * ~

3.5 stars

I have mixed feelings after reading this title. There were many things I enjoyed about the hurt-comfort romance, but other elements that didn’t quite work for me. Overall, Wood was a good read and I liked the cast of characters.

Wood is the second book in the True Lover’s Story series but can be read as a standalone as I did. I’m always game for a high angst, hurt-comfort romance and judging by the blurb, Wood promised to be just that. I liked that both main characters were down-on-their-luck, hardworking men who were trying to set their lives to rights. Neither Wood nor Trent was your typical romantic hero, and I always appreciate something that sets each story apart these days. I also really liked how much Trent and Wood supported one another through all the difficult or trying moments they faced over the course of the book. Their connection felt natural and easy, and their romance was really sweet.

What didn’t work for me was the quick jump from Wood and Trent tormenting one another to wanting each other. Though there were definite hints of an underlying attraction on both sides, the move was a bit too swift for my liking. I would have preferred a gradual shift so I could watch and feel those feelings between Trent and Wood develop at a more natural pace. This was especially a sticking point with Trent never being with or even attracted to another man before. Unfortunately, I think the quick transition from unwilling roommates to lovers ended up keeping me from fully connecting with the story. All that said, if you don’t mind a bit of insta-love and do enjoy hurt-comfort themes mixed with sweet romances, I would recommend Wood. I definitely think this universe and the cast of secondary characters offer a wide and interesting variety that is worth looking into if these are your tropes of choice.

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


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A.E. Via has been a best-selling author in the beautiful gay romance genre for six years now, but she’s no stranger to MM. She’s been an avid reader of gay literature for over twenty years before she picked up her laptop to place her own kiss on this genre. She’s also the founder and owner of Via Star Wings Books, having published a couple great, new up and coming MM authors.

A.E. has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from Virginia Wesleyan College that she used to start her own paralegal firm after she graduated in 2008. She spent five years preparing and filing bankruptcy petitions for struggling blue collar workers who couldn’t afford to file with a lawyer. It was a rewarding and satisfying career… but another path called to her.


A.E.’s novels embodies everything from hopelessly romantic to adventure, to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

She’s recently celebrated her 20th book anniversary, and is well-known for her hardcore, love hard, bad boy, alphas. However, she does like to push herself to step out of her comfort zone, exploring different tropes. She’s head over heels for gay romance and she has tons of more hot stories to tell.

Be sure to visit Adrienne on her social media pages and subscribe to her newsletter to never miss another release date! Go to A.E. Via’s official website for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peek at upcoming work, free reads, VSWB submissions, and where she’ll appear next.


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