Audio Tour ~ Wood by A.E. Via (Reviews + Excerpt)

Wood: A True Lover’s Story

AE Via

M/M Romance

Audio Date: 10.20.20

Listening Length: 10hrs and 14 mins

Narrator: Tor Thom

Publisher: Tantor


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 angsty, age gap, new-to-love romance.

Universal Link:



Wood sat uncomfortably in the weak aluminum chair in front of the halfway house director’s desk trying not to bear all his weight down on it. He was sure the flimsy thing had a hundred and fifty pound weight capacity restriction. Wood braced his elbows on his knees reaching for yet another document he had to sign.

Yes, I will report to my parole officer. No, I will not do illegal drugs. No, I won’t engage in any criminal activity. Yes, I will remain in an AA program. No, I will not try to contact my victims. Signed. Agreed. Now can I please just get the hell out of here already? As if the director heard his thoughts, he gave Wood a tight smile.

“One more form and I swear that’s it.” He chuckled loudly which quickly morphed into a rattling cough. “You got a place lined up, don’t ’cha?”

“Yeah,” Wood mumbled.

Mr. Mannis had to finish his hacking before he was able to accept the final form. He skimmed over Wood’s answers then glanced at him over the rim of his reading glasses. “I see your new place is in Norfolk.”

Wood didn’t answer noting those words weren’t posed as a question. He knew the expression Mr. Mannis wore. Norfolk could be a rough city and it’s also where Wood had gotten into trouble. He was advised to avoid certain places and types of people. He didn’t roll his eyes in irritation but he’d already been through this with his parole officer. Instead he listened quietly while he stared down at the three trash bags totaling his entire life’s possessions.

“And employment?”

Wood rubbed his hand over his beard before dropping his arm back to his thigh. He stared at the colorful ink wrapped around his forearm, his ink, his designs. “Yeah, I’m gonna stay on with the temp agency. It’s kept me with steady work so…”

Mr. Mannis nodded, and continued to stare at him for a long moment as if he had some kind of telepathic ability. “You know I’ve watched you around the house over the past several months and you seem to stay to yourself. Quiet. Didn’t make any friends… or enemies. You avoided the bullshit that goes on.” He glanced down at the folder. “I read your record, Mr. Wood. And I gotta tell ya, the man that’s lived under this roof the last six months doesn’t seem like the same man that did the things listed here.”

“But he did,” Wood gritted out.

The director cocked his head to the side and Wood held his glare with his own. “You still drink?”

“No.” And more fucking staring.

“The man on this paper sounds violent, angry and quick to-”

“The man on that paper did what he had to do to survive prison all right? And I heard you been doing this job long enough to know that.”

“I have,” Mr. Mannis snarled, leaning forward. “And I also know a man doesn’t do the kind of time you did and come out fine, come out as composed as you’re putting on.”

Wood got to his feet. “I never said I was fine, because you never asked how I was doing. But it doesn’t matter what you think you know. You don’t know me. And I’ve done the required sessions already. So, if you’ll excuse me I don’t wanna keep my ride waiting.”

Mr. Mannis rocked back in his creaky chair. “I hope I never see you again, Mr. Wood.”

“Just Wood. And I can make sure that happens for you.” Wood left the stifling office with his bags slung over his shoulders.

The cold December air felt good against his heated face as he stepped out the doors of his residence for the last five and half months. No more check-ins, bunk-partners, curfews, and a shit-ton of other rules he no longer had to adhere to. He hurried down the steps to the end of the long driveway finally feeling like a some-what free man. He’d gone from being told what to do every day for seventeen years in prison only to be released to Mr. Mannis’ mansion of rules and regulations. He glanced back at the large Victorian-style home, then towards the long street that led out of the city towards the interstate. He almost stumbled at the realization of what that long stretch of road meant. He was on his own now and shit was about to get serious. There was no one to tell him what to do and when to do it, and he admitted that fact scared the shit out of him. But his good friend Bishop Stockley did it and he heard he was getting by all right.



4 Stars!

I really liked Wood. My heart broke for everything he’d gone through and what he was still dealing with. I felt it was all realistically dealt with, especially the encounters that led to his relapse. I liked Trent, but his insecurities got old really fast. I get being jealous of Adam, Wood’s ex-fiancé, and maybe even Brody, but Rayne? Especially when this was in the epilogue and they were supposedly a strong couple by then. *sighs* Other than that, though, I felt that even if there was a big age difference between them, it really didn’t play as much of a factor in their relationship, as Trent’s jealousy did. They had great chemistry, even if everything developed a bit too fast for my liking, and they were really hot together, which is a given in all of Ms. Via’s books.

While I haven’t read/listened to Bishop, I really liked him and Ely, they were great friends for both Trent and Wood. 

Regarding the narration, Tor Thom did a good job portraying all the feelings AE Via conveys and gave all the characters a distinctive voice. 

Wood was a good, solid audiobook overall, even if Trent kind of ruined it for me with his bratty behavior, he came through for Wood and supported him when it counted, so there’s that. I’m really intrigued by Mike and Rayne, so I’m looking forward to the next book in the series. 


~ * ~ Amys Review ~ * ~

Overall: 4 Stars
Narrator: 4 Stars
Story: 4 Stars

Wood is a book that is going to break your heart just a little bit. Alcoholism a devil of a disease. It doesn’t care who it pummels in its path to destroying the person battling it. Unfortunately for Wood, someone was fatally hurt from his battle with the bottle. When he is released from prison, life brings him to a trailer, where he finds out he has a roommate, and this man is just as broken as he is.

This story involves two imperfect characters, trying to find their way in the world after life has dumped a ton of baggage in their laps. They do not hit it off at first, and I can’t say that once their relationship goes from hate to….more, that it gets better. There’s just a lot of layers to their inner pain. Trent suffers from massive bouts of jealousy, and it definitely hinders the growth their relationship can take. I felt like it was a tad overdone, but that could easily just be me. It wasn’t pretty, but this wasn’t a touchy-feely kind of love story. This was dark, deep, and real on a lot of levels.

This is book two of the series, but easily can be listened to as a stand-alone. We see characters from the previous book and are introduced to the main characters in the upcoming book. While I still feel that the Nothing Serious series is A.E. Via’s best body of work, this series is well done. I don’t think you can really compare both series to each other. They are different, and that’s the beauty of it.

Tor Thom is a fairly new narrator to me. I’ve heard his name recommended several times before, but this is the first of his work that I have listened to. I felt like he did a good job with the emotional portrayal of these characters. I listen to my books at a speed between 1.5-1.8 depending on the narrator’s voice. His was perfect, in my opinion, at an 1.7 speed.  

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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