Review Tour ~ Stronghold by Ana Ashley (Excerpt)


Purchase here →
Add to Goodreads →
Series Page →

About the Book:

The last place Judson wants to be is back home in Burlington, living with his mother. Not so long ago he was a world-class chef with the lifestyle to prove it. Now he’s serving drinks and flying under the radar until he can get the hell out again. But when his childhood best friend reenters his life, looking finer than any entree at a Michelin five-star restaurant, he wonders if it’s time to update his menu of life choices.

Working through past wounds with Skyler won’t be easy, though–especially with a reality-show television camera following (not quite) their every move. When their loyalty is tested, will their newly built stronghold be sturdy enough to withstand the storm?

Stronghold is a sweet and sexy romance for childhood friends to lovers, with some creative use of maple syrup and a TV crew determined to keep appearing out of nowhere.

“If you’ve got your flirting game on, the new bartender is H.O.T.,” Wyatt says.

I look at Carter, who nods. “He has this sexy kind of European vibe going on.”

And now I know how their earlier conversation got started.

I scan the bar but don’t see anyone I don’t already know. Then again, it’s pretty busy out there.

Someone steps away from the bar area with a tray of drinks, and I immediately take their place. All the bartenders are busy, so I look around to inspect this evening’s crowd.

A glass breaks somewhere behind the bar, taking my attention from the crowd waiting to be served to the clumsy bartender on the far end from where I’m standing.

He must be the new guy because I know I’d recognize that ass if I’d seen it before. Scrap that. I’d have tapped it. My eyes scan the rest of him, taking the time to appreciate his slim body from behind.

His dark jeans hug his ass perfectly, and his thighs…damn, those thighs look strong and…fuck. My dick responds to the way he moves as he’s crouching to pick up the glass from the floor.

The dark button-down shirt is loose on him, and I wonder if it’s a standard V&V-issued shirt because a guy that wears those jeans wouldn’t possibly choose to wear anything but a fitted shirt.

He washes his hands after disposing of the glass and then runs them through his dark-blond hair. I wonder if, in the light of day, his hair is actually a lighter shade.

Turn around, baby. Let me see your face.

And as if the god of horny gay single men is listening to my prayers, the guy turns around. He looks flustered and annoyed.

There’s something about him I can’t put my finger on, but it doesn’t take me long to figure out what it is. Why he looks so familiar.

When he looks up, and his eyes meet mine, my body locks up in shock. I close my eyes and open them again because this isn’t happening. I must be dreaming while awake.

I smile, wanting to jump over the counter to touch him. It’s the only way to be sure, but he looks as though he’s seen a ghost.

One of the other bartenders bumps against him, making him jolt and take a side step.

I smile at him, and that’s when I see the very slight shake of his head as I call to him before he runs to the staff area behind the bar.


~ * ~ Amys Review ~ * ~

4.25 Stars

Man, this series is a lot of fun, and this book doesn’t deviate from that. It’s a great edition and can easily be read as a standalone. You will see familiar faces, but they aren’t major plot points and are fun to see.

Skyler and Judson went from childhood friends to enemies, and this is their story of forgiveness and finding their HEA. I liked how they were able to communicate after all the years apart, especially since it all stems from miscommunication.

This was a sweet and enjoyable story, with likable characters and an easy-to-follow storyline. I would definitely recommend it.

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


~ * ~ Maris Review ~ * ~

3.75 Stars

This was another entertaining (for the most part) addition to the V&V series, and it can be perfectly read as a standalone.

I was really liking Sky and Jud, they had amazing chemistry and I was loving the story, despite the fact that the tv cameras part of the blurb wasn’t as prevalent as I would’ve wished. In fact, Stronghold could’ve easily been a 4.5 Stars read if it hadn’t been for something that happened in the last 10% of the book, that ruined the book for me… the dreaded contrived drama I could’ve totally done without. *sighs*

Ana Ashley is a talented author and up until that moment, I was completely enthralled in the story. Sky and Jud were really good together and the childhood friends to sort of enemies to lovers was well done. I’m sure a lot of readers won’t have my hang-ups and will enjoy this book, LOL, and really, if you’ve read the other books in this series, you definitely need to try this one out as well.

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