Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway:
Finley Embraces Heart And Home
By Anyta Sunday
Love, Austen (Book 4)
For years it’s been just Finley and Mum. Now she’s getting married, and they’re moving into a flash mansion and his step-dad is lording it over him. He’s clearly a homophobe, and doesn’t want him rubbing off (so to speak) on his son.
Like that would ever happen. No way he’d ever go for someone who shares his DNA.
Even if Ethan and his dad don’t look anything alike.
Even if Ethan and his dad don’t act anything alike.
Even if . . .
This can’t happen. They’re whānau now, family, there are boundaries.
Secret. Forbidden. Irresistible.
A reimagining of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.
― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
Red brick and shingles and intricate white latticework.
Someone is up on the turret, looking down on us. I can’t stare back long against the glare of the sun. Male, sports cap.
Mum loads a duffel bag into my arms.
She takes the last two suitcases of our clothes—in mine, the picture of Dad—from her fender-bent hatchback. This is all we’ve got.
Mansfield has everything else we need, she said.
The car, Mum and I—our whole lives—are dwarfed by the historic mansion that looms before us.
It should be raining. There should be thunder and lightning cracking the sky the way my heart is cracking.
“I want to go home.”
“I know it’ll take time to adjust,” she coos in my ear. “But I promise, it’ll all turn out in the end. You’ll see.”
My throat is sore. “Couldn’t you have waited?” I know my whine is unreasonable, but I want her to feel my pain. Want her to feel guilty. “It’s only three more years until I leave school.”
Tom emerges from the massive entrance in a short-sleeved shirt and crisply pressed shorts. All that’s missing is a golf bag and a flash of his overly-whitened teeth.
Mum melts into a smile at the sight of him, then settles her warm eyes on me. She speaks a proverb; I know it, but I’ve never understood it before. I don’t really now, either. “Ka mate te kāinga tahi, ka ora te kāinga rua.”
When one house dies, a second lives.
But our home wasn’t dead. And leaving the refuge he made for us feels like leaving his memory behind. It feels worse.
Tears leak out the corners of my eyes. I want to sing and cry like we did at his tangi.
Mum pulls the duffel from my arms and hoists me into her embrace. She clutches me tightly, her bright dress wrinkling between us. “He is our past, he is always a part of us.”
Now we must concentrate on the present and build a future.
She lets me go and opens her arms for Tom.
I kick at the sun-gleaming grass. A black cat scampers from behind the tree and hisses as it avoids my arcing foot.
“Oi,” Tom scolds. “Careful of Mrs. Norris.”
“I didn’t . . .” It was an accident! I’d never hurt a cat.
“Why don’t you take your bag inside and look around? Help yourself to a scone, there’s some on the dining table.”
I don’t want to listen to him. I fold my arms.
He starts kissing my mum.
I grab my suitcase and stalk across the manicured lawn to the stupid, pretty house. I hope I leave mud over the pristine polished marble floor. My belongings, I drop in the middle of the entranceway. Where it’s most annoying. Only the duffel and suitcase are so small in the wide space they look ridiculous.
The dining room is as big as our old home. Sun streams in through the gridded windows and across the table set with modern plates and cups with saucers and matching navy teapots and two silver platters of scones. Some clotted cream.
I sit down on a leather-upholstered chair. I like scones. But now I don’t ever want to touch one again.
Tears track down my cheeks, hot and heavy. I swipe at them with the back of my hand, sniffing.
I shoot my head up, expecting to see Mum and Tom, but it’s neither. A guy strides into the room wearing a blue cap. He’s about my age, a little older, maybe. Broad shouldered like me and toned. But I don’t know where he gets his from, living in a mansion. Okay, Mansfield is on the outskirts of Port Rātapu, and the property looked big. But it’s no farm. I can’t imagine anyone living here doing any heavy lifting.
“I guess you’re Finley?” he says.
“I guess you’re Ethan,” I say back.
~ * ~ Kathy‘s Review ~ * ~
I have been thoroughly enjoying Ms. Sunday’s Love, Austen series. Book four felt fresh, and this keeps the stories in the series so very interesting. I like her slow-burn approach to romance. Love is definitely earned, but the end results are so very satisfying. While I would like everyone to read all of the series, this book can be a stand-alone.
The two MCs are both remarkably kind and sensitive young men. A merger by marriage of two families finds Fin with a new stepbrother. Finley, at 15, was going through many emotions. He was filled with dread, and angst which was totally understandable. Ethan is the son of his new stepfather Tom, and we learned very early on that Fin just can’t hate his new stepbrother. Fin and Ethan form a rapid and solid bond that at times concerns Tom.
The story sweetly builds, and I could feel the tension and yearning these two young men had to deal with. As their family grows, so do their feelings. The side characters were annoying but offered the perfect buffer for their problems. The author gives the reader some people to be aggravated with because honestly, I just could not have any negative feelings about the men. Even their family that is causing the wedge between them are likable.
I loved watching Fin grow from an angry, confused teen to a man that finally understands the complex relationships families endure. This book may have replaced the first in the series as my favorite. The gentle and touching romance was swoon-worthy, and I strongly recommend it. Happy reading!
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure. A review wasn’t a requirement ***
~ * ~ Annie‘s Review ~ * ~
Considering that I’m not a devout Austen fan familiar with all her works and characters, I really wasn’t certain how much the Love, Austen series would resonate with me. However, time and time again, I find myself completely hooked by these characters and wonderfully woven standalone stories, always eager for more time with the couples and secondary characters.
was an incredible story about a quiet but undeniable love between two stepbrothers. I really enjoyed both characters, how they each divulged their vulnerabilities in turn, and how the reader got to see how Finley and Ethan supported one another in such a simple but devout way. I also really liked how the author incorporated the characters’ familial relationships. These inclusions heightened my investment in the characters and really brought to attention the myriad of challenges and choices Finley and Ethan faced when deciding to pursue a relationship.
This author is known as a master of slow-burn for a reason. This book was yet another example of her ability to craft a story that conveyed such longing and palpable emotion between characters. Honestly, I found myself hanging on every moment and exchange. While there was a fair bit of angst and drama caused by secondary parties, the romance and journey were more than worth it. On top of that, the author shared little snippets of a writer I knew very little about, but whose words beautifully captured the feelings and moments within the book and spoke to me in a way I frankly wasn’t expecting. If you enjoy an emotional romance that pops from the page, I highly recommend this story.
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure. A review wasn’t a requirement.***
Enter the Giveaway:
To celebrate the release of Finley Embraces Heart And Home, Anyta is giving away a $25 Amazon Giftcard and an e-set of the “Signs of Love” books (5 novels and 4 novellas)!
Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win!
Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/cc0f2a57299/?
About the Author:
I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.
Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.
I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of emotion, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.
My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Thai.
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