Authors: K Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn
Series: Speakeasy #1-2
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Dates: With a Twist - September 25, 2018
Extra Dirty - March 26, 2019
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Under is both hang out and haven for the men who spend time within its walls and their friendships build family ties that are sometimes missing from their own lives.
The stories can be read in order or as standalones.
Love, served with a twist.
Soon after, he’s shaken by news of his father’s cancer diagnosis and Will reluctantly returns to Long Island to see the man who disowned him after he was outed.
Sparks fly when Will meets his father’s mentee, Republican Senator David Mori, who is both mixed race and openly gay. Will is looking for a no-strings-attached fling and David is leery of getting involved with his mentor’s son, so they keep their affair a secret.
As his father’s health worsens, Will elects to remain in Garden City and his relationship with David grows beyond casual sex. Now, both men must decide how to bridge the divide between them.
Reader advisory: This book contains expressions of homophobia and racism by multiple secondary characters, references to disownment, and descriptions of terminal illness and death of secondary characters.
Extra Dirty #2
Love, served extra dirty.
Jesse Murtagh loves his life as a wealthy bisexual businessman dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. With a circle of friends he trusts implicitly, he enjoys a successful career in his family’s business and as co-owner of Under, an uptown speakeasy, with his friend with benefits, Kyle McKee.
Music teacher and part-time DJ Cameron Lewis lives modestly in a DUMBO loft and isn’t interested in serious relationships. However, he’s always up for some casual fun.
Doing a favor for his friend Carter Hamilton, Jesse meets Cam and is immediately charmed. When Jesse discovers Cam’s other life as a DJ, he is further intrigued. Viewing Cam as a challenge, Jesse pulls out all the stops, but his usual methods to avoid serious relationships fail. Though Cam has no intention of becoming attached, he begins to fall for Jesse, unaware that Jesse’s feelings are changing.
Afraid of heartbreak, Cam pulls away, leaving Jesse bewildered and hurt. They remain friends until a series of misunderstandings widens the rift to breaking point. When Cam steps in to help Jesse through a family crisis, they realize they care for each other more than they’ve been willing to admit. Jesse and Cam don’t want a traditional relationship, but can they build a future that makes them both happy?
Original Review September 2018:
When Will Martin gets an invitation to a new club called Under from his ex, Riley, he never expected to really enjoy himself or the company but he does. Upon receiving news that his father has been diagnosed with cancer he reluctantly returns to the family home to help his mother and sister care for him. David Mori has looked up to Senator Martin as a mentor and friend so when he learns of the senator's cancer diagnosis he wants to help. There's no denying the attraction between Will and David but will they let it become more? Can Will forgive his father before its too late?
I'm going to jump right out of the gate with this one by saying be sure you have a healthy supply of kleenex handy for this one. I'm glad we get to learn Will's story. When we met him in the author's Tidal duology, I can't say I really warmed to him but the deck was stacked against him as far as trying to find happiness with Riley Porter-Wright so I was excited to see his own journey to the HEA(if that's what he's destined for😉😉). I was really intrigued to see the inner thoughts of an openly gay, mixed race Republican, I can't speak from personal experience but I think the authors were probably pretty spot-on with some of the attitudes David faced.
As my mother's 24/7 caregiver for the past 20+ years I have to say I was a little saddened that it seemed like Will was making all the sacrifices. With a Twist may be Will and David's love story but I think it's more Will's journey of finding happiness with love, family, and friends. So on one hand it seems likely that Will would be doing all the life changes but if I was him, I would have a seed of resentment starting in me from doing so, but maybe that's just me and my Irish-Dutch-German stubbornness😉. I know David's not really in a position to make the same level of sacrifices at this time but I do believe he is the kind of person who will when the time comes, that time just wasn't within the pages of the story.
Now, having said that you are probably thinking that I didn't like the story. You could not be further from the truth. Oh no, I loved With a Twist(and look forward to more adventures and journeys in the Speakeasy series). Truth is that I was so pulled into Will's relationship with his dad that at times I forgot this was a love story between Will and David. David is the kind of politician that I think we all want speaking for us: he listens to his constituents and not just the party hullabaloo. Even though I may not have agreed with Will's level of sacrifice I do love that he grows and discovers that not everything is as we remember it to be, for a stubborn man he is open to learn(reluctantly at times). I don't think there's any doubt where the couple will end up but the journey getting there is what Twist is all about and for that journey you'll need to read this one for yourself, no spoilers from me😉.
Vaughn & Cole bring to life a horribly mismatched couple that couldn't be more perfect for each other. Shows us that it takes time and sometimes time isn't always on our side, it might seem cliche but "making the most of the time we have" is an important lesson we all need to be reminded about. With a Twist is a heartbreaking tale of words we can't take back, regrets because we're too stubborn to step first, and time lost. But its also a heartwarming tale of reaching out, discovering new friends, and making up for lost time. Simply put, this is a remarkably entertaining read that will leave you completely enthralled from cover to cover. Truth is, I think that despite my feelings on Will's sacrifices, finding myself so sucked in to the story and not wanting to say goodbye to Will and David says more to the authors' talents than anything I can put into words.
Extra Dirty #2
This is a rarity for me and when I say "rarity" I mean RARE, as in perhaps only a dozen times in the 40 years I've been reading. I loved Extra Dirty even more than book 1 in the authors' Speakeasy series, With a Twist. That's right, Jesse and Cam burrowed even deeper into my heart than Will and David. When I read a series that has a different pairing in each entry, the first couple is 98% of the time my favorite the same as when a character is recast in the middle of a television series, not neccessarily because the first is actually better but having been the first to be familiar with they stand out more. I guess it has more to do with the way a person's mind works😉😉.
Anywho, back to Extra Dirty.
I knew that whenever Jesse Murtagh was going to be given his own book that it would be something special just because he has been such an amazing and interesting supporting character from the first time we met him way back in Coles & Vaughn's Tidal duology. His spirited nature and look on life is infectious and whether we want to admit it or not, most of us wish we had more of that lease-on-life in our daily dealings. I also think its been pretty obvious that no matter how much fire is between Jesse and his business partner Kyle McKee, they were never going to have the be-all-end-all kind of connection, course that doesn't mean the fire can't be lit now and then😉.
As for Cameron Lewis, well what's not to love about Cam? He may be a bit younger than Jesse but he's just as intriguing and spirited to catch Jesse's eye. I love the connection of him being the music teacher to Carter's kids(for those who don't know who Carter is he and Riley are the stars of the authors' Tidal duology and a must read because well WOW!). Now, New York may be jam-packed with people but sometimes life really is a small world and whether you believe in coincidence or fate, we meet the people we need to meet at exactly the right time, which is what puts Jesse and Cam in each other's sight.
One thing I love most about the pair is that despite everything they don't try to change each other and sometimes that means they don't communicate like they should but I'd rather read a story of communication problems than changing someone. I firmly believe that if you don't like the way the person is that you feel the need to change them then why are you with them? I guess its just a pet peeve of mine so when authors don't use the "changing people" concept I love the book even more. As I said, this meant that there were times that communication wasn't there which left me wanting to bang their heads together but then if everything came easy-peasy for Jesse and Cam, Extra Dirty would have been a very short short story instead of the amazing dramatic yet fun-filled full length novel that it is.
It's hard to imagine Carter/Riley and Will/David as secondary characters after they've had their own stories told but they fill the roles expertly and really prove how friends are family. Speaking of family, I just want to add how much I loved the fact that both Jesse and Cam's families were supportive, friendly, and amazing, especially Jesse's brother and sister-in-law. Their scenes may have been limited but they owned every page they were on.
One last note: yes, Speakeasy is a series that can be read as standalones due to a different pairing for each entry but it is my personal opinion that it is a universe(I say "universe" because I think Tidal duology that told Carter & Riley's journey is included) that is even better read in order. I found that knowing each couple's story makes the friendships and connections flow better, however, I can also honestly say you will not be lost if you start with Extra Dirty. Whatever order you read this in you definitely should experience it because K Evan Coles and Brigham Vaughn have brought to life an incredibly amazing world of characters that you don't want to miss out on knowing.
K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.
K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.
K.’s books explore LGBTQ+ romance in contemporary settings.
Brigham VaughnBrigham Vaughn is on the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.
Her books range from short stories to novellas. They explore gay, lesbian, and polyamorous romance in contemporary settings.
To stay up to date on her latest releases, sign up for the Coles & Vaughn Newsletter.
K Evan Coles
With a Twist #1
Extra Dirty #2