With This Bling (Romano and Albright #3)
by L.B. Gregg
An M/M Contemporary Romance
From Riptide Publishing
Released December 7th 2015
Caesar Romano’s catering career is doing better than he’d ever dreamed. And so is his love life—even if his boyfriend’s house in Staten Island is way too far from civilization for his liking. But then in short order, Caesar is duped into helping his cousin propose, is tricked by his best friend and business partner into appearing on live television, and is harassed by a thug-like personal trainer and his far too beautiful wife. In fact, Caesar is almost too busy to notice that something is troubling his PI boyfriend, Dan Albright.
Laid-back, open, charming—that’s the impression hunky former NYPD Detective Dan Albright gives everyone. Caesar can add sexually adventurous and a bit of an exhibitionist. But he also knows that Dan is hiding something—something dark and a little dangerous—and when Dan’s silence over his mysterious past threatens to harm them both, it’s Caesar’s turn to save the day.
But then again, a break-in, a gallery party, an heirloom ring, a new suit, and a stalker with bad BO are all just a typical week for Caesar Romano.
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Caesar has the uncanny ability to put himself right smack in the middle of trouble, especially if it pertains to one of his lover’s cases. This time around it’s no different, only he’s also trying to help his cousin with a wedding proposal, making his debut on TV and realizing just how much Dan means to him.
LB Gregg’s ability to bring together a mix of different elements has to be my favorite aspect of this story. The humor, the heat, the intrigue and the romance are all present in this story and worked in together so that that they complement each other without dragging the story or making it feel overwhelming for the reader. There were even some subtle emotions there towards the end, which were an added bonus in my opinion. Yes, finally! 😉
The author did a wonderful job of keeping the reader intrigued and riveted to the story. This I attribute to Caesar’s voice. His ramblings were a thing of beauty and added to my enjoyment of the story. Add to that Dan’s participation and I could not help but love these two together. Their flirty banter, their bickering and those stolen moments when their attraction for one another took over were just the icing on the elaborate turn of events Caesar finds himself the center of.
Keep in mind that although this is the third book in the Romano and Albright series, it can be read as a stand alone. the author does a fantastic job of bringing the reader up to date in regards to Caesar’s previous adventures while still bringing to the page a new case for Caesar to (unknowingly) be involved in.
All in all, an intriguing and enjoyable read!
*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.
As an ex–law enforcement officer, Dan took precautions. Locks secured every window and door, and he’d wired the place to the hilt. I’d worked in the gallery world for years, and I’d grown familiar with the ins and outs of various alarm keypads. My own family didn’t bother with fancy security companies. We relied on brute strength, intimidation, and the local neighborhood watch. More like a witch hunt than a watch, but effective nonetheless. And, when pressed, Romanos were swift to drive intruders away with the swing of a Louisville Slugger. There wasn’t a bat in Dan’s home, so I opted for his alarm.
I retrieved my cell from the dresser as the jerk on the roof did whatever asshole thing he was hell-bent on doing. I should have checked, but something—call it intuition—had me moving with haste to the stairs, phoning Dan as I descended. Having had my fair share of incidents in the past two months, I knew to call, but first I’d have to deal with Dan’s I don’t fucking believe this.
“Hey,” he panted, and he wasn’t the only one gasping. My lungs creaked from all the exertion.
“Question.” I swallowed. “Do you—”
“What’s wrong with your voice? Did you do something to your rib again? You’re making that kicked-puppy sound. The one you make when you’re in pain but you won’t tell me and I have to slip Vicodin into your milkshake. What are you doing?”
“What makes you think I’m doing anything? I’m doing nothing. I’m fine.” Just winded from the stairs. “Did you maybe schedule the cable company and forget?” I peered through the peephole again. Empty step, sprinkler sprinkling, birds slurping worms, kids on scooters, fishbowl suburbia. Check. Nothing had changed.
“Negative. I don’t have cable.”
“Huh. That’s unnerving, because there’s a guy on your roof.”
“What roof? Who’s on the roof? My roof?” A sharp inhale told me his jog had ratcheted to a flat run. “What do you mean?”
“I mean the cable guy climbed onto your house after I told him to leave. I’m just letting you know.” A thump from somewhere above and I flipped the plastic lid on the alarm panel, revealing the keypad. Pretty straightforward. P for police and the * sign together and I’d scare any prowler out of his pants and onto the lawn. “I have the situation under control.”
“The hell you do. Is he still there? You’re not kidding, right?”
“No. I am not kidding—you always ask me that. Why would I kid?” It was difficult keeping exasperation from my voice, but I managed valiantly. “How do I know what he’s doing? I’m not watching, although I can see his van from the window. It’s on the street. I’m hitting the alarm. Heads-up. Also chop-chop. I’m going to be late for work.”
“Yes. Hit the fucking alarm.”
An earsplitting eeeeeeee breached the peaceful splendor of Chez Albright.
I scurried to the kitchen as Dan yelled, “I’m two blocks from the house. You still there?”
“Yes, of course.”—eeeeeeee—“Where would I go? He’s out there. So I’m in here. Dial it down. I’m fine.”
“You need to leave the house.”
“That’s not going to happen.” I checked the window. “There are kids on the sidewalk. I don’t want a scene.”
“I think that train left the station—”
The cable guy fell from the roof in a flutter of green shirttails. He landed catlike in the grass directly in front of the kitchen window. “Holy crap.”
Dan panted, “What? Talk to me.”
The man popped effortlessly to his feet and hiked a rather utilitarian black backpack over his shoulder. Anyone else would have broken an arm or an ankle falling from that height, but no. The bastard didn’t even bother to check himself. Far less fatigued than he first appeared at Dan’s doorstep, he was nonetheless sopping in sweat. His gaze caught mine and he fucking bowed—the dick—then he flipped me off, mouthing, Fuck you, and darted under the clothesline. “I . . . don’t believe this guy.”
He vaulted the fence like a goddamn superhero. “My God. He’s like Batman.”
“What the— Did you say Batman?”
I shouted over the alarm, “He looked right at me! That asshole, but holy crap, he’s totally parkour. I’ve never seen anything like him. I don’t think you can catch him.”
“Thank you for the vote of confidence.”
The guy cut through the neighbor’s backyard and disappeared around the corner of a garage as the house alarm clanged my head like a gong. I pressed a finger against my ear. “He’s gone. Wow. Where are you? If you come through the back—”
Any hope the intruder would run smack into Dan coming from the opposite direction was dashed as the front door burst open and my hero announced, “I’m here. Where is he?”
“Gone. I told you. Jesus, the guy could move.” I tossed my phone on the counter. I wasn’t sure what my next move should be, so I let Dan lead. He braced one hand against the wall, gasping for air—which didn’t seem entirely heroic—and stabbed at the keypad with his index finger. The alarm ceased and, thank God, I could hear myself think again. Summer heat met AC, and a wave of tepid air blew through the living room.
“FYI, I move too.” Dan sucked wind. “I sprinted up that fucking hill.”
He swiped his forehead and joined me in the kitchen, his Shakespeare in the Park T-shirt soaked to his skin. Unlike the intruder, he wore his perspiration very well. Face flushed, hale and hearty in loose-fitting black running shorts, he flipped the backdoor locks and disappeared down the steps.
I followed a few paces behind, watching as he scoped the backyard. “He’s not here.”
“I can see that.”
He glared at the kitchen roof where two stubby dormers were connected by a thin outcropping of architectural tiles. One dormer held the bath window, the other the guest room window. Bolted between the dormers? A long-nosed satellite dish.
Dan looked ready to scale the brick and poke around for clues, or climb for a better vantage point of the cable guy’s escape route, but his outdoor inspection lasted two seconds. He stared at me briefly, dark brows knitted together, before stomping back into the kitchen. He scrubbed at his damp hair, leaving finger-wide furrows. At least his breathing was somewhat under control.
His gaze raked me, head to toe, and he stalled for a second. “So, you look fine this morning.”
“Of course I do.” I answered stiffly because I was indeed fine. What had he expected? That I’d faint over a possible break-in? Please. “I’ve dealt with intruders before. I’m not a novice.”
“All right, Mr. Not A Novice.” I swear to God his eyes twinkled. His jaw definitely twitched. “Tell me exactly what happened, and don’t stop talking until you get to the part where you realize you’re still bare-ass naked.”
I glanced south and found an unencumbered view to my toes. Not a stitch covered me, not even my Hugo Boss underwear. I’d just exposed myself to his entire neighborhood and, while I’m sure they were impressed—because who wouldn’t be?—I was also mortified. I dashed through the kitchen, resisting the natural urge to clap both hands over my crotch. “That explains the breeze.”
“I’m not complaining.”
About the Author
When not working from her home in the rolling hills of Northwestern Connecticut, author L.B. Gregg can be spotted in coffee shops from Berlin to Singapore to Panama–sipping lattes and writing sweet, hot, often funny, stories about men who love men.
To celebrate the release of With This Bling, L.B. Gregg is giving away a Romano and Albright mug with swag, and a $40 gift card to Amazon! Your first comment at each stop on this tour enters you in the drawing. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on December 12, 2015. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. Entries. Follow the tour for more opportunities to enter the giveaway! Don’t forget to leave your email or method of contact so Riptide can reach you if you win!