Dana reviews Loose Lips & Relationships (Flaming, MO Book 1) by AJ Rose and Kate Aaron (Published by Grim Writer Press in partnership with Croft House, February 25, 2019. 298 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Flaming, Missouri is the perfect place for police officer Marc Warren to heal his battered heart after a broken marriage. The tourist town is an easy beat and he finds sanctuary in his beautiful cabin on the Lake of the Ozarks. So when Grant “Good Time” Taylor shows interest, Marc is in no hurry to let Flaming’s resident bad boy rock his boat.
Grant has no interest in dating locals. Tourists are plentiful and don’t want more than he’s willing to give. But a bar bet turns personal when Marc hands him a humiliating public rejection. If Grant wants to get under the mysterious officer’s skin, he’ll have to offer more than a temporary port.
The small town rumor mill gets a jumpstart as Marc and Grant realize what they’ve been missing all along—each other. But not everyone is happy for them. Someone will stop at nothing to sink the budding relationship. Can Marc and Grant overcome their fears to fight for each other, or is their happiness destined to drown?
Award winning authors AJ Rose and Kate Aaron have teamed up to welcome you to Flaming, MO, a cozy thriller series with feel-good themes, charismatic characters, and a small town with a big heart.
I am a big fan of AJ Rose, but up until now, I haven’t read anything by Kate Aaron (though her books have been on my wish list). I will have to read more of her books in the future, but in this case, the story telling of the authors was so fluid that I can’t tell who wrote what. Which, I’m sure, is a good thing.
Loose Lips & Relationships is a sweet romance. I think that it is inspired by the Hallmark Movies mentioned in the dedication, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, it’s not a perfect world, where nothing goes wrong, but it was very much about the romance. Grant is a local boy, raised in Flaming. He was raised by his single mom, who is now the police chief. He seems very okay with easy single lifestyle filled with hookups. But deep down inside, he might be keeping guys at arms length so he doesn’t feel the same rejection he felt from his dad. Marc is an officer who works for Grant’s mom. He has only lived in Flaming for a few years, after his divorce and his mom’s controlling ways made it impossible for him to stay in his hometown.
Grant originally propositions Marc on a bet, but after being turned down, the bet doesn’t have any hold over the rest of the story and there is no worry that Marc will feel upset. Marc has no interest in a one night stand, which Grant is known for, but he is also resistant to put his trust into forming a real relationship either. I feel like both of these characters were likeable, but both were kind of aimless and afraid to seek what they really wanted. Until Marc really took a look at Grant’s personality instead of his reputation. And until Grant went on a real date and held off on sex until getting to know Marc.
There is really only one possible challenge to their relationship, and that is Marc’s mother. Her narcissistic personality has caused problems for Marc his whole life. He moved to get away from her and she contented herself with trying to rule his brother’s life, but when her behavior causes Marc’s brother to block her out, she moves back to him and travels to Flaming just to interfere with his peaceful new life, and to harass the man that Marc seems interested in. I think the authors handled the situation well, not that I know what it’s like to deal with. There is sympathy to the issue of mental illness, but also there is a point where for your own health you need to cut yourself off.
So, as the introductory book in the series, I thought the romance was great. The town of Flaming sounds like a really interesting place. I loved the secondary characters that were introduced. Grant’s friends, Joe and Lily, were awesome. They are a cool married couple. The bartender, Brandon, at what seems like the main bar in town is awesome at giving advice. From some of what is discussed in the background of this story, I feel like he and a prodigal rock star have some history and they might have a book coming up. Marc’s former fwb, Dustin, might also have a love interest who just started running a local shop. I liked him a lot, too, so I am happy to have any of these characters books. I definitely recommend this book, it was warm and sweet and a feel good read.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
It began with a Halloween themed short story assignment from a second grade teacher, and from then on, AJ Rose fell head over heels in love with writing.
Time has seen the beginning and end of many things, college and graduation, a finance career, and a marriage, and through it all, writing has been their first love. Now, AJ is also head over heels for their wife, fellow author Kate Aaron, who gets it, the twitchy fingers when word counts are low too many consecutive days, the thousand-yard stare when an idea turns AJ’s vision inward, and the jitters when the word-babies go out to meet the world.
Nothing could stop the tall tales about imaginary people that refuse to be ignored. With a life full of this much passion, it’s no wonder AJ chose romance. The voices in their head are mostly of the male persuasion, so m/m romance was an excellent fit. But don’t be surprised if the occasional ghost still pops up.
Born in Liverpool, Kate Aaron is a bestselling author of the #1 LGBT romances What He Wants, Ace, The Slave, and other works.She holds a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature, and an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture, and is an outspoken advocate for equal rights.
Kate swapped the North West for the Midwest in October 2015 and married award-winning author AJ Rose. Together they plan to take over the world.