Tour: The Art of Living by Abrianna Denae
Book Title: The Art of Living
Author: Abrianna Denae
Cover Artist: Pretty in Ink Creations
Release Date: June 10, 2021
Genre: Contemporary gay romance
Tropes: Single dad, hurt/comfort, office romance, slow burn
Themes: Trust, meddling family
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 35 000 words/ 90 pages
It is a standalone book, though the reader may be interested in The Gift of Believing, a companion book featuring the MC’s son: mybook.to/GoB
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Robert Harper has spent the past seventeen years living for his son. He doesn’t know who he is if he’s not being a caregiver and protector all rolled into one.
Niall Ross is finally ready to make a life of his own. After years spent making sure his younger brother had everything he needed, it’s time for Niall to discover who he is.
All it takes is one glance across a crowded meeting room for the men to feel a connection, but Robert is terrified his life is too complicated for the other man. Luckily, Niall has patience in abundance. With a little help from Robert’s meddling family, the two begin a tentative relationship.
Just as they’re finding their footing, all of Robert’s worst fears come to life and he falters under the pressure. Niall takes the challenge to show Robert that he’s a safe place to lean on, but when his own life begins to unravel, he places his heart in Robert’s hands. When two independent men are forced to trust each other will the love win out, or will vulnerability and fear cause them to lose the best thing they didn't even know they had.
“You really want me to date?”
Garrett nods. “I want you to live your life. I know you’re going to argue and say that you have everything you need with me, and Uncle Jared, and Sam. Maybe that’s true, but I also can’t help but feel guilty because if I wasn’t me then maybe you’d have found someone else by now.”
“Garrett, no, you know that’s not true,” I say gently. “Those other people I dated when you were younger, they didn’t last because they weren’t right for our family. If anyone can’t handle me and everything I come with, then they’re not worth my time.”
He studies me with those dark, wise eyes of his. “Does this mean you’ll give Niall a chance then? Because he’s different, I can feel it.”
Shit. I walked right into that one.
“Yeah,” I sigh. “I’d be open to trying.”
Garrett smiles and whips out his phone. I don’t bother asking who he’s texting, since the pieces are starting to slowly fall into place. I look at Presley, “They planned this, didn’t they?”
Pres smiles and nods. “Jared thought you both needed a little intervention.”
I shake my head and laugh a bit because my family is insane.
Garrett is still texting away while Presley and I clean up the kitchen. I try to tell Pres that he doesn’t need to help since he and Gare cooked, but he waves me off.
I just get the dishwasher started when my phone rings. The display reads Niall and my mouth suddenly goes dry while my stomach begins to tie itself into knots.
Both boys stare at me as I accept the call. “Hello?”
“Hi,” pause, and then Niall laughs, “This is more awkward than I thought it’d be.”
I smile and turn away from the teenage busybodies. “I seriously doubt whatever you have to say is more awkward than the dinner I just had.”
He laughs again. “They tried to butter you up with food, huh?”
I groan. “Yes. When’d they get to you?”
“Sam talked to me this afternoon. Then they added me to a group chat a few hours ago and promptly blew up my phone with texts about twenty minutes or so ago.”
I sigh. “I’m sorry about them.”
“It’s fine,” Niall assures. “They’re just looking out for you.”
“They’re nosy and need to learn how to mind their own business.” I look over my shoulder to find Garrett and Presley sitting at the table, hanging onto my every word. Shaking my head, I stride from the room in search of some privacy.
“So if I were to ask you to dinner, you’d say no?”
“I guess you should ask and find out.”
Niall chuckles a bit. “Will you have dinner with me, Robert?”
My heart stutters in my chest and it takes a moment for me to get my mouth working. “Yes,” I finally manage to say.
“Tomorrow is perfect.”
“I’ll text you the details unless someone else does it for me.”
I snort. “That’s a high possibility. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow,” he repeats. “Have a good night, Robert.”
The line goes dead and a part of me mourns the loss of his voice. Taking a steadying breath, I let the giddy feeling of a first date wash over me. I’ll never tell my family this, but I’m glad they decided to interfere with my life. I never would have had the guts to do this myself.
Tomorrow can’t come fast enough.
4 out of 5 (very good)
THE ART OF LIVING is a standalone, but it does have some of the same characters from The Gift of Believing. This is not an issue, take my word for it.
Robert is Garrett's dad and has always put Garrett first. He's had to be mum, dad, carer, you name it, and he's not prepared to let Garrett down just for the sake of getting some. Niall has his own issues to deal with, mainly a younger brother who wants him to forgive his absentee dying dad. With so much going on, will Robert and Niall be able to be together?
This was a warm story with a gentle writing style that I thoroughly enjoyed. The issues Niall faces are unfortunately too close to home for me, and I can tell you his emotions are spot on. This hit me hard when I was reading it as that wish for what might have been.
Apart from Robert misguidingly pushing Niall away, this story is low angst. There are some steamy moments but all as part of the story, rather than just because. The characters are wonderful, and I really hope that Sam and Jared have their story told.
A great emotional novel that I thoroughly enjoyed and have no hesitation in recommending.
** same worded review will appear elsewhere **
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
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Abrianna Denae is a twenty-four-year-old author living in Northern California. An English major, she has always had a passion for writing.
Deciding to sit down and write one of the many stories that had plagued her mind for years was the easy part—finding the time to do it was a different story.
Caffeine is her best friend, and sleep is her worst enemy.
A lover of books that make the reader feel something, she tries to incorporate as much of her real-world views and feelings into her stories as she can.
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