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Title: As the Leaves Fall AND As the Ice Melts
Series: Love for the Seasons 1 & 2
Author: R.J. Jones
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: March 18, 2016 and April 1, 2016
The perfect job or the perfect man. Surely Aiden and Noah can have both, right?
Aiden Turner’s world flipped upside down when his vengeful ex-boyfriend destroyed a major project, costing his uncle’s architectural firm an important client. Feeling guilty, Aiden has since sworn off all romantic involvement with anyone he works with.
Noah Walker is getting ready to interview for his dream role when he catches Aiden’s eye on the London Tube. They strike up a conversation, and even though the attraction sizzles between them, Noah must decline the offer of a morning coffee. The interview is crucial, and he needs to focus on getting the job, not getting a date.
When Aiden discovers the enigmatic man on the train is the same man he is interviewing, he is torn. But he knows Noah is the right man for the job, and he attempts to put some professional distance between them. However, it’s not long before Noah makes his way under Aiden’s skin.
Neither man can afford to risk their employment, but keeping their relationship a secret takes its toll. When things get ugly, they need to decide what’s more important—or if the job is worth the sacrifice.
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As hearts begin to thaw, a betrayal of trust threatens to put out the flames.
When Marcus McDonald receives a formal warning from his employer, he knows it’s time to tuck tail and head home to Manchester. His medical condition forces him to keep people at arm’s length, and it wouldn’t be the first time his temperament has landed him in trouble.
All Adam Radney wants is some time to paint, but his father’s death, leaving Adam and his mum up to their ears in debt, means taking on two jobs. Working at the family’s run-down Manchester fish and chip shop, Adam is confronted by a new, surly face in town and instantly dislikes the icy newcomer. So what if he pushes all of Adam’s hot buttons?
When the ice melts and things heat up between Marcus and Adam, Adam thinks all his dreams have come true. With Marcus’s help, new customers arrive and the chip shop starts to flourish, easing Adam’s mind. But when Adam puts all his trust in Marcus on the busiest night the shop has seen in years, thing go awry and it leaves Adam with more questions than answers.
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“This book is a great example of why I love M/M romance books.” – Goodreads Reviewer for As the Leaves Fall
“This is a fun, easy read that will keep you entertained all the way through.” – Alpha Book Club for As the Leaves Fall
“When I finish reading this the first thing to come to my mind was WOW this was really really good!” – Goodreads Reviewer for As the Ice Melts
As the Leaves Fall
SPENCER & ASSOCIATES was located on floors twenty-six through twenty-eight of a gleaming new office tower on Portland Place. I entered the lift with a crowd of workers, all going to different companies within the building. My hands were clammy and my stomach kept doing flips.
When I reached the twenty-eighth floor, I pushed the glass door open and was greeted by a forty-something woman with a kind smile, her brunette hair in a loose bun. She sat behind a wide oak desk that housed dual monitors that gleamed with that just-polished shine.
“Good morning. I’m Noah Walker. I have an appointment at 9.30. I know I’m a little early but I was hoping I could study my notes while I waited.” Desperate much?
“Good morning, Mr Walker. I’m Sally. Mr Turner is expecting you. Would you like a tea or coffee while you wait?”
“No, thank you. I don’t think my nerves could handle anything in my stomach right now.”
Sally smiled sweetly. “Mr Turner is a big softie. He may seem intimidating but I can assure you, it’s all an act. You have nothing to worry about. Sure you don’t want that cuppa? It might help settle your tummy.”
“You’re right, it might do the trick. Thank you.”
“Take a seat and I’ll bring it to you. Mr Turner hasn’t arrived yet and neither has his 9 a.m. It will be quiet enough for you.” Sally gestured to the spacious waiting area, complete with leather armchairs, low tables and evenly spaced magazines. It also had an expansive view over the city.
I took a seat and watched London bustle below for a few minutes before Sally returned with my tea. “Here you are, Mr Walker. I hope it’s to your liking.”
“I’m sure it’s great. Thank you.”
Sally nodded and left me to my notes as I got a feel for the space around me. This was where my office would be if I landed the role. Building and Design shared the floor with the upper executives. Surveying, Printing and Production, Property Development and Interior Design all shared the twenty-seventh floor while the main reception and other divisions were housed on the floor below that. Sally was efficient and friendly, and I assumed she acted as a personal assistant to someone while being the receptionist for the twenty-eighth floor.
The executive offices were what I’d expected from a company of this calibre. No expense had been spared on the luxury fittings, and fresh flower arrangements dotted the waiting area and wide reception desk. But it wasn’t ostentatious. It was tasteful and understated. Around the meeting area, frosted timber-framed glass doors indicated client meeting rooms, and I presumed the wide corridor to the left of Sally’s workstation led to the individual offices. Sally’s tea wasn’t helping as I took in the atmosphere. If anything, I was even more jittery, and it hit home how much I wanted the position.
I went over my interview answers for a while until I heard the main door open. “Hello. I’m Toby Franks. I have a 9 a.m. appointment with Mr Turner.”
His voice sounded vaguely familiar so I looked up to see the guy from the Tube who Aiden had bumped into.
Toby declined Sally’s offer of a tea, then took a seat near me and nodded a greeting. I smiled slightly, then studied him covertly while I pretended to study my notes. He lounged in the chair as if he owned it, full of cocky confidence as he flipped the screens on his phone and sucked on a takeaway coffee. I had a weird sense that Toby was my direct competition. If he was, and if he came across as much of an arsehole as he did on the Tube, then perhaps I had a better chance than I thought. But surely if he had showed that side of himself in the previous interviews, he wouldn’t have made it this far. Then again, maybe this Toby Franks was just the right type of confident twat to be a good working match with Mr Turner.
I needed something stronger than Sally’s tea.
I continued reading, trying not to think about my competition, when the main door opened again. I glanced up out of curiosity and saw Aiden chatting casually with Sally. My stomach flipped again, but for a completely different reason. Maybe I could get that coffee with him after all. He took a sip from his Starbucks disposable cup as Sally handed him some files. He smiled and laughed quietly at something she said, but I couldn’t hear what was exchanged. Aiden turned towards the waiting area, and our gazes locked as they had earlier that morning. I felt a familiar burst of electricity spark between us. His eyes went wide then softened when he smiled and moved towards me. Then he noticed Toby sitting there and stopped in his tracks. He regarded the two files in his hand, which I now suspected belonged to myself and Mr Franks, and walked back to Sally. He handed her one of the files and gave her an instruction that had her picking up the phone, dialing quickly. Aiden pulled himself to his full height, all casualness gone, and stalked back to the waiting area, concentrating narrowed eyes on Toby Franks.
When Toby realised Aiden was heading straight for him, he stood and held out his hand. “Mr Turner? I’m Toby Franks. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
I didn’t know what surprised me more—that Aiden was the Mr Turner I was interviewing with that morning, or that Toby Franks hadn’t recognised Aiden from the Tube. The glare Aiden sent Toby had me wanting to break open the popcorn and enjoy the show.
THERE WAS a lull in the evening’s trade, and we had only two customers waiting, and five phone orders to wrap up. I wasn’t worried. There was always a small break between the times people ate their dinner. Some liked it later than others.
I’d been watching a guy through the glass front door who’d been standing outside the shop. He’d glanced at the faded sign in the window then walked away. Now he was back, looking up and down the street, before eyeing the sign again. I wondered if he was going to enter or not.
“Mum. Do you know who that is?” I asked, nodding my head towards the door.
Mum frowned. “No. Doesn’t look like a regular. What do you think he’s doing?”
“I have no idea.” I was hoping he wasn’t trying to get up the nerve to rob us.
The guy walked away again, only to return five minutes later, and this time he actually entered the shop.
He shook his hoodie off and stomped his feet on the mat, dislodging the dirt and ice from his pricey-looking black boots. If he’d been a criminal, he wouldn’t have taken the time to dust off. I couldn’t see where he’d be hiding a weapon, either; his dark blue jeans were practically painted on.
Maybe he was lost. If he was I would’ve loved to help him find his way. This guy tweaked all my buttons, and I couldn’t help but take in his lean form, slim hips, and dishevelled dark blond hair. Designer stubble on a pretty face and I was pretty much a goner.
His icy, blue eyes met mine, and his plump lips pulled into a tight line as he approached the counter.
“Are you Rodney?” he practically snapped at me.
I bristled. Who did he think he was? “Who’s asking?”
“Gran told me to go to the chippie around the block and order her usual, only double. At first I thought she was having me on, but I’ve walked around two blocks and you’re the only chip shop around. She said Rodney would know what her normal order was, ’cause I have no fucking idea. So again, are you Rodney?”
“I can’t bloody see the sign, the paint’s all faded. You should do something about that, you know. People will think you’re a run-down drug house or something, which is why I’ve been wandering the streets for the past half hour. Do you know how cold it is?”
Mr Shithead glanced around the shop with a look of disgust. The shop needed a lick of paint, and not just the sign in the window. The wallpaper was peeling, and no matter how many times Mum and I scrubbed the floor, it was always going to be a stained mess.
I reined in my temper. “Gran, you say. From Forbes Road?”
He looked down his nose at me, which was quite a feat considering our height difference. “Well, I know you’re not her grandson. How do you know her?”
I bristled again. What an arsehole. “How do you think? She comes in every week and orders the same each time. We all love Gran here. And just how do you know her?” I was hoping he hadn’t just robbed the poor lady blind on her way here. She always walked the same route at the same time of night, so she’d be easy prey for a thug who knew what he was doing.
“Because I’m her grandson. Unlike you.”
“Ahh, you must be Mark.” It was hard to picture. Gran was lovely and sweet, the way most doting grandmothers were. She told it like it was, but she was never rude. This guy couldn’t possibly have been related to her.
His eyes flashed in obvious annoyance. “Marcus. How do you know?”
“You haven’t been listening, have you?” You dumbarse. “Gran comes in each week. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know her a bit. She speaks about you a lot.” I gave him a not-so-subtle once-over. “Some big shot in London, apparently.”
“Well, Rod.” Marcus sniffed. “Gran would like her usual, only doubled. How long will it take?”
“Who’s paying? You or Gran?”
Marcus’s eyebrows drew together. He pulled his wallet from his back pocket and searched through the large stash of bills, seemingly looking for a tenner. He handed me a five.
“And the rest of it. That’s only a fiver.”
Marcus’s features went from frustrated arsehole to red and embarrassed in a nanosecond. He pulled a twenty out, handed it to me without a word, and then sat down to wait for his order.
I left it till he sat on the farthest chair from me before I asked, “Did you not want your change?”
Marcus came over and I handed him his notes. He wouldn’t look at me, and it appeared all his bravado had fled. He seemed vulnerable and exposed, and I had the distinct feeling he would’ve slunk out if he didn’t have to wait for his food. Without looking at the money, he stuffed it back into his wallet. I could’ve given him anything and he wouldn’t have known.
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RJ started as a reader and eventually made the progression to reviewing. It wasn’t until two men popped into her thoughts, insisting on telling her their story that she started to write. It started with one scene. A hot and dirty one in the shower.
RJ’s initial thought was if she could write their scene then they’d shut up and allow her to concentrate on other aspects of the day. That shower scene was 3000 words long and three hours of work. But they didn’t shut up. They told her their entire story and she didn’t sleep for days. Sometimes she couldn’t keep up with what they were telling her and she had to keep a notebook by the bed.
Whilst RJ was writing their story a side character decided he needed his story told too. Then other characters followed suit.
You see the problem? If RJ ever wants to sleep again then she needs to write.
RJ is a wife and a mother to two boys. Even her dog is a boy.
She is surrounded by males.
RJ writes emotionally charged, character driven romances. Her guys will always get their HEA, but it will never be easy.