Levi Grainger needs a break. As a reality show star, he’s had enough of the spotlight and being edited into a walking stereotype. When he returns home after the last season of Trip League, he expects to spend time with his family, only to learn his sister is coming back from her deployment in a flag-draped casket. Devastated, Levi decides the best way to grieve will be to go off grid and hike the Appalachian Trail—a trip he’d planned to do with his sister.
His solitary existence on the trail is interrupted when he meets Thad, a quiet man with a hard body and intense eyes. Their connection is stronger than anything Levi has ever experienced. But when Levi discovers the truth about what Thad is hiking to escape, their future together looks uncertain, and uncertainty is the last thing Levi needs…
Contemporary, NA, M/M, LGBT+
177 e-book pages
In Focus, book 4
For a moment, we locked eyes, and the air between us crackled with the promise of what could come next if we let it. I didn’t breathe—didn’t move—because this rubber band tugging at us could snap any minute, and I had no idea which way it would go.
Thad’s jaw clenched, then his hand shot out and gripped the side of my head. I sucked in a breath as he pulled me toward him. The heat of his palm seared my scalp as he closed the distance until our mouths were inches away. The tent was filled with panted breaths, pounding hearts, and every cell in my body was screaming want want want.
I licked my lips, the very tip of my tongue brushing his, and that was the last encouragement he needed, because then Thad slammed his mouth onto mine. His body crashed along with it, so my back slammed onto the ground and Thad landed on top.
But I didn’t care about any of that, because Thad was devouring me. His mouth moved against mine, opening me up, demanding to be let in, and I obliged. Thad swept his tongue inside, kissing me like he couldn’t get enough, would never get enough, like kissing me was better than breathing.
Kissing Thad was better than breathing.
I held on as best as I could, clutching his broad shoulders, the muscles shifting beneath his skin. With his knees, he spread my legs and slotted himself between them, grinding his hard cock against mine.
It was a frenzy of tongues and lips and saliva and good, hard, need-you-now kind of sex. Thad broke the kiss to suck hard on the skin along my jaw, and I arched beneath him as he hit the spot below my ear that always got me going.
My cock was achingly hard, my balls already drawn up tight, but I needed something more. Thad’s hands fumbled between us until my boxers were shoved down. A fist wrapped around both of our cocks and began stroking them together.
My brain short-circuited, my lungs screamed for air as I gasped at the firm grip. Thad wasn’t fucking around. This was down and dirty and about getting off on each other.
My hips churned with each stroke of Thad’s hand; his hip bones dug into my inner thighs as each stroke shoved my legs further apart. I had no time to imagine what we looked like, what we sounded like, because Thad bit down on my shoulder, hard, and I came like a fucking rocket. I couldn’t even cry out, as I pulsed soundlessly in his hand. His hips froze on one more powerful thrust, sending my head smashing into the side of the tent, and then he let out one small groan against my skin.
I squeezed my eyes shut, relinquishing my grip on Thad’s shoulders, belatedly noticing my nails had etched crescent-shaped marks in his flesh.
He rose off of me slowly, his eyes skittering away, not meeting mine. He grabbed my pack of wipes, and cleaned himself, then me, wordlessly. I bit my lip, unsure what to say. What did one say when they were dry-humped in the middle of the night by a man who spoke in sentence fragments?
Nothing apparently. Because Thad rose, pulled on a pair of pants and a shirt, and with one
last look at me, left the tent.
Without a word.
Ratings are 1 to 5 stars and based mostly on GoodReads standards.
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Advance Review Copy generously provided by the publisher
via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Each book in this series is better than the last…and the first was pretty damn good.
This one kept me up until three in the morning on a work night. I went from the porch to bed and back to the porch twice until I had to force myself to shut off the Kindle and put it in a drawer in another room so I could attempt to be a responsible adult after a few hours of sleep.
I am crazy for this prevailing theme of journeys. The literal journeys on road trips, cruise ships, and rugged mountain trails sidling up to these characters figuring out who they are, coming into their own, finding love along the way. It has been an adventure for me right along with these delightful characters.
We met Levi in book three, Out of Frame, and there, he was the token gay guy on a reality show where the producers played up his flamboyant side so much that, as a reader, I kinda thought that’s who he was. And there’s not anything wrong with that if it’s really him. But it wasn’t.
Here in Overexposed, we get the real Levi. The guy who’s mourning the death of his sister. Who is determined to take the trip they’d planned to take together. Who seems still a little shocked by celebrity but is also craving some solitude and perspective to figure out what he wants next.
Gotta say I LOVED the setting of the Appalachian Trail. Now…I’m not a hiker. At all. But I’ve ridden a good bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. I’ve seen the A.T. from the car where it intersects in a few places. Fun Fact: The A.T. is 2144 miles long & stretches from Maine to Georgia (spanning 14 states); ONE FOURTH of it spans my home state of Virginia. How cool is that?
I just…it’s not on my bucket list to ever hike it. I might take a leisurely stroll on it one day and have a picnic before heading back to a hotel (equipped with full bar). But…days of hiking with a load on my back like a pack mule, sleeping on the hard ground in a little tent, bugs, dirt, snakes, poison ivy, NOT SHOWERING FOR DAYS AND DAYS, doin’ my business coppin’ a squat in nature? Nuh uh.
But more power to the folks who do…and I think anyone who goes the distance of 2144 miles should be lauded a superhero and get a cape and everything.
It’s not far into Levi’s lone-mountain-man journey when he meets the quiet giant, Thad. He’s stoic, broody, and a commanding presence with a few chinks in his armor. But he sort of worms his way in — in a sorta-but-not-really creepy way that’s mostly sweet and not stalkerish AT ALL. Thad’s quiet nature could have been mildly disturbing except Levi’s a chatterbox who didn’t mind rambling about all sorts of random things, much to Thad’s amusement.
These guys are very much opposites, but the chemistry was undeniable and made perfect sense. The isolation of the trail, surrounded by nature, allowed them to just be — without the chaos of the outside world. It’s a setting where thoughts and emotions are amplified, self-discovery is unavoidable while braving the elements, and two people together are cocooned in their partnership of man against nature.
It was healing and hopeful, and far more complex than I anticipated. Though, every book in this series has been that way…so you’d think I’d learn a lesson or four. There were laugh-out-loud moments along with heartbreak and tears that, rounded out with the perfect setting, pace, and characters, made for an incredible reading experience.
This review also posted on GoodReads & Amazon.
Other Books in the Series:
1) Trust the Focus
2) Focus on Me
3) Out of Frame
About the Author:
Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.