Author Name & Publisher: Louise Lyons (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: July 22, 2016 – 170 pgs
When Joel Jones finds homeless Russian, Sasha, outside his gay nightclub in Prague, he cannot find it in his heart to turn him away, so he offers him a home and a job as a dancer and stripper.
Despite a fifteen-year age gap, romance develops between them, but is interrupted when Joel has to return to England for many weeks to deal with a death in the family.
Upon Joel’s return, he is horrified to discover his business partner, Karel, has gambled away the club’s money and put them all at risk. Joel buys him out of the club, but when Karel continues to gamble, the people he owes pursue Joel for the debt instead—and they’ll stop at nothing to get paid.
Suddenly Joel and those he cares about—especially Sasha—are in danger, and Joel finds himself with no choice but to seek the help of known criminal, Vincenc Jankovic. Ensuring a happy future for himself and Sasha will mean a struggle and some difficult decisions, but Joel is determined to protect what they’ve built together.
Sasha’s pale face lost the little color it had and he pressed close to me again. “What are you going to do? Can the police help?”
“I haven’t told the police. I don’t know who this man is, or how many people he has working for him. All I have is a description of the man who came into the club. They want the money paying electronically into a bank account, so I don’t even get to meet them. I don’t see what the police can do. They can’t watch us every minute, and they won’t have anything to go on to find this guy. Paying what he’s asking for is the only way I’ll know you’ll be safe.”
“How much?” Sasha whispered.
“It doesn’t matter.” I hugged him tight and breathed in the scent of his skin.
“They want fifteen million.”
Sasha hissed one of his favorite curses in Russian. Then he drew away from me. “It’s too much. After everything Karel did already, it’s too much. You can’t give him the money, Joel. I’ll leave. Then he won’t be able to use me to threaten you.”
“You can’t leave!” I cried, horrified. “I love you. I’m not letting this come between us.”
“It’s the only way. I love you, too, but… fifteen million, Joel. I’m not worth it.”
I thrust him from me and gripped his shoulders hard enough to make him wince. I gave him a little shake before I released the pressure. “You are worth it. Don’t you ever think that. I’m not losing you over money. No way. Besides….” I took a breath. “You think those men will just go away if you disappear? They’ll find something else to blackmail me over.”
“I still think you should call the police. They’re used to dealing with this kind of thing. I know you think they won’t be able to find these guys, but they’ll have ways of doing it we haven’t even thought of.”
“No, Sasha. I’m not taking that risk. And you won’t tell anyone.”
“I said I wouldn’t, didn’t I?” He pulled away, his face angry. “But I think you’re crazy to try to deal with this on your own. You’re not a superhero, Joel.”
“No, I’m just me. An ordinary man with two businesses I worked hard for and a man I love very much. I’m just doing the best I can to hold onto that.”