Choices Made in a MOMENT OF SILENCE–Excerpt, Review and Giveaway!

Moments-BannerHi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a book out today, MOMENT OF SILENCE from Karen Stivali. The Moments in Time series, featuring the novellas MOMENT OF IMPACT, MOMENT OF TRUTH, and MOMENT OF CLARITY, is a contemporary M/M romance that I’ve really enjoyed. This mixed-faith, mixed up romance is so tender and sweet. It just plain melted me.

Be sure to check out my review and enter to win an ebook for yourself.

MomentofSilenceFSAbout the book:
Growing up, Jason Stern led a charmed life complete with devoted sisters, a father who was one of Brooklyn’s most respected rabbis, and a mother who made the world’s best babka. He headed to NYU ready for anything—except falling for the wrong guy, coming out, and getting disowned by his once-loving family. In spite of that, Jason managed to graduate with honors. He’s got friends who treat him like family, and he’s proudly running the largest LGBTQ teen shelter in Manhattan. Life is good, but he’s still falling for the wrong men.

When charming, sexy Quinn Fitzpatrick begins work at the shelter, Jason falls hard and fast. Quinn is tall, blond, funny—damn near perfect. Only if Quinn’s gay, even he doesn’t seem to know it. If he does, he’s not telling anyone. And he’s about one ceremony away from becoming a Catholic priest.

Long hours of work turn to long nights of talking and laughter, and Jason dares to hope this time he’s falling for the right guy. But Quinn’s got a past to deal with and major decisions to make about his future. When Quinn leaves for a silent retreat, Jason knows the silence may change everything.

A Yummy taste!

Pierogi were just what the evening required. We got two orders, potato with fried onions, and cheese doused in butter. To round things out, we added a gigantic link of kielbasa and finished it all off with blueberry blintzes. By the time we were done eating, I was so full I could barely move.

“This was awesome.” Quinn licked a purple streak of blueberry off his fork before setting it down and pushing his plate away.

I was too mesmerized by the sight of his tongue to speak right away.

The waitress stopped at our booth. “All set?”

“Yeah, thanks.”

She placed the paper check between us, and Quinn reached for it, but I grabbed it first. “I’ve got this one. Make up for the popcorn you gave away.”

“You don’t have to do that.” He pulled out his wallet and put a twenty on the table.

“You can’t let anyone do anything for you, can you?”

Quinn’s eyes bugged, then softened. “Yeah, I guess I do have a problem with that sometimes.”

“Sometimes?”

“Okay, most of the time.”

“You know what they say. The first step is admitting you have a problem. And the second is letting me pay for dinner.” I stuck the check and enough money for the meal and tip under the glass sugar shaker, then grabbed Quinn’s twenty, folded it in half, leaned over, and tucked it into his shirt pocket.

My fingers were in the pocket before I fully realized what I was doing. Then the whole universe condensed into the drag of my fingers on that two-inch-square area of his chest. His rock-solid chest that tightened the instant I made contact. My own chest froze, devoid of air. I’d forgotten how to breathe. All I could do was think about the fact that I had my hand on this man who’d consumed my waking and sleeping hours for weeks. And I had to let go. Literally.

I pulled my hand away, trying to turn the rush of breath that returned to my lungs into something resembling a laugh. “Ready to get out of here?”

Quinn nodded.

Shit. He’s silent again. Did he notice that moment of fantasy lust I just played out? What the fuck is wrong with me? Way to make him uncomfortable. Fuck—My monologue of self-criticism was interrupted by his hand on my shoulder.

His hand was probably a normal temperature, but given the heat it generated in my body, he might as well have been the Human Torch . Great. I’m not only in love with a straight priest, he’s also a superhero.

Quinn chuckled, and for a second I worried I’d said my crazy thoughts out loud. My face flushed to match the heat that coursed through the rest of me. “What?”

He handed me my keys. “You left these on the table.”

“Oh.” I took them, heat flaring through me in another rush when his fingers brushed mine as he placed the keyring in my hand. “Thanks. Geez. That would have sucked if I’d left those here.”

“Yeah.”

My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I nearly tripped over the step as we left the restaurant. It was a text from Campbell. I laughed. “Apparently my roommate’s having an orange juice crisis, as in we’re out of orange juice. I need to stop at the bodega on the way home. I feel like we’re married sometimes. In a weird, sexless way.” Stop talking. Now.

“It’s good you get along so well.”

I gestured to the store on the next corner. “You need anything?”

“Nah. I’m too full to even think about eating or drinking anything.”

“The power of the pierogi.”

He grinned. “See you tomorrow?”

“Get some sleep. Tomorrow we’ll work on those shelves. Unless you think we need to run the math one more time.”

“Just triple-checking your skills.” The teasing sound in his voice made me want to stay on that corner and talk to him all night. Anything to keep hold of the pleasant hum that was vibrating through my body. But then he turned away, heading toward his place, hand in the air in a backward wave of sorts. “Good night.”

It was indeed. “Night.”

My Review:
This is the fourth book in a series, but can be fully enjoyed as a standalone book.

Jason is on his own, working as a grants writer and administrator for a shelter home for LGBTQ teens/young adults who have been turned out due to their sexuality. Jason knows this experience first hand–five years ago his father, the esteemed Rabbi Stern, disowned him for coming out. He’s had no contact with his family since, and has relied on the strong friendship with Campbell–who literally saved him from homelessness–to get by.

While supervising the renovation of a bigger living space for the shelter, Jason meets Quinn, the eldest brother of Collin Fitzpatrick from the first three books in this series. Quinn attended seminary, and is expected to take his final vows of the priesthood any day now. He took a short leave of absence to consider his path, and is enjoying his time working as the lead carpenter on the shelter rehab job.

Jason is completely gone over Quinn–and his internal monologue is hysterical. Jason–raised a conservative Jew–has given up his faith following his father’s banishment, but he’s sensitive to the idea of seducing a priest. Still, it’s been a long time since Jason’s had a buddy, and he and Quinn just click. They go out for dinners and drinks as two friends would, with Jason’s lust rolling at a low simmer. They spend gobs and gobs of time together, with Jason becoming increasingly frustrated with his inability to NOT love Quinn.

Expect Jason’s feelings to be reciprocated. Ten-fold.

As Jason and Quinn find each other, in the Biblical sense,  Jason’s called on by his sister to help with another domestic issue. Jason’s overwhelmed by family drama, but thankful to have some reconciliations on the horizon. All the while, Quinn steps up as boyfriend, and carpenter. Their days are numbers by the length of time to rehab the building. The shelter’s grand opening (and Quinn’s departure) draws steadily nearer.

This book is so about the feels. Jason’s agony is palpable. His wistfulness regarding his family is present in the pages as poignant micro-flashbacks. I was completely with him, throughout. This story is told only from Jason’s POV, which helps keep the tension high. We don’t know how Quinn’s feeling until he reveals himself, and that’s only after several long bouts of deep thinking. Quinn’s decision to pursue a romance with Jason is monumental, and world-changing for him. It means disappointing his bigoted mother, and walking away from a career in the church that he’s worked toward since his was 15–ten years now. Expect serious HEAs–not only on the romance, but on the family side, as well.

I was really touched by the beautiful moments of family and friends and festivity. Quinn being taught to make latkes from scratch by Jason’s mom. Campbell and his gram taking Jason into their family when he was adrift. Jason’s sister Leah’s plight–pregnant by a good man who won’t be accepted in their family, and fearing that she’ll be cast out just like Jason. There are great secondary characters here, but the focus is always on Jason, and Quinn. They have such a tender love, with Jason being a patient teacher to novice Quinn. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and scorching. We’ve seen a similar scenario in earlier MOMENTS books (with Collin and Tanner) yet it didn’t feel derivative.

I’ve enjoyed all the Moments in Time books, but this one is my fave, so far. It’s a fully rounded novel with great plot turns and deep emotions, not swamped in angst. That said, I wished we had a LITTLE more time of experiencing Jason’s anxiety during the SILENCE part of the book. I wanted to tag along to his tattoo appointment and experience his decision-making there. I wanted to mope, just a bit longer. I heard he moped, but three days of depression happened in a few statements. The distortion of time leeched a bit of the tension away, for me. Still, the book’s great and I’m glad to hear there are more stories on the horizon!

Interested? You can find MOMENT OF SILENCE on Goodreads, Dreamspinner Press (Ebook and Paperback) Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and AllRomance.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win an e-book of MOMENT OF IMPACT, book one in the series.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

Also! Check out the sale on the boxed set of the three Moments in Time novellas! $.99 for the lot over on Amazon and Dreamspinner Press.

99 cent sale MIT  

About the author:
Karen Stivali is a prolific writer, compulsive baker and chocoholic with a penchant for books, movies, and fictional British men. She’s also the multiple award-winning author of contemporary and erotic romances. She writes novels about love…like real life, only hotter.

Her lifelong fascination with people has led her to careers ranging from hand-drawn animator, to party planner, to marriage and family counselor, but writing has always been her passion. Karen enjoys nothing more than following her characters on their journey toward love. Whether the couples are m/f or m/m, it’s guaranteed that Karen’s novels are filled with food, friendship, love, and smoking hot sex—all the best things in life.

When Karen isn’t writing (and often when she is), she can be found on Twitter attempting witty banter and detailing the antics of her fruit-loving cat, BadKitteh. She loves to hear from readers (and other writers), so don’t hesitate to contact/follow/like her at Twitter, Facebook, or her website.
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