Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a contemporary M/M romance novella from Yolande Kleinn. SOMETHING BORROWED features a public defender who needs a date to his ex’s wedding, and ends up bringing the judge, a longtime mentor for whom he’s has a deep crush on, as a date. This is the second book from the author I have read. If you are into taboo menage, you might want to check out COVET.
Scroll down for an excerpt and to enter the $10 GC giveaway.
About the book:
When public defender Trevor Ortega finds himself dateless for his ex’s wedding, faking a relationship seems like the perfect solution. Less perfect is his thoughtless impulse to invite Sebastian Greer—friend, federal judge, and former boss—as his plus one. It would be a solid plan if not for one problem: Trevor’s been in love with Sebastian for years, and each fraudulent touch will remind him of everything he can’t have.
Trevor doesn’t know why Sebastian agreed to his scheme, but there’s no backing out now. It’s only one night after all, and what’s a little heartbreak between friends?
How about a little taste?
As the voice droned steadily in his ear, the only thought in Trevor Ortega’s head was, Too bad a stunning location can’t salvage an interminable evening.
He scanned the rooftop garden, taking in the way starlight and a crescent moon glowed across cement pathways and eerily symmetrical greenery. A high stone wall ran the perimeter of the roof, and past it stretched a downtown cityscape reaching all the way to the river and beyond.
Whoever had coaxed their way into using this rooftop bower as a charity venue had seriously outdone themselves. Understated strings of lights illuminated chairs, white-draped tables, and a long banquet spread, plus a narrow counter where waitstaff served drinks.
The glass of champagne in Trevor’s hand was untouched and likely to stay that way. These events wound him too tight to drink. He’d never understood how his fellow attorneys didn’t share his reluctance. Tonight’s entire tableau felt so starched and formal, so full of people he desperately wanted to impress. After five years settled in as a public defender, he still couldn’t imagine relaxing at a gala like this.
The air had cooled considerably now that the sun had set. Even with the extra weight of his nicest suit jacket, Trevor shivered a little. If he could simply appreciate the atmosphere in silence, he could trick himself into enjoying the party.
Of course, silence was more than he could reasonably hope for tonight.
He smiled blandly at the man still talking to him. Trevor had only fleetingly caught the name offered in greeting. He probably should have tried harder to retain the information, if only to avoid crossing paths in the future. Sharp skinny angles gave his relentless conversational partner an intimidating air, the impression not at all helped by aggressive eyebrows and a sweep of receding white hair. The man’s expressionless mouth had not stopped moving for ten solid minutes. Trevor hadn’t been able to sneak in a single word to excuse himself. Somehow, the other cornered parties had all managed to escape, leaving him the sole recipient of a furious diatribe about the tax code.
Trevor didn’t mind conversations about tax codes, as a general rule. They could be fascinating in the right company. But here in this moment, words flowing over him without clarity or inflection, the topic bored him to tears. He couldn’t decide if having already eaten made the situation worse or better. On the one hand, he’d be cranky as hell if he were putting up with all this on an empty stomach, waiting in vain for a chance to escape to the banquet line. On the other hand, his full stomach meant the steady lull of his colleague’s voice was making him legitimately sleepy.
Trevor didn’t want to be here in the first place. Now that he’d fulfilled his obligation to make an appearance and could discreetly depart in good conscience, he had no graceful way to extricate himself from a one-sided conversation so dull he would prefer a concussion. It would be a different matter if this were a total stranger—Trevor might be willing to risk interrupting him midword—but he vaguely knew the man as a spouse of someone-or-other whom he couldn’t risk offending.
A shadow fell past Trevor’s elbow as someone approached him from behind. Even without knowing who the shadow belonged to, an instantaneous rush of relief cut beneath his skin. Any interruption at all could be enough of an opening to enable escape if he played his hand right.
Then he turned—had to tilt his head back to meet the new arrival’s eyes—and grinned in recognition.
Sebastian Greer stood at his elbow, tall and broad and so handsome it wasn’t fair.
“Trevor.” Sebastian greeted him with a nod, then turned an apologetic smile toward the argumentative tax attorney, who had finally stumbled midsentence. “Mr. Callum, I hope you’ll forgive the intrusion. I’ve got a professional question for Mr. Ortega. Can I borrow him for a moment?”
With difficulty, Trevor contained his grin. If he let it spread too wide, it would broadcast his relief plainly, never mind that he was so grateful for the intervention he could kiss Sebastian here and now.
Thoughts of kissing Sebastian Greer could only lead to incurable distraction and embarrassment if he were caught staring, so Trevor set the notion aside with the efficiency of long practice. He raised his glass in a parting gesture toward Mr. Callum, trying not to appear overly pleased, then let his former boss lead him away.
With every step toward relative seclusion, Trevor tried not to notice how effortlessly gorgeous Sebastian looked in his tuxedo. Wide shoulders filled the dark jacket without straining the fabric. A bow tie sat perfectly knotted under the round line of his jaw, and the crisp white of his collar stood out dramatically against warm umber skin. Sebastian’s eyes glittered in the moonlight, and Trevor clenched his teeth.
It wasn’t fucking fair. An overworked federal circuit judge had no business looking like he just strode out of a fashion shoot. Even the silvering hair at his temples could have been a touch-up for the cover of a magazine.
How was Trevor supposed to keep his composure in front of a knight in shining armor this devastatingly handsome?
Somehow, whether through willpower or desperation, he managed to tamp down the cascade of uninvited feelings as he and Sebastian reached an empty corner of the roof. Trevor hoped his smile was visible through the shadows and that it conveyed a reasonable level of gratitude.
“Thanks for the rescue.”
“Thanks aren’t necessary.” Sebastian wore a distinctly smug expression as he sipped from the drink in his own hand. It could have been a gin and tonic, but it was probably just club soda with lime. Trevor wasn’t the only one who wouldn’t risk being inebriated among a crowd of his peers. “I thought I recognized the flicker of glazed displeasure in your eyes. If I misgauged, I offer my most sincere apologies.”
Trevor snorted at the familiar veneer of decorum in Sebastian’s teasing, then sipped his drink to keep from admitting he would forgive nearly anything for the sake of Sebastian’s company.
When he trusted himself to manage something more measured than longing, he said, “‘Glazed displeasure’ might be an understatement. I’d legitimately started to wonder if I should fake a fainting spell to make him go away. I was scouting for an escape hatch when he cornered me.”
Trevor nearly choked on another half-hearted sip of champagne when Sebastian asked, “Can I join your escape attempt? There’s an excellent bar half a block away.”
Maybe it was silly to be surprised by the suggestion. Sebastian had invited him out for drinks and meals any number of times since their professional paths had parted ways—and in any case, the invitation was never for anything more intimate than a casual evening between colleagues, no matter how fervently Trevor might wish otherwise. They’d never socialized off the clock while he was Sebastian’s law clerk, but the five years since had been different. Trevor didn’t think he’d imagined the way they had slipped gradually across the line from professional acquaintances to friends.
“God, yes, please let’s do that.” He prayed his helpless infatuation didn’t echo too obviously through the words.
Trevor Ortega is a bisexual man who is also a public defender. After law school, he clerked for Judge Sebastian Greer, a man he admired both professionally and personally while they worked together for five or so years. During law school and for a few years after, Trevor dated Emma, a wealthy and astute woman. His emotional and physical distance due to school and work duties eventually tore their relationship apart, but they have maintained a strong friendship. Which has even withstood Emma now being engaged to his former law school rival, Sloane.
He’s kind of pouring out his struggle, about having to go to Emma and Sloane’s wedding stag, to Sebastian, and he’s stunned when Sebastian offers to attend as his date. It’s like nearly Trevor’s fantasy come true, to spend an evening with Sebastian affectionate, attentive, and close-at-hand. Sebastian deftly manages the toxic currents of conversation that Trevor struggles with in Emma’s social sphere, but it’s not real. It can’t be, can it? The big complication arises as they imbibe and the lines between fake boyfriend and wanna-be lover become blurred. Sebastian’s brother happens to be a surprise guest, having been a mentor to Sloane over the years. He knows Sebastian’s secret desires, and calls him out for never being honest with Trevor–now that they have not been in a mentor-mentee relationship for several years.
It’s a sweet and captivating novella that really warms the heart. All the folks here are decent and compassionate. Trevor really does wish both Emma and Sloane well, he just doesn’t want to be seen as inadequate, and Sebastian makes it clear he never once considered Trevor as anything but first-class. I hesitate to call it a “slow burn” since it’s so short, but there is definitely a cadence that allows Trevor and Sebastian to find their footing as lovers quickly, due to their longstanding friendship and mutual respect and admiration.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Yolande Kleinn is a shameless dreamer, a stubborn optimist, and a purveyor of erotic romance. Excitable, fastidious and just a little eclectic, she spends every spare moment writing the stories she wants to read. If she can drag other people into the pool along with her, then so much the better.