Conner Sutherland never thought he'd meet the love of his life in the Afterlife…
Conner Sutherland has been alone for a long time. He can't remember the last time he even felt the desire to be touched by another man. Sometime before his death, when he'd still been Laine's lover. But Laine had found Severo years ago, and if any two people were meant for each other it was Laine and Sev. Where that leaves Conner, he doesn't know, other than feeling lost and out of sorts.
He doesn't want to think about the way he feels when he sees Ro—Rogelio, Sev's nephew. Conner's seen Ro grow from pretty boy into a handsome man, but wanting him is foolish and useless. Ro's got a life to live, and even if he does things that hurt Conner, that's not Ro's fault. He doesn't know he entranced Conner long ago.
Ro has only ever wanted one man for keeps. It's a pointless want, though, because Conner Sutherland is dead and too busy pranking Laine and Sev to notice Ro anyway.
But life, and death, have a way of surprising you, as Ro and Conner find out.
About the Author
A native Texan, Bailey spends her days spinning stories around in her head, which has contributed to more than one incident of tripping over her own feet. Evenings are reserved for pounding away at the keyboard, as are early morning hours. Sleep? Doesn't happen much. Writing is too much fun, and there are too many characters bouncing about, tapping on Bailey's brain demanding to be let out.
Caffeine and chocolate are permanent fixtures in Bailey's office and are never far from hand at any given time. Removing either of those necessities from Bailey's presence can result in what is known as A Very, Very Scary Bailey and is not advised under any circumstances.
Read an Excerpt
Copyright © Bailey Bradford 2015. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
"Hey, Ro, can you get the oven mitts for me?" Severo asked as he opened the oven door.
Rogelio Martinez plucked the mitts from the counter top and handed them to his uncle Sev. The heat from the oven wafted out and Ro stepped back, swiping at his brow. "Are they ready?"
"I think so." Sev pulled out the bubbling enchiladas. The spicy scent of them filled the kitchen and Ro’s stomach gurgled with anticipation. Between the enchiladas and the tortillas, both homemade, he was about to drown himself in drool. He swallowed and greeted his uncle Laine as he came into the kitchen. "Hey, Uncle Laine, how was work?"
Laine took off his Stetson and held it in one hand as he walked over to Sev. The kiss they shared was brief but the love between the two men was evident in the way they leaned towards each other, and in their expressions.
Rogelio’s heart pinched with something uncomfortably like jealousy. He didn’t want to be ugly, and he didn’t begrudge his uncles their love. He just… He wanted a love like that for himself. Well, and another man, duh. As he watched Sev and Laine, Ro’s mind wandered to his fantasy man. Ro had pictured him so many times since he’d realised he was gay. Thick blond hair, stocky, muscular build, and a smile that promised all kinds of mischief.
Ro blinked and shook his head. The image forming in his mind wasn’t one of a man he’d ever had. It was of a picture he’d seen years ago when, as a teen, he’d gone snooping into Sev’s past. It had twined with Laine’s, and Ro had been a naïve and romantic young fool, so entranced by Sev and Laine’s love story that he hadn’t been able to think of much else.
"You gonna help set the table, kid?"
Laine’s deep rumbling voice snapped Ro out of his thoughts. "Yeah, sure."
Ro took the plain blue plates down from the shelf and placed them on the table. It didn’t take him long to lay out silverware and glasses of sweet tea. Laine made up a batch of guacamole while Sev finished up the salsa. They sat down at the table once everything was in place.
Laine arched a brow at him and pointed at the enchiladas. "Two or three?"
"Three." Ro was thin as a whip but he could and did eat anything he wanted.
Sev sniffed at him. "I used to have that kind of metabolism. It’ll catch up to you, trust me."
"I doubt that," Ro said as he scooped some guacamole onto his plate. He was starving, but he could spare a moment to pick on his uncle. "You’re still in shape, and you’re getting old."
Sev hissed and kicked him under the table. "I am not old, smart ass. And Laine’s older than me, anyway!"
Ro nodded and managed not to grimace as his shin took another kick. "Yeah, but Laine has always looked…" Ro waited for Laine to glare at him, then he sent Laine his sweetest smile. "Dignified."
Laine snorted and muttered, "Dignified, my ass. Sayin’ I always looked old is what you’re sayin’."
Ro hitched up a shoulder and shovelled a forkful of enchiladas into his mouth. He closed his eyes and moaned appreciatively as the hot cheese almost burnt his tongue. He wasn’t the only one enjoying the meal, either. The three men quit picking on each other and settled in to eat.
A prickling sensation caused the hairs on the back of Ro’s neck to stand up. His skin flushed with an awareness that he’d come to recognise. Sev cocked his head, but Laine kept eating, right up until the time that his plate scooted away from him.
Laine grabbed his plate and glared around the room. "Aw, damn it, Conner! You’re just jealous because you can’t have any!"
Sev shook his head. "He can have yours," he said just as Laine’s plate was lifted off the table.
Laine leapt up from his seat but the plate spun up until its contents almost touched the ceiling.
"Conner…" Laine growled.
Ro’s pulse raced and he grew warm in places he just shouldn’t while sitting at his uncles’ table. Ro set his fork down and pressed his hands to his thighs, digging his fingertips hard against his legs to distract himself from the wave of arousal washing over him. Only someone like him would have a crush on a dead guy with a love for pranks.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Connor has been the mischevious spirit from book 1, even when it wasn't the right time or place. So much so, that Sev is very surprised when Connor makes a comment and he is 100% correct about it. It was wonderful to read this part, and I hope that Connor gets the recognition for it, and realises that he doesn't have to be the pesky spirit all the time. Going by the end of the book, he still has that cheeky side but has rounded out other aspects of his personality. Another aspect of this book that I enjoyed is that Laine, Sev and all the others, are AGING!! Yes, what happens to most people has now caught up to the town of McKinton. Although this is an unexpected twist that usually doesn't appear in books, I really enjoyed this, and even enjoyed Connor's stealing of Sev's hair dye and facial creams. With a supernatural sweet and hot love story, this is perfect for Connor and Ro's happy ending, whilst still leaving it open for more fun and frolics. Don't get me wrong though, this isn't always nice. There is a section about how Ro deals with his mum's death that is hard reading. JD is not a nice person and whilst I wanted him to get his comeuppance, I also understand that it wouldn't have been possible without raking Ro's name through the mud. A wonderful addition to the series and definitely recommended. * I received this book from Pride Publishing in return for a fair and honest review. * Merissa Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
While I enjoyed Ascension, it required more of a suspension of reality than the previous installments in the series. After all, we’re looking at a relationship between Conner, who we’ve only known as a spirit, and Sev’s nephew Rogelio. Without spoiling the book for potential readers, this means you are either going to have a relationship between a spirit and a living being OR two spirits if Ro were to pass away during the book. As the blurb intimates of Conner feeling desire for the first time in many, many years, it’s pretty much a given that we’ll be treated to some hot sex regardless of the nature of the pairing. So either way, you should be prepared for even more of a paranormal angle to the story than we’ve seen in previous installments because living or dead, Bradford brings the heat to McKinton. Ascension takes place quite a few years after What Remains and we’re meeting a 28 year-old Rogelio, who still resides in McKinton with his parents as his mother’s health has been failing over the years and his father can use the help in caring for her. When Alma passes sooner than expected, we are given the first glimpse within the series of what happens to those spirits not bound to the world and it scared the bejeezus out of Conner because he didn’t want to leave Laine, Sev, or even Rogelio behind. Having been close to his mother, Ro took her passing hard and spiraled downward into a depression that had him engaging in some risky behaviors. Ro’s apathy made it easy for him to fall victim to a man whose treatment of him was abusive and even though the author is kind enough not to make the reader watch the man we last knew as a boy be mistreated, there is enough information provided that you have no doubt of what happened to Ro. When one thing leads to another, Conner finds himself claiming the young man he has fallen in love with over the years, surprised to learn that the feelings of affection are returned. And the two men embark upon a relationship that knows no bounds. Whereas the previous books in the series have had more of a contemporary romance feel with just a little paranormal twist to them, Ascension is a full-fledged paranormal romance. As much as I hated what Ro endured when his mother passed, I liked that he was able to find comfort in Conner and that the two men were finally able to express their feelings for each other. The time frame within the book is hard to pin down, but that seems intentional because Conner’s concept of time is more fluid as a spirit. That combined with the shared history between Conner and Ro kept it from feeling like an insta-love situation when Ro’s psychic ability finally manifested. True to form, Bradford insures that the men are able to consummate their relationship and it is heavenly (pun intended). I was surprised that more didn’t come of the JD angle, especially considering the man approached Ro’s father and Laine found out about it. Ascension was an enjoyable addition to the Southern Spirts series and I’m looking forward to reading Stefan’s story in Whirlwind as the little bit I saw of Stefan at the end of Ascension hints at a rather interesting dynamic. I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!