on January 15, 2015
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When Jacob “Dax” Daxton returns home from war, he has to fight a new battle – the one to find his place in the world. The man who normally has a clear path to victory surrounded by brothers in combat is suddenly lost and alone. After meeting Beckett Ridge, a bearded tattoo artist, Dax’s journey begins winding down an unexpected path.
Still reeling from events that shook his foundation, Beck has never been part of anything meaningful. Now faced with responsibilities foreign and daunting, Dax’s broken spirit mends Beck in ways he never even knew he was destroyed.
As both struggle to find balance, they are healed by the comfort they find in one other. On the other side of chaos, they hope to find themselves On Solid Ground.
I am going to try to relay my deep love of this story without revealing to0 many plots points or the story because experiencing it unfold was powerful.
Jacob “Dax” Daxton is solider returning home and I want to start by saying his PTSD was so well done; it was tangible to the reader and touched my soul. There were times my heart bled for Dax and times I so wished I could reach into my kinde and give him a big hug!
Beckett Ridge is a bearded tattoo artist who focused on building the reputation of his tattoo shop. One with his own dark past; one that when revealed put a lump in my throat.
The first meeting between Dax and Beck is epic and makes you smile because of their bantering in the shop. Their connection was tangible and Dax sitting in Beck’s tattoo chair will have you rooting for these men to find a way to come together.
Experiencing these two men building a friendship and bringing each other comfort made me try to read slower to savor the journey even more.
The secondary characters in this story build a world that sucked me right in; Chloe, Lexxie, the adorable Violet and Tonka all made this story truly powerful, creating an “I wish I could sit and read all day” kind of story.
As this story takes a turn, be prepared with tissues as I gripped my kindle so hard and held my breath hoping these men would find the happy both deserved.
I am not going to tell you what that statement means or how things come together but I will say the epilogue in this book is truly the perfect family for Dax and Beck, yes I said family and no I am not telling what that means….READ the book! Dax’s confession in the epilogue and the stats quoted make this even more powerful.
“All because she said yes” are the final words of this book… I know odd for a gay romance but trust me it works!
This was a wonderful story, the kind of story I am telling countless readers to pick up; it’s so enjoyable and is one that will stuck with me for sometime to come!
Tiptoeing into her room, I bask in the quiet for a few minutes. Sprawled across her Disney Princess comforter, her hair is a mess, sticking up every which way. Her legs jut out from under the covers, her arms tucked under her pillow.
Warmth billows in my chest, a smile slowly spreading across my face. Tenderly wrapping his arms around my waist, Dax moves to my side. His lips press up against my cheek before he whispers, “She’s all sweet and innocent like that, huh?”
“Yeah,” I agree, leaning into his body. Resting against the doorframe, we watch Violet sleep peacefully, each lost in our own private recollections of this past summer. The minutes pass quickly and it isn’t long before we have to wake her up for her first day of school. Rays of sunlight splinter through the blinds, rousing her from sleep.
It takes a few minutes for her to wake up all the way. Stretching her arms and legs out, she flops over onto her back. The movement wakes her up fully. “Today’s the first day of school!” she exclaims excitedly. Shooting upright, a gigantic smile splits her face. “I get to go to school today!” she announces as she leaps out of her bed. Racing over to us, she opens her arms wide, trying to embrace both of us at the same time.
“So I guess you’re excited about it then?” I ask, ruffling her already messy hair.
“Are you kidding?” she huffs, throwing her arms to the side. “It’s totally amazing!” In a flurry of activity I can only liken to that of the Tasmanian Devil, she moves around the room, quickly changing into the outfit she chose last night.
“So little lady,” Dax asks, walking into the room. “What can I make you for breakfast on your first day of school?”
“Waffles,” she answers without thought. “Pretty please?”
“You got it.” Leaning down he kisses the top of her head, before ghosting his fingers over my upper arm. Winking at me as he turns to leave, he kisses me on the cheek once again, whispering, “I love you,” before walking out to make breakfast.
We’d worked it out like this last night. Wanting a few minutes with her to myself, Dax had offered to make himself scarce so I could talk to her. With everything that happened with Nikki less than a month old, I debated delaying the start of school for her. Dax was willing to do whatever I felt was right, but that was the problem. I had no idea what was right. Oftentimes, I felt completely and utterly clueless. Yet, here I was. A parent.
That’s some scary fucking shit right there.
So after talking about it with Dax some more, we asked his mom what she would have done and with her advice, we both made the decision to send Violet to school just like any regular kid, despite having only recently witnessing the unthinkable.
We know that her adjustment won’t be easy, that she’ll face struggles other five year olds won’t even have to think about, but she has us.
“Hey, sugar pop,” I call her attention away from the hot-pink sneakers she’s trying to tie. “Need help?” She nods, smiling brightly up at me.
Jumping up onto the bed, she hands me her brush and turns away from me. “Pigtails, please.”
With clumsy fingers, I get to work, trying my best to keep the part straight and the tails even. Realizing her hair is the same color as Nikki’s makes my heart hurt. She’s going to be beautiful, just like her mother. A bundle of nerves takes up residence in my gut, wondering if I’ll ever be enough. I know I won’t really ever be, but I just want to be sure that I don’t fail her. Swallowing back the lump of emotions clogging my throat, I say, “There. All done.”
Violet spins around and launches herself into my arms. “Thank you.” Her voice is muffled against my chest. Her tiny arms shake with the ferocity of her hug, making me feel like at least right now, in this moment, I’m exactly what she needs.
“Smell that?” I ask, pulling her up from the bed.
She nods. “Yep, smells delicious. Let’s eat,” she declares, racing from the room.
* * * * *
Catching sight of the bright yellow school bus as it rounds the corner chokes me up more than I would have expected. Dax notices it and pulls me to his side, squeezing my shoulder in silent support. But it’s not lost on me that he’s willing to publicly display his affections now. Recognizing that chokes me up for an entirely different reason.
Squatting in front of her, Dax straightens the straps of her back pack. “Have a great day. I’ll be right here when the bus drops you off,” he reassures her before kissing her on the cheek. Joining them, I kneel in front of her.
Before kissing her other cheek, I tell her, “I love you. Have a good day.” It takes more effort than I care to admit to keep my emotions in check.
Turning away from us, she begins walking up the steps to the bus. She looks over her shoulder, waving wildly. “Love you guys. See you later,” she says with more confidence than I would have thought she’d have.
“That wasn’t too bad, huh? Better than you were expecting,” Dax asks, elbowing me in my side playfully as we walk back to the apartment complex.
Pinching the bridge of my nose while secretly trying to swipe away a stray tear, I quietly mumble, “Yeah, much better.”
When we walk back into our apartment, Dax’s face softens when he catches sight of mine, pulled and twisted in concern. “Hey,” he says softly, stepping close to me, his hand tenderly stroking my face. “You’re doing a damn good job, babe.” His casual use of the term of endearment calms me, steadies me.
It grounds me.
“We are,” I say, almost inaudibly. Responding to his unasked question written on his “scrunched in confusion” face, I clarify, “We are.” Gesturing between us before pulling him into a tight embrace, I explain, “I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing without you.” Mumbling against his neck, I hug him with all my strength. “You make us possible.” Cupping his face in my hands, I stare into his eyes, begging him to understand the depth of my words. “I love you, Dax. So does Violet. You’re our family. You’re my family.”
Without warning, his mouth crashes into mine, reassuring me that he fully understands the gravity of my emotions. His lips dance atop mine, his tongue seeking entrance. His kiss, soft and passionate, hard and demanding, reassures me of our love and sets me on fire with our need. Myhands race all over his body, tangling in his hair.
Gasping for air, Dax pulls back from me, his eyes heavy with lust. “You need to go,” he mutters before ghosting his lips over mine one last time.
Shooting him a quizzical look, I hook my thumbs through the belt loops on his cargo shorts. My hardened dick presses against his hip, sending shocks of desire coursing all over my body. “Go?” I ask, letting humor tinge my lust-filled question. “Why would I want to do that?”
The long, thick column of his neck shifts under his hard swallow. “Work,” is the only single word he can manage as I feel his length grow against mine.
Keeping my eyes trained on his, I shake my head. “Playing hooky,” I explain. Cupping the back of his head once again, I pull his mouth to mine. “We’ve had to be entirely too quiet with Violet around so I wanted you all to myself today.” With subtle force, I walk us into the kitchen, never disentangling my arms from his body. “I need you,” the words tumble from my mouth as I trail kisses along his stubbled jaw.
He offers a subtle grunt in return as he allows me to take the lead. His need to be taken is as strong as my need to do the taking. Pushing him up against the counter, I quickly rid him of his shorts. He pushes them to the floor and kicks them to the side as his fingers fumble with the zipper of mine. The instant my hand wraps around his dick and his around mine, it’s there – that feeling of complete and utter connectedness, of being whole and complete.
It’s only ever been there with Dax.
Sinking to my knees, I take him into my mouth, loving him with my lips and tongue. His moans of appreciation are all I need to know he’s more than enjoying himself. His fingers comb through my hair, pulling on the ends, shoving himself all the way to the back of my throat.
Dax arches his back, leaning his elbows against the counter. That’s when Violet’s lunch box crashes to the floor, spilling its contents everywhere. The noise startles me and he falls from my mouth with a loud pop. “What the?”
“Shit, sorry.” He kneels next to me, gathering her sandwich and juice box. The sight of him, half-naked, half-aroused, and holding a Queen Elsa thermos in his hand makes me laugh out loud. “What’s so funny?” he asks, poking me in the chest with his free hand.
Unable to get a word out past my laughter, he has no choice but to take stock of the scene. “You wouldn’t be laughing so hard if it was your blowjob that was interrupted!”
Shaking my head, I swipe a hand over my face and agree, “No. No I probably wouldn’t be.” Dax stands and repacks Violet’s lunch box. I hand him his shorts and wrap my arms around his waist from behind.
“How does this sound?” He spins in my arms, the hint of a smirk still pulling on his lips. “We’ll go drop this off for her then head down to the beach. I’m sure we can find a quiet spot where we can finish what we started.”
Heat flares in his eyes as he nods in agreement. “Sounds like a plan,” he mumbles against my lips.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” I promise as he slides he shorts on.
“I know you will.” He smirks again, lightly slapping my cheek. “And then I’ll take care of you.” His words are tinged in love and lust, heat and need, making me more than anxious to see exactly what he has in mind for my retribution.