Bronze Star

Title: Bronze Star
Series: Veterans Affairs #5
Pages: 300

Rich, beautiful, and talented, Chris Dobbs is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants now is his dangerously handsome and intensely private boss, former Army Ranger, Jay-Cee.

Everything about the tightly-controlled, brooding artist drives Chris to knees in more ways than one, ways Chris realizes he’s always craved but never understood. He needs to know how Jay-Cee does it.

When Chris smashes through all of Jay-Cee’s hard-earned control, Chris learns that while giving Jay-Cee his body and his submission is as simple as breathing, Jay-Cee wants things Chris can never give him - his heart, his soul, and his trust.

Jay-Cee offered his brilliant young protégé everything, let him see parts of himself Jay-Cee had buried long ago in the mountains of Afghanistan. In return, Chris took only the pieces he wanted and rejected the rest, leaving Jay-Cee reeling.

Both haunted by their pasts, the deep connection holds the promise of healing for both of them, but if they are to build a sanctuary from the rubble of their broken hearts, they are going to have to risk losing everything.

This is such a wonderful and heartwarming story. Chris and Jay-Cee each seem to have just the very thing the other one needs to fill them up and given them a more complete life. Each man has made a life for himself and worked on their own set of issues. I enjoyed the real struggle they had in developing their relationship with each other. This was a wonderful and satisfying read.

Katy Beth

I made it to 80% before I had to throw in the towel. Just way, way, way too much angst for me.

Gigi on Goodreads

Chris circled the table, critically examining the collection of bronze statues crowding the space. Cold to the hand even in the sweltering heat of the studio, the metal cast a warm glow over his pale skin as he inspected each statue. Sun streaming through the high windows picked out the highlights on his platinum blond hair and threw sparks off the metal bars in the cartilage of his ear as he went around and around. A heavy metal lightning bolt pendant swung from a chain around his neck.

Leaving the table, he paced over to the group of life-size bronze nudes standing near the door. He ran a hand appreciatively over Hermes’ perfect chest and Apollo’s firm buttocks, threading his way carefully between them.

“When you’re done feeling up my sculptures, want to help me wrap them up?” Jay-Cee’s quiet voice rumbled from a dim corner.

Chris had known he was there; had felt the sculptor’s eyes on him ever since he pulled off his sweaty t-shirt. The temperature outside had been climbing steadily all day, creeping over a hundred degrees by late afternoon. Even Jay-Cee had given in, unclipping the strap of his overalls and letting the soft denim hang down from his waist.

Jay-Cee stepped into the rectangle of light on the gray cement floor. His sweat- and clay-stained white t-shirt clung to his chest, and Chris could make out the faint colored patterns of the tattoos underneath it. 
He’d often wondered if Jay-Cee’s clothes covered more tattoos to match the one that started on Jay-Cee’s neck and cascaded over his shoulder and arms to his scarred knuckles.

“Seems a pity to cover them up,” Chris said, fingers trailing down the curved muscles of the statue nearest him. The nervous energy sparking up and down his spine drove him, and he flitted from statue to statue and then back to the table.

“Chris,” Jay-Cee said, the one word heavy with meaning.

Chris’s next pass around the table took him within inches of where Jay-Cee stood, and he slowed to a stop. Jay-Cee stood silently in front of him, and Chris felt a different kind of heat filling up the space between them now. He didn’t even try to hide his appraisal as he took in the man who was his boss, but could be so much more if he would let Chris in. 
He knew Jay-Cee was attracted to him; he didn’t particularly hide it. He’d never acted on it, and Chris hadn’t pushed it, so they stayed in this precarious stalemate.

Everything about Jay-Cee was perfect in Chris’s eyes, from his thick silver hair to the short beard Chris would give anything to feel rubbing against his thighs, to the wiry muscles of his arms. The twenty year age gap only added to his perfection. 
Chris had experienced more in his twenty-two hard years than most people ever did and a lot of it was bad. In Jay-Cee’s eyes, Chris thought he saw a shared pain, and he wanted Jay-Cee to tell him how he’d survived it; to tell him how Chris could survive it, too.

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