Category Archives: Susan Mac Nicol

WORTH KEEPING by SUSAN MAC NICOL

worth keeping

SYNOPSIS
Abused horrifically as a boy, Nick Mathers has come to terms with his existence as a man. Mostly. Other days life seems a little much. Especially when Nick knows he’ll always be alone.
On those days his thoughts turn black. He walks the Norfolk coast and considers the frigid embrace of the waves. And then, one stormy night, he finds someone who’s tasted just that. The beautiful stranger on the beach is near death, and Nick rushes him home to slowly nurse back to health. As he does, he finds a love unlike any other. Owen Butler’s body is as warm as the sea was cold, his heart as big as an ocean. And Owen is a man who swears to repay the favor. Nick can yet be saved from himself, and he will see that he is indeed a man…
WORTH KEEPING

worth pic

Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte

G&J: 4.5 Stars

“Leave me.”…”Let me die.”

Gitte: Wow, there’s no doubt is there Jenny, Susan Mac Nicol sure writes beautiful, flawless and emotional stories. I think I’ve cried every time I’ve read one of her books. Her characters are lovable, funny, and sexy and have a real emotional depth to them. This time we got cheekiness too and a monkey named Socks, which I loved and made me laugh! I have to say I found Worth Keeping had just about everything you’d love in a story; angst, passion, drama, suspense and humour in abundance and the fact that the insta-love didn’t bother me speaks volumes about the class of this lady’s writing!

Worth Keeping was extremely dark at times; covering rape, abuse and violence, the writing is so brilliant, I sometimes felt sick and had constant tears in my eyes. It was also full of love, hope and inspiration.

“Please fight for me..”

It’s about two guys who both have a different type of tragedy in their past and need to learn to heal and find true happiness again.

“What are you scared of?”

So why not a 5 star? Well, now that this is the third book I’ve read by this Author, the formula has gotten a tad predictable. Don’t get me wrong, I loved everything about Worth Keeping, it was just too easy to foresee what would happen next.  You felt the same didn’t you Jenny?

Jenny: Absolutely Gitte! Firstly, I know when I pick up one of Susan’s that it’s going to take me on an emotional and enlightening journey that will surely touch my heart and, in between a lot of other feelings, Worth Keeping certainly did just that. It was a tragic, painful, dark and yet wonderfully triumphant story of love against the odds.

“Close your eyes and let me help you forget for a while.”

And yes, I do agree that the formula is quite predictable after a few books so I knew from the start how the story would eventuate but getting there was such a memorable journey and it really did mess with my emotions.

Nick’s story in particular broke me. What this man had experienced in life….well, you can’t comprehend.

“He’s a difficult son of a bitch but he’s one of the strongest and bravest men I think I’ve ever met.”

Yet, in amongst the heaviness of Nick’s story we had the cheeky humor of Owen, the passionate chemistry between Nick and Owen and the suspense throughout the story and YES! Let’s not forget Socks who, I might add, completely stole my heart! This little cheeky monkey was just gorgeous and had me giggling like crazy and in tears in the scenes when he became upset.  This little guy was something else!  The cast of characters in this story were just beautiful. Nick’s Dad in particular was such a fun and loving character. His love and devotion for Nick was as extraordinary as was the man himself.  Of course, not everyone was loveable.  Don’t even get me started on the horrid Brad Mayhew!!!! This author certainly does have a way of portraying these evil characters that leave me seething! What a cruel bastard he was.  And Sid and Barrett…..hmmmm do I detect a fellow Floyd fan here Susan?

Gitte: So we have Owen; funny, sweet, stubborn and gorgeous Owen who lost the love of his life and is unable to see a way of living no matter how long has passed. Owen’s grief is overwhelming to the point where he washes up on Nick’s shores. Bless him, he had no idea what he’s in for with Nick and his ghosts and the path he’s now on.  However, Owen has the willpower of many men, a huge heart and he doesn’t give up. His heart takes a real battering in this story and at times I wanted to shout at Nick for not realising just what he had in this beautiful man as well as the fact that Owen too has suffered.

‘Owen thought fiercely that there was no way in hell he was ever leaving this man alone with his demons. Hell would freeze over before that happened.’

Owen loves with passion and his sense of humour is infectious and so endearing. He’s perfect for Nick and has the patience of a saint as well as the staying power Nick needs. The way Owen got through to Nick and helped him on the road to recovery and realising its okay to love was beautiful and inspiring. I think Owen is one of my favourite characters by this Author as he had some cute and funny quirks, he was completely lovable and so very passionate. He had an immense understanding of Nick and an empathy that knows no bounds.

Jenny: I think Nick knew what he had in Owen but he just didn’t have the confidence and self-love in himself to believe that a man like Owen would love him and want to be with him. He constantly questioned his own validity and self-worth.

“You just can’t bear to be happy.”

He was teetering on a path of self-destruction and self-loathing and it was going to take a lot of strength and a man of Owen’s substance to bring Nick out of himself.

Nick had suffered through so much in his life. Abused and used by a mother who should have nurtured and protected him and belittled, humiliated and abused by man who he thought loved him. Nick had survived under the most horrific of circumstances. In Owen he found a man who never judged and always accepted Nick for the broken man he was.

“You don’t need fixing, Nick. You’re great just the way you are.”

To hear Nick recount his story was shocking and heart-breaking. It was difficult to read and so raw and real was the telling that I just wanted to jump in my Kindle and hug Nick to assure him everything was going to be alright. It was testament to Nick that he tried so desperately to open his heart to love and trust. Owen became the saviour Nick so desperately needed.

“Sometimes you might just have to fight me for it. Please fight for me, Owen.

Yep, this story of two very broken and beautiful souls captured me completely.

G&J: So, we have to re-iterate that this Author will always be an automatic one-click for us. Her writing is flawless and her flawed characters are completely lovable. There’s always something quirky and fun in her stories as well as drama, angst and heaps of passion! We can highly recommend!!

WORTH KEEPING by SUSAN MAC NICOL
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worth keeping

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Filed under 4.5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Reviews by Jenny, Susan Mac Nicol

SAVING ALEXANDER by SUSAN MAC NICOL

saving alexander

 

SYNOPSIS

Punishing himself for a horrific past that is not his fault, bestselling author Alexander Montgomery seeks redemption and love—and perhaps he will find it.
Famous author though he may be, Alexander Montgomery is not someone you take home to meet Mother. Seriously flawed, damaged by a horrific past, he’s trying hard to claw his way back to normality. But how can anyone respect what he truly is? His therapy involves regular sessions at Study in Scarlet, an exclusive S&M club.
Then comes Sage. Tall, with black hair and blue eyes, an up-and-coming actor with impossible charm and boy-next-door good looks, he’s the perfect choice to play the leading man in a TV adaptation of Alex’s last best-seller. Even more, he is a man you introduce to your family. Which Alex would do—if he weren’t taken by another man who offers the punishments Alex prays will wipe away the past and make him the person he wants to be. Yet, perhaps there is another path to redemption. If only the solution would reach out and touch him.

saving alexander collage

Reviewed by Jenny and Gitte

 Gitte and Jenny:  5 truly outstanding stars!

Gitte: I knew after reading ‘Stripped Bare’ by this Author that she was something special and was going to end up as a one-click for me in the m/m genre. So I was not surprised that I ended up loving ‘Saving Alexander’ just as much. The writing, the characters, the story, well this book was un-put-down-able, I absolutely loved it. It was so beautiful, emotional, passionate and suspenseful. It had me in floods of tears but it also made me laugh. ‘Saving Alexander’ was extremely well written and the depth of the characters and the storyline, well it was spot on in my opinion.

The journey our characters went on, past and present, their strength and the size of their hearts, well it pretty much did me in. It was quite horrific at times and I had to stop reading once or twice because my heart was breaking. But overall, this is such a beautiful heart-felt love story. You felt the same didn’t you Jenny?

“You are an amazingly brave man. You have more strength than anyone I have known. If anyone can overcome their demons it’ll be you. And I promise to do anything I can to help you do that.”

Jenny: I certainly did G…and then some.  I went into Saving Alexander with anticipated excitement following your enthusiasm for this authors previous work and  I have to say I was not disappointed. In fact, if anything, my expectations were exceeded because this book gripped me from the first chapter and kept me there completely enthralled until the end. I couldn’t put it down, reading well into the night and I have been thinking about it non stop since finishing it. Such was the impact the story and the characters had on me. The writing was flawless, the story was heartbreaking , evocative, passionate, sad and extremely beautiful and this author really does possess a talent for painting a picture for the reader with her words.

“Do you really want to hear all the sordid details of my little life? Remember, sometimes you get what you ask for.” – Alex
“Yes, I want to hear.” Sage

I “felt” every single moment of  the friendship,  torment, loss, love ,pain and the complexities of healing such deep emotional scars. I shared every feeling with Sage and Alex and I was there with them for each and every moment. Sage and Alex, two characters whom I will never forget.

Gitte: So we meet Alex, a famous and successful Author who comes across all mysterious, composed and polished. This façade hides a broken and damaged man who’s had an absolute tragic and horrifying life. Alex strives for normality and struggles with any type of relationship. He’s trying to overcome his past the best way he can through therapy and a man named Eric.

‘If he let the memories in he’d go crazy.’

Eric terrified me on so many occasions, hurting and forcing our lonely Alex beyond what this gorgeous, funny, sweet and passionate man deserved or truly needed. Alex’s past still very much lives in his present and despite harbouring feelings for a man who was the inspiration for his famous book character, he feels completely unworthy and knows his ‘relationship’ with Eric will always be the breaking point.

‘He was simply a paying customer with a set of rules that his “Principal”, Eric, would enforce..’

Alex hides his past well from everyone, no one knows where he came from and who he truly is. Seriously this man had my heart in his hands and I fell in such love with him.

‘I’m a fucked up human being and I’ll never be normal….”

He sure was something special wasn’t he Jenny, those eyes…sigh…?!

Jenny: Oh Gitte, I loved both these men for so many reasons.  Tortured, beautiful self-deprecating Alex who had such a horrendous and painful past and who still relives it daily and whose method of coping tore at me. This man had built up walls and his misdirected self loathing broke my heart.

“I just want to be normal.” – Alex

Alex, a man who had to overcome such adversity was both brave and inspiring.  The unraveling of Alex’s story was painful to read and had me in tears, I had to take stop and take breaths a couple of times before reading on. His recounting of his story undid me, I felt every intense and moving moment of his despondency and I cried with him and for him.

“Please don’t give up on me”. – Alex

This author enabled me to experience every ounce of the desolation and despair felt by Alex as he fought the internal battle within himself and I cherished every ounce of the love and devotion offered to him by Sage.  Don’t even get me started on Eric. I despised that man with every fibre of my being. He disgusted me.

Gitte: Then we have Sage, the gorgeous and sexy actor who’s loved and lusted after by many, gay or straight. This guy can charm the pants of the most reluctant admirer, no question. Sage is funny and kind, sweet and sexy. His heart is huge and when he falls he really falls. He pushes past even the hardest relationship boundary despite being a man who’s been hurt in the past and who’s not exactly had an easy life either, suffering a great loss as a teenager.

Sage gets the role in the upcoming TV adaptation of Alex’s books. Upon meeting Alex in person our Sage is immediately attracted and found wanting the creator of his TV character.

‘What is it about this man that brought out the man-slut in him?’

The chemistry and attraction between Alex and Gage is so intense and beautiful. I felt it and I completely understood and believed it. They were well and truly soul mates, giving each other themselves fully and completely.

“He’s driving me crazy…He’s funny, he’s pretty cute and he’s sexy as hell. I hardly ever think about anything bad when I’m with him. He makes me laugh….” – Alex

When Alex gets the guts to let Sage into his past I broke down. This man showed such trust and Sage’s reaction, well…I had tears. The tenderness and love, the compassion and understanding. It blew me away.

“You make me feel whole again….You’re my saviour.”

‘Saving Alexander’ has everything you could wish for. It’s a dangerous read emotionally as you’re taken on a scary and passionate ride where you meet some pretty beautiful and special characters and see just exactly what love is capable of conquering!

I never wanted to call ‘Chrysippus’ nor did I want to call ‘Tallulah’. LOVED this story…LOVE this Author!

Jenny:  Blushing, sexy, stoic Sage with the cheeky persona  who wore his heart on his sleeve….. I absolutely adored him. What a perfect ally this man was for Alex. This man would suppress his own feelings and hurt for the betterment of Alex.  Where Alex saw weakness and loathing in himself, Sage saw strength and beauty.  These two men complimented each other and they both completely stole my heart.

“All I see is one amazingingly strong and sexy man who just wants to make a life for himself….” – Sage

The passion, the heat, the love, the pain and the connection between these men was spine tingling and I wholeheartedly agree Gitte that  Saving Alexander was everything I had hoped for and more…much, much more. My heart was in my mouth at times as I anticipated moments I knew would crush me and the moments of suspense had my stomach in knots.

This intense, passionate, moving, sexy, and deeply emotive story is one that will stay with me. Like you G, this author has definitely earned a place on my 1Click list! Are there enough superlatives for this book? Let me try….Outstanding, magnificent, suspenseful, heartbreaking, emotional, beautiful…..superb. A definite must add for those TBR’s.

“I think I just want to hold you close and go to sleep and forget all this craziness for a while.”

 

SAVING ALEXANDER
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saving alexander

 

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STRIPPED BARE by SUSAN MAC NICOL

stripped bare cover

 

SYNOPSIS

After two years, Matthew Langer is still getting over the death of a loved one. He’s steered clear of serious relationships, but when he meets the irascible, dirty mouthed and tempestuous Shane Templar that decision has never been harder. Shane is sexy, warm and funny, and Matthew finds himself trying like hell not to care about him. Especially when Shane, with his quick wit and hacking skills, is quick to stand up for justice and avenge wrongs. Then Shane strikes at the wrong target, and Matthew realises just how far gone he already is. At the threat of losing for good yet another man who’s broken through his armour, Matthew finds his heart stripped bare. He must face the demons of his soul or a future without love.

stripped bare collage

Reviewed by Gitte

So I thought this story had everything you could possibly wish for. It had romance, passion, intrigue, drama, lovable gorgeous characters….it had real heart! Oh and yeah it had those ‘must go read this bit in the freezer’ moments….what a scorcher! I absolutely loved the story of Matty and Shay, I literally devoured their story and put life on hold until I had finished. At no stage did it drag or feel forced. I never once felt the need to skim or roll my eyes. It was emotional, romantic, sexy and quite frankly horrific once or twice. I cried, laughed and swooned through a story that had such realism. Well played Susan, Matty and Shay worked their way into my heart….to stay!

Stripped Bare is about Matthew, a lawyer, who’s working under pretty strained and awful conditions. His boss Walter Debussy is an absolute arse and I wanted to beat him over the head with something hard and heavy so many times I lost count. Walter and his henchman Roy deserved stringing up!

Matty is surviving a traumatic past which involves not only the death of the love of his life but also his father; you could say he’s barely existing. This quiet and gorgeous man doesn’t do relationships rather he keeps himself to himself; a result of his past and what was a pretty significant breakdown. Working for a homophobic and violent man; taking over from his father, he knuckles down and avoids anything that involves his heart.

Everything comes to a head one fateful night when David, a dear friend of Mathew and Walter’s son, lands in hospital after a grave assault. Matthew is called as Walter’s lawyer and meets the larger than life Shane Templar for the first time. Shane is there as a friend of David’s and is immediately stunned by his feelings for our Matty.  This meeting spurs some awful significant events and Shay and Matty begin their journey which is fraught with obstacles, deception and hatred yet ultimately a journey of love, trust, discovery and passion.

“Matthew wondered what the hell was happening here. It was all moving along far too quickly, having this brash, sexy, tender and caring man lying in his arms, feeling as if he belonged there. He wasn’t ready for the feelings that overwhelmed him…..”

Now Shane is absolutely gorgeous. He’s fun, sexy and foul-mouthed. You can’t help but fall in love with him. He really cocks up a few times, but his heart means well.

“I thought I’d never be able to find another person I could love again. And then along comes this one, all mouth and no manners…” – Matthew

Working as an escort for thrills and a sought after hacker, Shane’s kind of like a modern day Robin Hood. He loves life with passion despite having experienced a traumatic event in his life that throws a shadow into his existence. Shane says it like it is and his effect on Matty was profound.

“Babe, you call me all upset and say you need me. I would have run twice the distance just to get here for you, to hear you say that.” – Shane

Shane is a fixer and he wants to fix Matthew.

“It’s easier to turn tail and pretend things didn’t happen and that people don’t make you feel things, rather than accept them and deal with it.” – Shane

I think Matty was the one who had to go through some major soul searching in this story. He had to let go and open up. Let someone in. And really, who better than our Shay. If ever there was an example of opposites attracts and people bringing something different to the table thus balancing everything out…this was them. They just worked and I fell in complete love.

“You drive me crazy. You’re bloody cheeky, you’re a maverick, and you never bloody listen to anyone. You do what you think is best, all the time. You also care so much about people – it’s what I love about you. But it’s not the only thing I love about you. I love the way you smell, the way you look, the way you make me feel.” – Matthew

No question, I loved this story, it brought everything to the table that you’d look for in a story. I was swept away and this one definitely goes on the m/m must read list!

Gitte: 5 Stars

ARC Supplied by Author for an honest review

STRIPPED BARE by SUSAN MACNICOL
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stripped bare

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Filed under 5 Stars, Our Reviewers, Pick an Author, Reviews by Gitte, Susan Mac Nicol