Reviewed by JustJen
Title: The Secrets in My Scowl
Author: A.E. Via
Heroes: Wylde Sterling/Jacob Snowden
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 311 Pages
Publisher: Via Star Wings
Release Date: October 28, 2016
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Sparks ignite and tempers flare when a sexy, optimistic wedding planner, moves his business in across the hall from a jilted, divorce lawyer’s practice.
“Look smart ass. This is the last time I’m going to remind you about breaking sections of the lease. If there’s a next time, I won’t stop until you and your frilly, white wedding shit is thrown out of here. Do you got it?!”
Wylde looked in Jacob’s pained eyes and answered in his deep voice. “Yeah, counselor. I got it.”
From high school, up until he became a successful attorney Jacob Snowden was convinced that love had it out for him. “Everyone left,” were the words he lived by. His mother, his high school sweetheart, his father, and his fiancé, all left Jacob just when he felt it was safe to let down his guard. Not any longer. Jacob was a determined man, set at keeping people at a distance. If his six foot one, military-made body didn’t scare people off, his permanent scowl surely did. At almost forty, Jacob’s social life was non-existent, but he told himself his work fulfilled him. He helped people get out of their loveless marriages. Jacob Snowden was one of the best divorce lawyers on the east coast and was damn proud of it. So, imagine his disdain when a wedding planner moves into the suite directly adjacent to his… an insanely masculine, male wedding planner.
Wylde Sterling had made quite a name for himself in his hometown of Roanoke, Virginia, working for a wedding planner that catered to the elite. He was known for his charm and impeccable taste. Yep, he was incredible at giving couples the wedding of their dreams. But he wanted nothing more than to plan his own. After striking out in love more times than he cared to admit, Wylde decided to start his own business in a new city, hoping Richmond would give him a fresh start. Things started out wonderfully – until he started to piss off the angry divorce attorney next door.
Wylde could see past Jacob’s mean scowl, knowing there was a reason for it. It was the man’s defense mechanism, his means of keeping people away. Everything in Wylde told him to stay away, but he believed Jacob just needed to meet a man who had been hurt as badly as he had.
Review: Wasn’t too sure how much I was going to like this one, but I’m a fan of Ms. Via, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt. And, honestly, it wasn’t really until Wylde came into the picture that I really started to like it. Even though he’s been through the wringer too many times, Jacob is not a very endearing character, and it takes a good while to warm up to him.
When this story begins, we get to see what shaped Jacob into the cold, hard, successful divorce attorney that he is at the present time. He has been deserted or hurt by just about everyone he cared about over the years, and it has made him a mean and grumpy man. He gets by with the help of his only friend who also offers him benefits. He is beyond jaded about love and relationships which has also helped him become so successful in his business of cutthroat divorces.
But then, in walks Wylde, and there isn’t much not to love about him. He’s confident, sexy, funny, happy and thoroughly enjoys his job of creating fabulous but affordable weddings for people. Sometimes, there are people you meet who would normally set you off or try your patience from the get go, but for some inexplicable reason, you are able to withstand and even set aside all of that to make friends instead. That is what I felt with Wylde and Jacob. Wylde never let Jacob’s meanness or attitude affect him, didn’t cower and run at Jacob’s episodes, but instead, saw through his shell layers to something soft and gooey underneath. And, it paid off, as little by little, Wylde broke Jacob’s shell and opened him up. But, make no mistake, Wylde was the outstanding star of this show. These guys have amazing chemistry once Jacob sees past his own clouded vision. They were smoking hot together, and the sexual tension was through the roof, whether they were making chess moves or taking things further.
Of course there were things that seemed way over the top, like Jacob’s attitude toward well, everyone. Hard to believe a guy can get anywhere with the way he treated people, from his staff to the clerks at court, let alone his outbursts at Wylde’s business. There were also some instances of time jumping that seemed a little out of place. But, for the sake of the story, when I set those aside, I found this was a sad but sweet, funny at times with Wylde’s adorable cuteness, story about changing the way you look at life and the people around you and seeing that there is happiness to be found after all.
I loved watching Wylde work, and getting to see Jacob transform into a caring individual was beautiful. Jacob has to deal head on with some of his issues where his parents are concerned, and again, it is Wylde who again shows us what a wonderful guy he is and that he truly is someone Jacob can rely on and trust.
There were parts of this story that felt a little slow or took up too much of the story, while others felt a bit rushed. But, overall, it was a great story that kept me engaged and interested until the end. Another winner for Ms. Via in my book.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*