Tuesday, 22 March 2016

BLOG TOUR: Finley by Ella Frank

FINLEY banner

Title: Finley
Author: Ella Frank
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 22, 2016



It's time to come home, Finn.

It’s been seven years since Daniel Finley left his hometown in Florida for the hustle and bustle of Chicago’s city life. Since then, he’s worked hard for his position at the prestigious law firm Leighton & Associates, even when it’s caused distance and isolation from his family and friends. But that’s all about to change. On his thirtieth birthday, he receives the one thing he never dared hope for. Something that was promised to him years earlier—a note. One simple sentence from the man he’s never been able to forget.

Six words will forever change the course of their lives.

Brantley Hayes has it all. Or so he thinks. When he first made the decision to take a job down in Florida, his family thought he was crazy. But, after years of living in the quiet beach town, he finally feels a sense of community. He’s surrounded himself with friends who are like family, has a job he loves, and owns a spectacular beachfront property that is his sanctuary. Yet he still feels unfulfilled, as if a piece of the puzzle is missing, and he knows exactly which piece it is. On an impulse, he follows through with a promise he made years earlier. A promise to call home the one he sent away.

Nothing is as simple as it seems.

After years of separation, the former lovers are reunited, but Brantley wasn’t expecting to encounter the high walls now guarding Daniel’s heart. Daniel may not be the same person he was when he left, but he knows that the first step to healing is the note in his hand.

Finley by Ella Frank
Copyright © 2016 Ella Frank


BRANTLEY KEPT A discreet eye on the final student to leave for the morning as Mr. Finley strode down the stairs to the front of the classroom. They were three weeks into the semester and he was ashamed to admit that, with every day that passed, his fascination with the young man grew. At first, he’d tried to convince himself that it was purely academic. The kid was smart. He’d aced all the weekly quizzes, and Brantley was more than aware of the way he watched him lecture with keen, intelligent eyes that never strayed from him. Oh, he was fascinated, all right, but he made sure to tell himself at the end of every class that it had nothing to do with the mischievous grin Daniel would flash at his friends or the easygoing laugh that would bubble up out of him at any given moment. But he knew he was lying. Daniel was quite possibly the happiest person he’d ever met, and his joy of life lit up the room and everyone in it. Including him. When Daniel stopped in front of him and dropped his paper on the desk, Brantley acknowledged him with a glance before returning his gaze back to the notes he was going over. “Any big plans this weekend, Professor?” The question had been so unexpected that he didn’t think to catch himself before he replied, “Nothing too big. Just going out with some friends. You?” Daniel smiled at him as he shoved his arms through the loops of his backpack, and Brantley couldn’t help but look at his shirt as it stretched across his broad chest. “I’m going to hit the beach. Such great waves right now.” “Ahh, you like to surf. That explains it.” When the side of Daniel’s mouth crooked up, the effect was charming as hell. The kid was a knockout. “Explains what?” Annoyed that he’d made such a stupid slipup, he looked back at the papers in front of him, hoping Daniel would get the message and leave. No such luck. “Explains what?” he asked again. Brantley sighed and rested his arms on the desk as he studied Daniel’s inviting face. “It explains your hair.” “My—oh,” he said, touching the ends of it. “Do you like it?” Stunned by the direct question, he sat back in his chair and fought the smile tugging at the corners of his lips. “Do I like your hair?” “Yeah. “Does it matter?” Jesus, f*ck. Stop it. Stop flirting with him. But it was too late. Daniel put his hands on the desk and leaned forward, Brantley toed the ground, shoving his chair back. “It could…” “No. No, it couldn’t,” he said as he got to his feet, shaking his head. Daniel straightened and tucked his thumbs into the straps of his backpack, no doubt to taunt him. His eyes were too knowing for someone his age, and when they held his longer than was acceptable, Brantley’s heart skipped a couple of beats. “Was there something else, Mr. Finley?” “You said you were going out with friends this weekend…” Sh!t, did I? “Yes, that’s right.” As Daniel ran his thumb down the left strap of his bag, he admonished himself for noticing every little move he made. He needed to get a f*cking hold of himself. “Are any of them more than a friend?” If he hadn’t been watching Daniel quite so closely, he wouldn’t have believed the words that had just come out of his mouth. But he had been. So he did. “I don’t believe that’s any of your business. You better hurry or you’ll miss your next class.” Satisfied that he’d firmly dismissed Daniel, he sat down and made a show of focusing on the books lining his desk and didn’t dare look and see if he had left this time or not. He wasn’t sure what he’d do if he was still standing there. He reached up to adjust his tie, which suddenly felt a little too tight around his neck, and with each passing second that he was consciously not checking to see if he was alone, he swore that it was getting tighter. “Professor Hayes?” His head snapped up at his name, and when Daniel had his attention, he continued. “Are you gay?” Brantley’s eyes widened, and he wondered how his mouth hadn’t fallen open at the blunt question. Instead, he went with, “Excuse me?” “I asked if you were—” “I heard what you said. But I don’t see how that is any business of yours, either. You should think before you speak, Mr. Finley. I’m your teacher, and it’s time for you to leave. This conversation is over.” He flipped open one of the books on his desk and shook his head. He couldn’t believe the audacity of the kid—or the fact that he was so damn forthright. As he sat there, grinding his teeth in an effort not to look at his student—who was still standing in front of his desk—a bead of sweat ran down his collar and he cursed the fact that his nerves were getting the better of him. “I only asked because, well, I am too. And I thought it would be nice to have someone to talk to.” Well, hell. He couldn’t fault him for that. The only problem was…talking wasn’t what sprang to mind when he was around Daniel Finley. He clasped his hands on the desk and stared into the anxious face peering down at him. Daniel was worrying his lower lip with his teeth, and he suddenly looked very much the young man he was. “Are you?” he asked again, and there was no way he could deny that hesitant curiosity. “Yes, Daniel. I am.” As his words drifted between them, Daniel’s mouth slipped into a smile. “Oh.” Brantley laughed at that. He wasn’t sure what Daniel was thinking right then. He’d thought for sure with the way he’d been looking at him earlier that, if he’d admitted this, he would be fending off—or at least putting up a good show of fending off—an unwanted pass. But, instead, Daniel appeared thoughtful. “Does that bother you?” Daniel adamantly shook his head. “No.” “Are you sure?” he pressed, and the look that entered Daniel’s eyes then was so hot that he thought he may overheat. “Yes. I'm very sure.” Oh, f*ck. Okay. Where the hell did the nervous guy disappear to? One minute, Daniel was endearingly awkward, and the next, he was looking at him like he wanted to strip him out of his clothes and—“Stop right there,” he said, and he wasn’t sure if he was telling himself that or the contradiction eyeing him with newfound knowledge. “Whatever you're thinking, stop thinking it.” “Why?” Yep, he was f*cked. That wasn’t a word he generally used, but in this case, he was well and truly f*cked. He should’ve just stuck to the run-along-now speech. “Because I'm your teacher.” “This isn’t high school. I’m an adult.” He sighed. “That may be true. But I’m your professor and this conversation is inappropriate.” “How? I just asked if you were gay and you said yes. I don't see what the problem is.” When Daniel aimed a mischievous grin at him, Brantley knew he was very aware of what the problem was. “Out,” he said, pointing to the door. “Time to leave, Mr. Finley.” This time, he made sure to watch Daniel so he knew he was actually leaving. He walked to the door, but at the last minute, he turned around to look back at him. Not willing to back down and show weakness, Brantley kept his eyes on his student as Daniel ran his tongue along his lower lip. “You should call me Finn. Everyone else does.” Christ. The kid was going to drive him to an early grave, but damn if he didn’t laugh at his audacity. “Out,” he said again, and this time Daniel pushed out the door and disappeared into the hall.



This was me BEFORE:

SQUEEEE, I'm so excited to start this!!!

This was me AFTER:
DANG, that was more emotional than I anticipated!

Let me start by saying that it was Ella who popped my m/m cherry with Try (pun intended, I suppose). Sadly, I haven’t finished that series, which I need to rectify soon…

Finn and Brant reconnected after 7 years of being out of each other’s lives. What happens after is familiar yet new at the same time for both of them. Old feelings and hurt have to be acknowledged if there’s a chance for them to move forward. And even then, can they really move forward? Decisions had to be made.

Brantley made the decision he did because he really thought it was the best for Finn. And it really was best for Finn, but sometimes wrong actions made for the right reasons still felt wrong, at least as far as Finn was concerned. Finn, out of hurt, just chose to stay away for a long time when maybe he didn’t need to. Both of them paying for that one crucial act, they had to learn to see past that. Luckily, their feelings for each other were stronger than all their wrong decisions put together.

Brant had remained consistent about his feelings for Finn. But he also had to grapple with the different Finn who showed up 7 years later. Finn had a lot of feelings to sort. But he also had to grapple with the same Brant he thought he was ready to walk away from, rather than the other way around like the first time, and it turns out, he couldn’t. As they tried to move forward, they tried to build on what they had and reconcile that with what they have to work with.

I love both of them equally. Brant had his insecurities to the age difference, albeit paltry in my mind. He really understood Finn and was always willing to give what Finn needed. I love the young Finn, the tenacity in the way he pursued Brantley in a very endearing manner. I love the older Finn that turn into this dirty-talkin’ alpha. I love how the dynamics switched fluidly between them based on what each other needed. I love the way they read each other, like they’re truly meant for each other.

While I didn’t fully understand the length of time it took Brantley to beckon Finn home, I suppose it was what it was. As unclear as Brant’s motives were, I suppose Finn had to experience what he had to experience.
This was more emotional than I anticipated. So much so that it caught me off guard. Towards the end, before I knew it, my eyes were welling up. The pain on both sides was so palpable that it lingered in me much longer than I thought it would. More than the pains though, just as palpable were the connection and the passion between them. That I felt right from the start. Oooh boy… sweet lawhd!!!

Seeing Tate and Logan at the end further reminded me how I need to finish their story asap. And the bits about Brent’s and Finn’s friends, I’m thinking Ella will have their stories down the road. Yay, a lot of things to look forward to!

About the Author


Ella Frank is the author of the #1 Bestselling Temptation series, including Try, Take, and Trust and is the co-author of the fan-favorite erotic serial, A Desperate Man. Her Exquisite series has been praised as “scorching hot!” and “enticingly sexy!” A life-long fan of the romance genre, Ella writes contemporary and erotic fiction and lives with her husband in Portland, OR. You can reach her on the web at www.ellafrank.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ella.frank.author Some of her favorite authors include Tiffany Reisz, Kresley Cole, Riley Hart, J.R. Ward, Erika Wilde, Gena Showalter, and Carly Philips.  
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