A thrilling series featuring rugged men who play hard for a living. When it comes to one another’s hearts, they never back down—because behind closed doors, the games they play are very different.
Copyright © 2016 by Random House
Publication Date: 06-07-2016
Random House Loveswept
Length: Novel, 70,000 words
Buy the eBook
BOOK ONE: THE HARDER HE FALLS
Expert whitewater-rafting guide Grady Kelley lives for that rush of adrenaline: at work, as the newest employee of a Portland-based outdoor-adventure sports company, and off the river, where liaisons with anonymous men keep him satisfied. Grady prefers no drama and no strings attached, but when tragedy strikes, fate leads him to Micah Swaine. He’s hot, masculine, distracting—and offers the kind of deeper connection Grady has sworn off, no matter how badly he craves it.
Working at a leather bar, Micah meets a lot of guys, but Grady’s different—and he seems to feel the same way. The trouble is, anything beyond casual sex is too risky for Micah. He’s got secrets he doesn’t know how to share, secrets that would make any relationship a battlefield. No man, even one as compassionate as Grady, would stick around for that kind of trouble. And yet, as physical desire melts the walls they’ve put up, Micah and Grady discover that trusting each other is the most exhilarating adventure of all.
“Fans and new readers alike are sure to fall for this emotional, redemptive story.”
– 4.5 stars Top Pick!, RT Book Reviews
“Readers will love this uplifting, satisfying romantic adventure about sympathetic protagonists finding strength to leave their comfort zones and risk a committed relationship as both friends and lovers.”
– Publishers Weekly
“I adored this story. I fell hard for Micah and couldn’t help hurting for Grady. Their story held me spellbound.”
– 5 stars, The Way She Reads
“Intense, complex, emotional and undeniably sexy, I loved every minute of The Harder He Falls.”
– 5 stars, Purest Delight, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
“… fans of angsty-type stories will love this one!” - 4.5 stars, The Jeep Diva
“Oh, wow. What an emotional entry for the first book in this new series from Lynda Aicher.”
- A-, Smitten With Reading
“Ms. Aicher’s writing was very compelling; once I started reading The Harder He Falls I didn’t want to quit.”
- 5 stars, Extreme Delusions
“…this is a nice start to what looks to be an engaging series, and I am definitely anxious for more.”
– 4 stars, Joyfully Jay
“Overall, this was a really entertaining read, with some super sexy scenes, interesting characters, and a unique plot.” - 4 stars, Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews
“We have a lot of sex scenes – and they were really hot and dirty and intense.” - B, Smexy Book Reviews
“Lynda Aicher has hit it out of the park with this m/m romance.” - 4 stars, It’s About The Book
“If you like gay contemporary romance, drama, hot sex with touches of BDSM and a lovely top, you have to
read The Harder He Falls!” - 4 stars, The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange
Copyright © 2017 by Lynda Aicher. Permission to reproduce text granted by Random House.
It’s just a building.
No matter how many times Grady Kelley repeated that, he still couldn’t get himself to move forward.
He’d been inside that brick structure multiple times a day since his cousin had been admitted. The path to Finn’s room was ingrained in his brain along with the brown stain in the lobby carpet and the bouquet of fake flowers on the reception desk. He could already hear the low hum of nurses and equipment, smell the distinct, antiseptic-sick scent that soured his stomach.
It was all too familiar and foreign at once.
Sweat dampened his skin, a cloying moisture that blended with the misty rain. His leg muscles hummed and his lungs ached with the lingering burn of his run, but he itched to keep going. The persistent nagging still plucked at him to find the next rush, that irresistible high that came when he pushed his body and mind to the extreme.
Tree limbs covered the sidewalk to keep him dry, but he didn’t care about getting wet. He loved the water—or had until three weeks ago.
He swallowed, throat parched. It could be months before he found out if he’d be allowed—let alone able—to guide a commercial raft through a rapid bigger than a ripple. What would he do until then? Focus on rock climbing? Mountain biking? Take up kite boarding full-time? Twenty-eight wasn’t too old to switch his focus.
If only those damn roaring swells of water, crashing wild and angry against unseen rocks didn’t call to him so badly. He lived for the rush of reading the rapids, marking a path and driving through the powerful flow of an angry, churning river.
A shudder raked him, chills following. Memories flashed fast and hard, overtaking his thoughts. The rumbling thunder of the rapids, the shock of the icy water as reflexes kicked in. Keep his head above water, feet up, look for a throw line or another raft or an eddy.
Twelve years of training and experience hadn’t done shit against Mother Nature’s fury.
The blare of a siren pierced the air. Fuck. He gasped for air, heart pounding. He took a deep breath, and then another until the damp grit of wet, dirty streets invaded his senses. He wasn’t in the remote canyon, miles from the nearest emergency services.
No. He’d walked away from there. The two guys in the raft with him hadn’t been so lucky. Shit. Finn and Chris . . .
He tried to shove his shaking hands into his pockets, only his running clothes didn’t have any. Goddamnit. He shook his arms to expel the trapped energy that refused to die no matter how much he ran, blew out one more long breath.
Obligation and duty had him striding through the automatic doors. Determination kept him strong when the toxic hospital aroma hit him. Whatever he was feeling was nothing compared to what his cousin was enduring.
Finn had been placed on the neuro floor when he’d been transferred to Portland. Off life support but still in a coma, he’d been stable enough to move. Those were good signs, ones Grady clung to.
The elevator dinged when it hit the fifth floor. A quick stride out removed his reflex to run. His shoes squeaked with each step on the tile floor and seemed to amplify the persistent drum of his heartbeat. He nodded at the nurse stationed at the desk, but kept moving to Finn’s room. His anxiety was too high to stop and chat. Maybe on his way out he’d get an update on his cousin’s status—as if anything had changed.
They would’ve called him if it had, right?
Doubts rushed back to halt his progress, feet slowing until he braced his hand on the wall. He had to get it together, not that Finn would be able to see what a mess he was.
The drone of various television shows bled into the hallway in a disjointed mix of canned laughter and monotone voices. Was the distraction for the patients or guests?
Finn’s visitors had been limited to himself and friends from the outdoor adventure company Finn and Chris had founded. A number that’d dwindled with each passing day. But what had he expected? Spring had arrived and the business had to continue even if his world had come to a stumbling halt.
His and Finn’s.
At least they were both alive. Chris didn’t have that luxury. Not anymore.
Grady scrubbed his face, hoping it’d wipe the memories away along with the approaching despair. This wasn’t him. He didn’t wallow.
But he’d been the one guiding the raft. They’d trusted him and he’d failed them. One wrong maneuver. A misjudgment. An error and . . .
No one had blamed him—not openly at least. The business partners had been empathetic, and Chris’s family hadn’t cast a word of anger or accusation at him when they’d had every right to. It would’ve helped if they had. If someone—anyone—had.
Shouldn’t at least one person be as mad at him as he was at himself? Maybe then the burden wouldn’t be so damn heavy.
He shoved away from the wall, squared his shoulders, and passed the last few rooms to reach Finn’s. The door was open, a male voice drifting out in an even flow that slowed him down again.
“‘Do you like that, boy?’” the man asked, his voice lowering into a seductive growl that tightened Grady’s groin. What the hell? “‘A low but firm “Yes, sir” filled the silence. Satisfaction tumbled through Dan, his muscles clenching against the need to fuck his sub right that second.’” The voice faltered, a low chuckle interrupting the reading cadence. “I bet you understand that, wouldn’t you, Finn? Or . . . maybe not. You’re always so damn controlled.”
Seriously, what the fuck?