Covert Strength by Elouise East

Book Info

Author:
Series Type:
Individual Stories
Number In Series:
7
Publisher:
Elouise East
Published:
8 April 2020
Book Type
Pages:
214
Genre's
Heat Level

Synopsis

A single father receives more than he bargained for in the shape of an ex-military man in this emotional, low angst MM romance.

Can one night change their entire future?

Zak’s son means more to him than anything or anyone else. He refuses to allow another person the opportunity to hurt them. One night stands are all he can afford – emotionally and physically. When one night turns into more than he bargained for, he is blindsided in more ways than one.

Kenzo was honourably discharged from the military when he was in an accident. Adrift, he focuses on what he can do to help those in a similar situation. But hiding his roommate’s condition is taking its toll. One night with Zak turns his world upside down, and he finds he can’t go back to the way things were before.

What happens when secrets unfold and trust is tested to its limit?

This is a standalone novel within the Crush series, but if you would like to check it out from book 1, head over to First Kiss: https://smarturl.it/LFirstKiss 

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Excerpt

Zak stirred and blew on Dane’s food, cooling it down, while Kenzo placed the full coffee mugs in front of each of them, which Zak acknowledged with a nod of thanks. There was no conversation as Zak made sure the food wasn’t too hot for his son. He secured a bib around Dane’s neck and gave him the bowl and spoon.

“Have at it, champ.”

“You’re letting him feed himself?”

Kenzo’s eyebrows were raised, eyes wide as he stared at Dane. Zak took in the vision of Dane dropping the food from his spoon directly onto his bib, not much getting into his mouth. Zak smiled. “He has to learn. Plus, it allows me to eat a warm breakfast instead of a cold one. Cold porridge is not pleasant.”

“True.”

They ate in almost silence, just the clink of spoons against bowls and Dane’s babbling.

When he’d finished, he bit his lip and asked, “What do you do? As a job, I mean.”

Kenzo sat back in his chair, a hand wrapped around his mug. “I’m retired from the Army.”

Zak raised his eyebrows but realised it fit him like a glove. “Yeah, I can see it now you’ve said that. Did you enjoy it?”

Kenzo huffed. “I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it as such, but I was happy with what needed to be done.”

Zak sensed his reluctance to talk about it and changed the subject. “And you work out for fun.”

“Most of the time.” Kenzo grinned. “Sometimes, I just ogle the guys there.” He winked.

Zak sputtered his coffee, coughing slightly.

Kenzo laughed. “Sorry.”

“No, you’re not,” Zak complained once he’d recovered.

“Okay, I’m not.” Kenzo drained his mug. “I’m going to go and leave you. Thank you for breakfast.” He stood, picking up his bowl and mug and rinsing them out in the sink without asking if he should.

When Kenzo walked past to leave, Zak stood and placed his hand on Kenzo’s forearm, pulling him to a stop. Gaze finally connecting with Kenzo and roaming his face, Zak said, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” They stared at each other for a moment, an expression Zak couldn’t decipher on the other man’s face before Kenzo leaned forward and placed a kiss on Zak’s cheek. “Take care.”

Zak swallowed hard against the need to call Kenzo back as he walked away. He didn’t need him here; he was fine alone.

“And who might you be?” He heard from the hallway.

“Damn it! Noah!” He rubbed a hand across his face. This was the last thing he needed.

“What? I’m saying hi,” his brother shouted back.

“Leave him alone!”

“He can’t leave now. I’ve only just met him.”

“Noah! If he wants to leave, let him!” Zak sat again, using Dane’s spoon to collect all the bits he’d missed his mouth with. “Meddling brothers are not pleasant. Be grateful you’re an only child,” he muttered to his son.

Noah entered the kitchen with a smug expression on his face. His brother looked a lot like him, except with short, spiky hair and a clean-shaven jaw. They had the same slender build, although Noah had more muscles than Zak did—at least for now, he thought smugly. Though he was only five years younger than Zak, he appeared even younger, especially when wearing skinny jeans and a tight black t-shirt like he was.

Zak rolled his eyes, only stopping when Kenzo joined them with a pinched expression on his face.

“I see you’ve met my annoying little brother. Kenzo, Noah. Noah, Kenzo.”

At those words, Kenzo’s face relaxed, the tension releasing from his body. Zak realised he must’ve thought they were a couple, which he thought was a strange assumption as there was no denying they were related. To each their own, of course. The two men nodded at each other.

“Mmm, coffee.” Noah helped himself to a mug, leaning back against the counter as he cupped it. “Have you seen or heard anything from Ashley?”

Zak glanced across at Kenzo before returning to Noah, shaking his head. “Nothing. I don’t know why she bothered when we all know she didn’t want him in the first place.”

“Probably to mess with you.”

“Probably. You have a girlfriend yet?” Zak wanted off the topic and distracted Noah with his relationship issues.

“Nah.” Noah’s demeanour showed he was hiding something, but Zak would get it out of him later.

“Better hurry up, or you’ll be a spinster in no time.” Zak grinned.

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