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Eddie Russell is many things: A wealthy pillar of the community. An outrageous flirt. A doting best friend. A masochist with a kink for brawling with his bedmates. But he is definitely not a man who invites intimacy. His friends are close but few, his lovers rarer still.

When Eddie runs his Mercedes off the road on a hot July afternoon, Wish Carver comes to his aid—and leaves his number in Eddie’s phone. Wish, a road crew worker half Eddie’s age and sexy as sin, seems fascinated by Eddie’s different sides. Mutual attraction and compatible kinks ignite the sheets, but it’s their connection outside the bedroom that Eddie begins to crave.

When the two come down on opposite sides of a local issue, Eddie finds his growing feelings for Wish at odds with his business interests and his devotion to his best friend, local wakeboarding legend Ben Warren. Torn between old loyalties and his new love, Eddie is reluctant to make a choice. But he knows he can’t make Wish wait too long to make up his mind.

Word count: 48,000; page count: 164

166 pages, Kindle Edition

First published September 26, 2015

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About the author

Vanessa North

42 books514 followers
Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 175 reviews
Profile Image for Julio Genao.
Author 9 books2,012 followers
January 31, 2016
mine at last.


the thing about vanessa north is, i swear she gets better and better every time out.

i know her pretty well; we're critique partners, our respective nerderies are remarkably simpatico, and we both wore plaid flannel shirts in the '90s. she works hard, and studies this letterpeckery shit as obsessively as i do. she's enormously talented, and she's got a heart so full of compassion it's kind of a little bit intimidating.

sometimes i beta for her, and that's when i get to see how she applies her mind and her talents and her empathy to the work in front of her. i get to see it develop from the merest kernel of an idea to a fully developed and polished narrative.

and yet sometimes i have no fucking idea how she does what she does.

when i told her i was bananas for eddie, a secondary character in her delightful summer novel double up, she told me she was as crazy about him as i was. we were hardcore-hardcore #TeamEddie.

but eddie didn't have a book of his own.


fast-forward a number of months, and she's taken this side character defined by his outrageous mouth and his no-fucks-to-give demeanor and a fancy for bikini briefs and turned him into the utterly compelling lead of a terrific contemporary romance as remarkable for its glorious vibrancy as it is its exquisite balance. there are no big escandalos or minor hysterias, just real people having real problems trying to have a real relationship.

eddie loves to live. he loves his best friend, and his town, and he loves wish.

as he does the mildly scandalizing rough sex wish delivers upon his bossy little butt.

he is a nuanced character, now. replete with genuine imperatives and recognizable humanity.

she's put her empathy into him.

him. the quippy comedy sidekick with the razor-sharp tongue.

she gave him a whole novel. turned him into a whole person. with real perspectives, and real history, and real motivations, and real emotions, and holy fuck the sex—

omg i almost forgot to mention the sex!


the sex is a good example of what i'm talking about, actually. this is how good she is:

i do not enjoy rough sex.

i don't enjoy flogging or breath-play or scratching or... you know, the rest of that edgy or edgy-adjacent stuff.

but eddie does.

and so does his one twu wuv, the incineratingly gorgeous wish.

my dudes, i'm telling you this pairing was smokin' hot.

so hot it didn't even matter that the sex scenes were mostly NMK.

the people in those scenes having sex? i forgot they weren't real.

so i was turned-on.

a lot.

at inconvenient times and in politically awkward locales.

lit-up like a big ol' slut, just like daddy likes me.


speaking of arousal—hooooooooooly shit if someone talked to me like wish talks to eddie in this book i'd need to be hosed-down and then be sent to compose myself in a cool, dark place.

dude's hot. i mentioned he was hot? i feel like i have. did i tell you about the se—hey, stop looking at my boner, that's so rude, my gosh.

but yeah—as a writer, i can't even begin to tell you how difficult it is to develop a character with such finesse. a character you had never planned on expanding beyond his small but important role in another book.

it was deeply impressive, and i grew more excited the more i read. because i'd been whining about getting my hands on more eddie for months, trying not to press, but reminding her i was here with my grabby hands out and waiting already, so, uh, you know, anytime's fine, really, i'll just.

just be here.


for you.

to finish making my goddamned book for me.


i'm sorry, am i disturbing you? you smell nice.



vanessa north gave me all the eddie i could ever want, and it was awesome.

Profile Image for *J* Too Many Books Too Little Time.
1,921 reviews3,458 followers
July 1, 2015
3.5 Stars!

I loved Eddie from the first book, and they definitely didn't call him Kinky Eddie for nothin'.....because...

......that kink was thrown down from the get go.

And this one really stretched my kink comfort zone! Pain and humiliation aren't really my thing. And other than a few scenes, I was able to enjoy this one despite the kink.

There were enough sweet moments thrown in with the other stuff to lighten things up a bit.

I thought Eddie and Ben's relationship was a bit too co-dependent. Well on Eddie's side anyways. I could totally see how Wish didn't feel like he came first when it was always seemed to be about Ben.

But despite all of that I enjoyed in this one. It was a quick easy read with a side of dirty.

ARC kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review


Eddie's book....

....I loved that guy!
Profile Image for Vanessa North.
Author 42 books514 followers
September 28, 2015
9/28/2015: Rough Road is HERE! It's release day,and a quick peek at the major bookselling retailers shows it's live almost everywhere. Riptide Publishing has set up a blog tour for me--I'm giving away a Riptide gift card, and I hope you'll follow along!
link here: http://riptidepublishing.com/events/t...

Rough Road is the second Lake Lovelace book, due out September 28!
It's a kinky romantic comedy, and I had an absolute blast writing it. Enjoy!


Profile Image for Gigi.
2,156 reviews1,044 followers
August 1, 2015
Advanced review copy of Rough Road provided by Riptide Publishing via Net Gallery in exchange for an honest review.

Vanessa North How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

1. For giving us Ben and Fox from Double Up and bringing them back in Rough Road to my absolute delight.
2. For writing Eddie as a the Big Queen that he is.
3. For a Mercedes accident near a construction zone.
4. For naming a main character "Wish".
5. For making Eddie a shameless pain slut.
6. For giving us the big, beautiful, rough Wish Carver and all of his dominate and tender tendencies.
7. For having Wish tell Eddie to STFU when he belly aches about their age difference.
8. For the ridiculously hot and kinky sex between Eddie and Wish.
9. For having Eddie make the right decision in his business dealings, ones not entirely based on financial profit.
10. For creating Lake Lovelace and all the adventures that are surely to come next.


Profile Image for Mirjana **DTR - Down to Read**.
1,397 reviews662 followers
June 8, 2017

***4.5 Stars***

He makes me smile, a completely wild, unself-conscious smile. And he has no idea what a gift he gives me every time. I'm a guy who calculates each emotion I let cross my face. But tonight, with him, I don't care if he sees my feelings as they happen. I'm not afraid, or trying to jockey for position. I'm here, with him, and free.

Kinky Eddie delivers in spades!!

I wasn't sure how far Eddie's kink went, and I must say that I was a bit surprised at the amount of pain that he loved, but it completely fit him. And the kink....HOLY HELL WAS IT GOOD!! But more on that later.

Wish and Eddie's introduction was fantastic. We get a sense of bubbling attraction right from the start. And as is Vanessa North's way, which she makes look so easy, the insta-attraction works for me. I buy it, whole-heartedly, with gusto....and extra servings.

Another Vanessa North stamp...even though this book is from Eddie's POV I don't feel disconnected from Wish. I feel like I know him just as well. And I liked his straight-forward, no nonsense attitude right out the gate.

"Come on S-Class. Let's get you home."

"I'm not the car, you know."

"And you're not the suit either. I get it. And I'm not my age or my hard hat."

Eddie tried to resist Wish's pull by playing the age card (Wish is 24 and Eddie is 44), but it was impossible to resist the chemistry. These two fit together right from the beginning, and Wish wasn't going to allow Eddie to push him away over something as trivial as age.

"What's on your mind?"

"You're so..."

"Young? It's okay to notice it, you know? The difference. It doesn't bother me though. It's part of what I like about you. That you've lived a completely different life than I have, and we can still find common ground."

"That's the boner talking, lovely."

"See, that's what I mean. You're funny and sexy, and I don't have to have been born in the sixties to see that, or to like it."

"It's going to piss you off at some point. There's going to be a final straw, where I'm too old, and it's just too weird for you."

"That's your baggage. Not mine. I'm not carrying it for you either, because that bag is toxic. Waiting for the other shoe to drop? Throw the damned thing and be done with it."

I haven't read many books with such a large age gap between MC's, be it MM or MF, and I wasn't sure how I would feel about it here, but I had zero problems. The age didn't bother me one bit.

Wish may have been young in age, but he was mature, smart, assertive, hard-working, sweet, caring and absolutely controlling and dominant in the bedroom. These two were downright explosive in the bedroom.

Eddie doesn't need the pain to get off...he just loves it. He yearns for the feeling that a blow is coming...be it a hand, flogger, cane, or paddle....or a hard pull on any of his multiple piercing. Yes, that's right....MULTIPLE. All strategically placed for just the right amount of pain. And Eddie trembles with the adrenaline that courses through his system and the addicting endorphins that turn all that pain to pleasure.

Wish is just the man to give him everything he wants. To deliver every wicked fantasy. To know just how far to push Eddie so he's on the edge of his boundaries and flying high.

"Why do I want to play with you? Because you turn me on. I want to hit you. Want to fuck you. I don't want to own you or master you or any of that Dom shit. I'm not looking for a waxed body to push around and call mine. I want to watch a grown man take a goddamned beating and thrive on it."

But things aren't so simple outside of the bedroom. Eddie is by no means a snob, but he also doesn't know a life of worry when it comes to finances. Wish is blue collared and middle class down to his roots. He has no problem with Eddie's money, but he never wants Eddie to feel like he needs to take care of him.

Add in Eddie's co-dependent relationship with his best friend, Ben, and there's enough conflict, friction and angst to be oh so delicious. Though I have to admit, I really didn't understand the extreme dynamic of Eddie and Ben's relationship....especially from Eddie's side. I thought I understood it from Double Up, but Eddie was obsessed with making himself available and molding his life to Ben's needs.

Vanessa North has easily become a go-to author for me. Three books of hers I've read and three books I've loved. She has an effortless way of writing that sucks you in right from the first page. Her characters are flawed, yet relatable. Her writing is emotive and believable and her stories are engaging, entertaining and addictive.

What more could a gal ask for?

"You know, there aren't a lot of people who are willing to put up with me on a regular basis."

"Well, that number grew by one, okay?"

I can't wait to see where Vanessa North takes this series. I'd love a book in the future about Dave's brother, Ridley. He sure does spend a lot of time with his friend Caden....nod, nod, wink, wink.

***ARC courtesy of publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review***
Profile Image for Catherine.
1,588 reviews239 followers
March 11, 2018
Note (added 11/03/2018):

In light of recent events, I can no longer recommend this book to my friends (or any reader, for that matter).

However, my Goodreads review space provides me an opportunity to rate and review books, expressing how they made me think, feel, question, or react at a particular moment in time. Sometimes, I use my review space to share stories about my life or comment on the world around me, drawing comparisons between myself and the characters and plot lines that I read about. As such, they are a time capsule of sorts and the historian in me won't let me erase them from the historical record.

So I am going to leave my ratings/reviews intact, but reiterate that I can no longer recommend this book to my friends.

Originally rating and/or review:

*** 4.5 Stars ***

If I tell you in detail how much I loved this book, I'm going to be late for work. And, since I was late for work yesterday because I started the book while getting ready and then just had to read one more page (and then another and another) before leaving the house, that is probably not a very smart career decision.

So, yeah. I loved it from the first page to the last. Vanessa totally delivered on every sweet, kinky promise she made in Double Up and then some.
Profile Image for Adam.
611 reviews313 followers
August 28, 2015
Vanessa North's writing has been a mixed bag for me. 'Rough Road' changes everything. From the moment Kinky Eddie swished on to the pages of Double Up, I was hooked. And when I found out that he'd be getting his own story, I had to have it. I'm happy to report that not only was this book a great read, it fulfilled all of my Kinky Eddie fantasies!

Eddie Russell is wealthy and shamelessly flamboyant. When he gets in to a car accident, Wish Carver comes to his rescue. Wish is a road-construction worker, and twenty years younger. Despite being hesitant about the age-gap, Eddie decides to take a jump and see whether the chemistry between himself and Wish is worth pursuing.

I loved getting back to the seaside town of Lake Lovelace. But then I'm a fan of small towns, so that wasn't a surprise. Wakeboarding still holds little to no interest for me, but the author went further afield in this time, showing as much of the actual town as she did the waters surrounding it.

The sex. Hell yeah. Sadomasochism is so not my kink, but Vanessa North was able to write it with such sensuality and rawness that I was able to overlook my qualms. To say that Eddie and Wish like it rough would be an understatement. These two go hard, and it will burn up your tablet screen.

Somewhere around the 75% mark I was beginning to question whether this pairing could work. Eddie was so oblivious to his privilege and his underlying motives for opposing the bridge, and Wish seemed to favour either silently accepting Eddie's treatment of him or just running away without any communication. But I didn't have to worry, because North brings it all home in a great way. I'm glad that Eddie and Ben's co-dependent relationship was addressed, because that was one thing that really turned me off in book 1.

Overall, Rough Road is a great read. It's got fun characters, some hot kinky sex, and a well-written and believable romance. For those who haven't read book 1, Rough Road works fine as a standalone.

*Review copy provided through NetGalley.
Profile Image for Jennifer☠Pher☠.
2,793 reviews233 followers
October 1, 2015
It’s funny the lengths you can go to when you want something. This book is totally out of my comfort zone. It crosses boundaries that I thought were pretty much set in stone. And, they probably were, until I met Eddie. Because of this beautiful man I was able to step way out of my bubble, read this book, and trust that he would keep me safe.

From the second I finished Double Up I knew I wanted Eddie’s story. No, I needed Eddie’s story. I had no qualms about telling Vanessa just that. It seems a lot of people felt the same way. Better yet, Vanessa felt the same way. What we needed to read she needed to write. So she wrote it. And man oh man, she wrote it very, very well.

I jumped as high as I could over my boundaries, dove head first out of my comfort zone and just fell. I fell far into a world I don't necessarily understand but the sweet that surrounded that? Yeah, I get that and I loved it.

The story exceeded my expectations. I was nervous of course but Eddie, my God. He ended up being so very much more than I imagined.

I think it takes amazing ability to be able to bring life to a character like Eddie. I think it also shows true talent to get a reader like me, who normally wouldn’t touch a book like this with a ten foot pole, to read it anyway all because of a character. A character I just had to know more about. Vanessa has that ability and that talent and I am in awe.

So, if you are a little scared like I was, don’t be, Eddie’s got you.

Now, back to my regularly scheduled...


Profile Image for Chelsea.
879 reviews7 followers
February 16, 2018
Reread- Feb 2018 - gah so cute! Loved this story so much!!!

That was just GLORIOUS! Enough relationship drama to make it realistic and interesting but not really any angst. It was nice that the age-gap between the two was not a big deal. Despite Eddie being a bit hesitant at first, its not really brought up again. That is probably because Wish is, I'm pretty sure, the most perfect boyfriend ever!!! I love him!

Eddie was hilarious!! I love an older flamboyant man and he was perfect, especially in his tiny green speedo's ;-)

This book was sooo super HOT, I just... I can't even... no words, so i'll just let Eddie describe it for me: "Sweaty-man-fucking at its glorious finest."

This book was definitly kinky but had an equal amount of sweet, if not more. Definitly going to be a regular comfort read for me!
Profile Image for Erika .
415 reviews130 followers
September 27, 2015
Omg this was so good and so fun and extremely enlightening in regards to what I find to be so fascinating about BDSM. In other words, it was hot as hell lol. I mean, for real.

I liked the May/December trope in this one, because Wish and Eddie were perfect for each other. There was a perfect amount of angst about the age gap from Eddie but not an exaggerated amount, where you'd get annoyed reading about it and start rolling your eyes.

To be honest, I loved everything about this but the length, which is why the four stars instead of five. It was way too short imho, and because of that it veered into insta love territory, which I highly dislike. I felt that there was not enough getting to know each other and too many "I love you"s too quickly, but I'll overlook that somewhat since everything else was so excellent.

One of my favorite parts in this book was at the end, when Wish admits So good on you, Vanessa, for flouting convention and making me happy in the process.

I felt like I waited forever for this book to be released but you know what? It was well worth the wait. :)
Profile Image for Tina.
1,688 reviews1 follower
August 18, 2015

4,5 stars.

Finally Eddie, our ‘ancient queen’ got his story! Woohoo!

Loved him to bits in Double Up and could hardly wait for his own book!

Rough Road gave me everything I expected and even more: It's sexy, entertaining, funny, and heart warming romantic.

And of course the story is…

He drops his gaze to his hands, then smiles again.

“Why do I want to play with you? Because you turn me on.
I want to hit you. I want to fuck you.
I don’t want to own you or master you or any of that Dom shit.
I’m not looking for a waxed body to push around and call mine.
I want to watch a grown man take a goddamned beating and thrive on it.”

Holy fuck. Wrap me in paper and stick a bow on me because I am sold.

OMG... when Eddie and Wish aren’t kinky they are so sweet together. Loved it when they got all cuddly after a heavy scene.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story which moved along at fairly rapid pace, keeping me involved enough to want to read it through in one sitting.The writing is sublime, the story is compelling and I really liked the first person point of view, it gave me an insight into Eddie’s mind. A glimpse into Wish’s head would have been a nice bonus, though. :)

Overall, this book is a great read with a nice dose of kinky sex. It’s sweet and lovely and just good. And to top it off, we meet Ben, Dave and Tina again…What more could we want?

Highly recommended!

Could have been a 5 stars rating... but OMG... whose idea was THAT cover?

Profile Image for LenaRibka.
1,436 reviews418 followers
October 13, 2015

It was my first book by Vanessa North, and I have to admit that I liked it more than I actually expected when I picked it up.

If I have to express my feeling about the book in one word, I would choose NICE.

The story was light, easy, drama- and trouble-free - nice.
The main characters were likable, very different in their background, but nicely compatible.

Sex scenes were nicely hot, but rather sweet than kinky, what didn't bother me at all. Of course I liked Wish much more than Eddie. But Wish likes Eddie, so I have to accept his decision. Even if I haven't understood WHY Wish was fond of Eddie that much, I pretty well know WHY Eddie fell in love with Wish. Who wouldn't?!

All in all, Rough Road is a nice holiday read, without unhealthy intensity that can cause you heart palpitation and sleepless nights.

**Copy provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Profile Image for ☾ Dαɴιyα ☽.
451 reviews72 followers
October 5, 2015

When I find a book in which the main character has the nickname Kinky, my reaction is:



And go there I did. But before that I wanted to read Double Up, the story that made a lot of readers wish for Eddie's book. Sure enough, by the end of it, I was one of them. I was just lucky enough not to have to wait for it.

I'm happy to report I liked Eddie & Wish's story better than Ben & Dave's for several reasons.

I'll start with the two that appealed to me personally. The majority probably wouldn't be this glad about this, but I am, and whoever shares my opinions about these things will be too.

Lovers calling each other "baby" is a big pet peeve of mine. Whenever I find that in a book, my face contorts in an ugly grimace. Ben & Dave did it, so that had me worried. However, no worrying was necessary because Eddie and Wish skipped that endearment. Maybe it didn't fit into their kinky games. Maybe they're just not a fan of it, like myself. Either way, I was grateful for the lack of babys. I was much fonder of Eddie's darlings and lovelys.

I may be the most anti-sporty person on the planet. Seriously, all the sports activities could seize to exist, and I wouldn't even notice. Since several of either main or side characters are wakeboarders, there was talk of that sport, especially in book one. But Eddie, bless his heart, apparently feels similar as I do since he didn't even consider sports talk to be even English. I was all smiling and nodding. Finally someone who understands.

Other than that, there were other reasons that made this book one of those stories I finished reading with a smile on my face.

The length. Rough Road is longer than Double Up, which is, you know, YAY! But that would be irrelevant if those extra pages weren't used wisely. And they were, in my opinion. The story had a nice flow. The progression of Eddie & Wish's relationship, the sexy kinky times, the conflicts, the resolutions -- all of that found its place. I also liked that we got an update on how Ben and Dave are doing in their relationship, and how Ben's health is after everything that happened in Double Up.

The relationship. Eddie and Wish certainly had the case of insta-lust. For a moment there I was worried they would get too serious too soon, but they didn't. It all moved on naturally, or as naturally as it can go when you have a forty-three year old rich man who doesn't want to get involved with a younger man, and a twenty-four year old man with a much lower income. The significant age difference was only significant to Eddie, but even he soon realized their main difference was money. That age gap wasn't even noticeable much from their behavior. The money did pose a problem, but I liked how those issues it caused were resolved.

The kink. Like I said at the beginning it was the nickname Kinky that drew me to this book. I just love discovering all the various kinks fictional characters have. Plus, I have a soft spot for masochists, and Eddie is one, one that likes to make his tops work for it, which made it interesting to read.

The Eddie. Whenever I think about Eddie in Double Up, my mind goes straight to the scene with Eddie standing on the dock... in a Speedo... with a raging hard-on. It was love-ly to get to know the man who owns a ton of Speedos. The Speedos made an appearance, of course, but it was the man himself who left the best impression on me. For example, I already knew he was important in Ben's recovery, but only now did I realize just how much he did for his friend.
Another interesting detail I was wondering about in book one came to light: the reason for age-old rivalry with a certain homophobic asshole. It was that piece of information that made what he did for Wish all the more meaningful.

The end had me smiling. It was all gooey and romantic, not just because of Eddie and Wish, but Ben and Dave as well. It was a lovely happy ending for both couples.

***ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***
Profile Image for Sandra.
4,073 reviews13 followers
June 29, 2015
With the kinky hotness! I've read a lot of BDSM but I think this may have been my first foray into the solely S&M genre, and oh boy did I like it! I loved this quote:

"Admitting you like pain is one thing. Pain can be sterilized. Violence though, and a sexual craving for it, tends to creep civilized people right the fuck out."

So if you're not okay with reading about someone who wants to be smacked across the face, slammed up against a wall, and fucked hard, then don't read this book. But given the rough sex this book is still surprisingly sweet, and the light and cheesy cover gives a good representation of the humor and fun that these guys have.

Be forewarned, there will be drama. Eddie creates some initially due to reticence about their age difference, and Wish creates some later due to overreaction and conflict avoidance/poor communication skills (despite being supremely good at communicating in the bedroom). But nothing is drawn out or too painful, and they do excel pretty marvelously once they start talking and get their heads out of their own asses.

Some of the drama revolves around this "roads project", which was probably the only part of the story I didn't love. It was never explained all that well, and I actually thought they were both pretty selfish about it. All we know is how this project will affect Eddie and Wish both personally and professionally, but we don't know anything about how the road development will help or hinder the town and it's people with regards to community, environment, and economics. There's a bit of a heavy handed chapter where someone gets hurt and there's a delay with the ambulance getting through due to traffic on the narrow road. Yes traffic sucks for many reasons, but there are other factors to a big public works project like this and I wish those had been at least acknowledged.

But I digress. This was great, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I never read book 1, Double Up, although I don't feel like I missed anything. Generally I like to read books in order so I'd say start at the beginning, but this was fine as a stand alone. If you want a bit of good 'ol fashioned kinky fun, I'd highly recommend this!

ARC received from Carina Press on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for .Lili. .
1,181 reviews259 followers
June 29, 2016
I read this one a bit back to get ready for Roller Girl, but life has been hectic and hadn't had the time to post a review. What can I say: this book was funny and sweet but also made me a little uncomfortable. I do love me some kinky times, but these boys tested my limits. Humiliation is not really my thing, so I had a hard time with that. Despite that though I still enjoyed it and would recommend it- just be aware going in this was kinkier that the first book but it still carries the same sweet and feel good vibe of it. I thought it was a nice addition to the series! Good stuff! 3.9 Stars!

Profile Image for ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣.
711 reviews152 followers
September 27, 2015
This is what Summer reading at the beginning of Autumn is all about: hot, a little wistful, ready to snuggle, happy to have the warmth but ready for the chill and all the good things that come with it, easy and light like the sunshine with a few emotionally heavy moments, just like those first cool rains of the season.

First things first, you definitely want to read Double Up before you read this. Not just because you'll better understand the relationships and important friendships, but because it's fantabulous and you'll love it. Yes, I'm that confident.

Next, this book isn't all that similar to DU in pace, tone, and focus. Is it the same in terms of spot on dialogue...

“You’re a pretty great guy, Wish,” I tell him as I pull into traffic. “But you got no fucking ear for music.”

“Not one bit. Nobody wants to stand next to me when the singing starts at birthday parties.”

“I think I’ll keep you anyway.”

... and emotion...

Those things that seemed like reasons not to push him away have become reasons to hold him close.

... and humor?

“Horn dog.”


Clearly, a match made in heaven.

You betchur sweet bippy, but this is Eddie's story. Eddie's fears and heart and loyalty and love. I know, right? Eddie! Love!! And it totally works.

This is steamy. Intimate and fucking... just, fucking.

Eddie has no filter and tells it like it is, whether it benefits or makes him happy or not, he just says it. I get it. I live it. As do my friends. Which is another hallmark of North's storytelling: these people are like my friends in the way they talk, their behavior, where they are in their lives in terms of saying and doing what they want and balancing that with what needs to get done, especially with friends and fam.

Wish is a naturally complex creature, showing his confidence, his enjoyment of inflicting pain, and knowing what he wants, while also demonstrating his vulnerabilities, his challenges, and knowing he still has a lot to learn.

He can get all of that, and more, with Eddie.

Eddie can get what he's never experienced, and learns that he wants more than anything, with Wish.

Is this a somewhat idyllic setting? Yup. Are some of the solutions a bit too perfect? Yep. But it all seems to work for these people of Lovelace Lake, and I enjoyed every moment, even the tough ones, the one that caused me tears (happy ones!), and definitely the ones that made me laugh.

On the opening page, I remembered why I so heart Eddie.

Not too many pages later, one of my favorite lines:

My angel snorts and starts dialing my phone.

And by the end, I was reminded again why I love Vanessa North's writing, why I love good books, and why friends are the freaking best, even when life forces a change or two upon us.

Profile Image for Feliz.
Author 57 books106 followers
August 10, 2015
Eddie and Wish *sigh* - a match made in Heaven...

So basically anyone who ever read Double Up (Lake Lovelace, #1) by Vanessa North , the first book in this series, fell in love with Eddie Russell. He’s Ben from Double Up’s best friend, he’s born rich, and he is, in his own words, a “sassy old queen” (never mind he’s only forty-four.) He also is a masochist, though not at all submissive, he gets off on fighting back. And he’s still holding a candle for Ben (without acknowledging it even to himself, though it’s obvious to anyone with eyes) which makes finding his match even more difficult.
Until he meets Aloysius Carver—Wish for short—a twenty-four year old, smart-mouthed, sexy road crew worker with self-confidence enough to challenge Eddie on his own turf and with a 100% compatible kink. A match made in heaven, you’d think, particularly since they click outside the bedroom just as well as between the sheets. If age difference and money issues don’t get between them, not to mention Eddie’s split loyalties.

Double Up was a hard act to follow, but I liked Rough Road even better, mainly because it had considerably less wakeboard-ese and a lot more Eddie. I really, really loved how Eddie’s character evolved over the course of the story. It’s mainly his growth the reader is privy to, since Eddie is the 1st person POV narrator, but Wish makes progress too (and I loved the fact that it was the older, supposedly more mature character who had to learn the most). Add to that lots of sassy, snarky banter, steaming hot and deliciously kinky sex scenes, heartbreaking emotions and flawless writing, and you’ve got a most enjoyable read I can only warmly recommend. A great continuation to the series!

(Rough Road is written in present tense, by the way, which I normally don’t like at all. But just like with Double Up, the writing is so fabulous I stopped noticing the tense right after the first few sentences.)
Profile Image for Kristan.
379 reviews37 followers
January 8, 2016
4.5 stars

Oh, there is a God, and angels really do wear hard hats.

Eddie; that bright, sassy, shining star from the first book is back and as loveable as ever.

Eddie and Wish are pretty much made for each other. There might be twenty years separating them, but no one has ever gotten Eddie the way Wish does. Wish loves to inflict pain but doesn't want a submissive man, and Eddie loves the fight of it. There's a violence that comes with sex, and it's a major turn on for him.

These two aren't immune to bumps and bruises outside the bedroom though. The fact that Eddie has money is a small source of contention between them. So is Wish's tendency to walk away from a problem rather than face it.

But mostly it's Eddie's desperate cling to his best friend, Ben, that is their major road block.

How can Eddie explain to everyone what twenty years of of caring for someone feels like? How is suppose to come to peace with the fact that Ben doesn't need him the same way that he used to?

All else aside, it turns out that I have a thing for the rough and kinky. Eddie and Wish were HOT and so compatible together that I could read those two going to it all day long.

I loved seeing both men let their walls down and show their vulnerability.

And their HEA? Perfection.

Seeing Ben and Davis again was a special kind of treat on an already amazing read.

Another highly recommended Vanessa North read.
Profile Image for Shirley Frances.
1,799 reviews114 followers
October 1, 2015
Phew! I loved Double Up and although I expected the book that would follow to be great, I wasn't expecting it to be this awesome. Boy was I wrong. Not only was this better in the way the characters related to each other, but it was also hella hotter!

We met Eddie Russell on Double Up as Ben's flamboyant, in-your-face best friend. He left quite an impression on me then, but it was by reading his story that I ultimately fell in love with his every facet.

At first sight, you wouldn't put much stock in who he is. He's honest to a fault, loyal and unapologetic about who he is and what he wants. All this I learned in the previous story, but after finishing his story I have to say that he is so much more than meets the eye. Here's a man who loves deeply, who yearns for something more and hasn't allowed himself the chance to pursue it.

Then Wish Carver crosses his path and turns his life upside down--in a good way. Wish is a 24-year old road worker. He's easy going, charming and kinky as can get. A dirty talker with a heart of gold, he sees something in Eddie that he would like to explore further and he will not be deterred. He's determined to make Eddie see him for who he is and not the idea Eddie has of him. He may be young, but he's the ideal man to make Eddie soar.

I loved this story! (I think I said that before, but it bears repeating.)

What I most enjoyed about this story was the way Vanessa North brought Wish and Eddie together. On the surface, Wish and Eddie appear to be complete opposites. Wish is young, Eddie is older. Wish is working class, Eddie is well off financially. Two different individuals, two different upbringings and social classes. The only thing in common--complementary needs of the kinky kind.

But how to build a story around this one shared element and still make it appear believable? Beats me, I just enjoy the end product! But I admire the hell of any author who could bring together two complete opposites while still making it look effortless. Vanessa North did that and so much more. (Fan-girl moment over. Moving on.)

I enjoyed the character development both MCs endured throughout the story. While Eddie hesitated in getting involved in any type of relationship with Wish, he was ultimately helpless in resisting what Wish could provide. He doubted his decision to give in every step of the way until he found himself fully immerse in the very relationship he tried so hard to keep at bay. (Go Eddie!) His journey was a treat to read and I admired the hell out of him simply because he allowed himself the chance to explore something more. Likewise, I admired Wish's strength of character and ability to look beyond the significant age difference that existed between him and Eddie. Wish was mature beyond his years, something that came in handy when paired up with Eddie, but he still had room for growth and I appreciated the author's effort of bringing that to the page.

Of course, Eddie and Wish shared an amazing kind of chemistry. You know the one. Intense. Relentless. Overwhelming. I loved it! That very fist encounter alone set the mood for the rest that was to come (pun intended!). I loved the sense of urgency--that desire to have your needs met and f*ck the consequences. It was epic, as evidenced by the amount of highlighted text on my tablet. ;-)

With a diverse set of fully developed elements, Vanessa North brought about an unusual kind of romance, but a romance nonetheless. There was the shared need for something 'more', the intensity of emotions felt by the characters, the underlying conflict their differences brought about and the political issue that affected them both.

All in all, a fantastic addition to the series. Hot, kinky yet with an undercurrent of sweetness throughout. I couldn't help but love Wish and Eddie together. I just wished the story would have been longer so I could have enjoyed them a little bit more. Oh well, that's what re-reads are for.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.
Profile Image for ancientreader.
378 reviews45 followers
March 17, 2023
Huh. I bought this on sale at Smashwords, basically because the kink in the sample was hot, and what do you know, it turns out to have hot sex and some interesting class-based conflict. Much better written than I expected, too. Like, well written.
Profile Image for Reflection.
355 reviews62 followers
September 2, 2015
“When you got out of the car and I could actually see you? So handsome and swishy and wincing in pain, you made me hard. I wanted to fuck you. I wanted to see you wince from pain I inflicted. Not because I thought you’d like it, but because I like it. The fact that you do like it? That it could be more than a jerk-off fantasy?”

Frankly, Rough Road is glorious. It starts with a bang and continues to spin a story that is entirely engaging - both brutally funny and immensely touching. I was charmed by the uniquely sassy and ever so slightly world weary Eddie as he conversationally shares with the us his initial meeting with Wish, and then details their growing attraction in the face of everyday adversities.

Both guys share little in common and there is a twenty year age gap which makes Eddie believe anything more than a hook up is unlikely at best. Wish and Eddie share easy banter and a kink that fits surprisingly well.

Eddie is flamboyant and privileged, a pillar of the community with a circle of close friends, most especially his best friend Ben. Wish works on a road crew and helps out at his brother's car repair shop. He has recently moved to Florida and his work prospects are uncertain. If their relationship is to flourish they need to be sensitive in bridging differences that could undermine their attraction. They need to take steps to fit into each other's worlds outside of their scorching sex life.

Wish is a sadist and Eddie a pain slut and when they get together their kink compatibility is off the charts. The book is so immersive that I was completely swept away with delight when they go at it rough and ready (even though this is not a kink for me it didn't matter), their joy and utter abandon was intoxicating.

Each time I picked up the story I had a warm satisfied feeling and a curiosity to know how they could overcome the obstacles that daily life was throwing at them. I wanted Eddie and Wish to get their happy ending, especially when it seemed so fragile.

“Eddie. I can love you when you’re being self-absorbed. I can love you when you’re mouthing off to me to try and get me to spank you harder. I can love you when you’re distracted by work or town politics or what have you. But I can’t love your insistence on martyring yourself for this guy. I get it: he’s your best friend and you’re absolutely fucking blind with love for him. But it’s killing me to see it and wonder what it would take to get you to care like that about me.”

These guys are delightful, spending time with them was nothing short of a pleasure. Their banter was laugh out loud funny and their everyday ups and downs were at once realistic and thought provoking with no easy answers or simple solutions. There were times it was hard for me to read the words because of tears (both happy and sad) I was a mess! Less well crafted books may have come across as contrived. This was convincing and unpredictable.

I don't actually think the cover is that appealing, and I may have otherwise skipped the story, but thankfully it came highly recommended by a friend. He was entirely right, Rough Road is a great book beautifully crafted, realistic and heart warming it deserves to be on the reading list of everyone who enjoys contemporary male/male romance. If you do not buy this and read it, you will be missing out on a very good thing.

*Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Maria.
672 reviews37 followers
October 4, 2015
This book was very entertaining. Well drawn out, likeable characters. Eddie was a blast to read. As a testament to the utterly fantastic writing skills of Vanessa North, never once did I squeak or squirm or roll my eyes. We have a sadist and a masochist and I learned to appreciate their kinkiness for what it is - their thing, not mine. I still enjoyed every written word. It was just that good. Highly recommended.
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