He Owns My Heart
(Owned Heart, Body, & Soul #1)
Publication date: August 11th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Romance
2019 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® Finalist in Contemporary Romance
2018 Romance Writers of America® Heart-to-Heart 1st Place Winner in Erotic Romance
2018 Romance Writers of America® Gateway to the Best 2nd Place Winner in Single Title/Contemporary Series
Only true love can free a captive heart.
Landon Jenks, retired four-time Golden Glove-winning shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, is lonely, heartbroken, and in desperate need of simple human contact. Trapped in the sticky fine print of an ironclad contract that forbids him from revealing his very-much-single status until the season finale of his reality show airs, he calls an elite male escort service that caters to the rich and wretched.
Accustomed to servicing his often less than savory clients at more upscale locales, twenty-six-year-old Toby Carmichael is surprised when his handler sends him to a run-down motel off I-55. But “surprise” doesn’t come close to describing the shock that rocks his system when a delightful stuttering mess covered in tattoos and nearly ten years his senior stumbles into the room—and right into his heart.
For the first time since Toby was forced into the life of prostitution, a kiss sparks a desire that has nothing to do with money and everything to do with genuine chemistry and the faintest beginnings of something so much more. But Toby’s dark past and troubled present make it impossible to see a future with Landon. And when the truth comes to light, a horrified and helpless Landon is determined to save Toby at all costs.
Content Warnings: Discussion of childhood verbal abuse by an adult survivor, homophobia from a close family member, discussion of previous self-harm/cutting behaviors by an adult survivor, prostitution with dubious consent (all interactions between the main characters have full consent and there are no on-page depictions of dub-con situations), consensual and experimental Domination/submission play between mostly-novice characters, mild violence between a main character and antagonist, and human trafficking associated with illegal drugs (nothing explicit on-page, only discussions related to and psychological/mental ramifications of addressed in moderate detail).
Landon’s alarm went off at half past six the next morning, and he groused under his breath as his hand shot out to smack at the offending device. When Toby yawned and stretched away—assuming the alarm meant Landon planned to get up—he latched on to Toby’s bicep and tugged him into a snuggle hold.
“Where d’ya think yer goin’?” Landon slurred, planting a firm hand on Toby’s bare ass. “Mine. Y’can’t leave.”
Toby chuckled and burrowed deeper into Landon’s arms. “I wasn’t going anywhere, but your alarm went off. I figured you had to get up.”
Landon harrumphed. “Tha’ thing’s the devil.”
“What is, the alarm?”
Nodding, Landon’s jaw cracked on a yawn. “Gonna throw it away.”
Toby grinned against Landon’s neck. His cranky, decidedly-not-a-morning-person attitude was downright too cute for words. “You’re gonna throw your alarm clock away? How will you make sure you get up on time?”
“Won’t.” Landon squeezed Toby’s butt. “Gonna stay in bed forever.”
A deep belly laugh worked its way up Toby’s throat. “Oh, is that so? Gonna skirt your responsibilities and become a hermit?”
Landon nodded again and bucked his hips. “Got better things to do. Gonna spend every minute with you.”
Toby’s chest squeezed, and he inhaled a shaky breath. How he wished that were true. For this week, maybe, but after that?
Landon couldn’t keep buying Toby’s freedom indefinitely. He wouldn’t let him. Couldn’t let him. Despite Landon’s valiant intentions, Toby wouldn’t be free until his contract was up.
Landon’s alarm blared again. He growled but made no move to shut it off. Instead, he snuggled in closer to Toby and yanked the covers over both their heads, only slightly muffling the obnoxious noise.
“Fuck. You’re adorable.” Toby grinned into the darkness of their blanket cave and placed a smacking kiss against Landon’s neck.
“I’m not adorable,” Landon grumbled, giving Toby’s ass another firm squeeze. “Puppies and five-year-olds with blond curls and lollipops are adorable. I’m a man. A man nearly a decade older than you. Didn’t your parents teach you to respect your elders?”
“Too manly and geriatric to be adorable. Gotcha.” Toby bit his lip to fend off his laughter. “But you’re still really fuckin’ cute.”
Stillness… and a beeping alarm. For a good thirty seconds, that’s all Toby heard. Landon didn’t move or speak. Then, he tossed off the covers with a growl and pounced on Toby, pinning him to the mattress and glaring him down with sleepy, grumpy eyes. His hair stood on end and several red creases spread from beneath his thick beard where his cheek had laid against the pillow. Fuckin’ adorable.
“You’re gonna pay for that.” Landon’s voice was no longer slurred, but it retained that husky morning quality.
Toby bucked his hips and laughed when that unexpected jolt was enough to send Landon flailing, his lax, sleep-heavy arms giving out and landing him sprawled over Toby’s chest, his face buried in the pillow.
Landon shoved onto an elbow, sputtering and rubbing his face. He scowled at Toby. “That wasn’t very nice.”
“Just trying to wake you up a bit, slugger. I figured an all-star ball player like you would have a bit more balance than that. I barely jostled you and you went flying.” Toby tried to keep a straight face, but the laughter won out. “Hope you didn’t break a hip in the fall, Gramps. Although,” Toby drew out the word, tapping his chin in thought, “you’d totally rock the walker look. Dare I say? You’d be totes adorbs.”
Evie Drae is a registered nurse by day and an award-winning male/male romance writer by night. She has won first place in seven Romance Writers of America® (RWA®) competitions, including the prestigious title “Best of the Best” in the 2018 Golden Opportunity Contest. She is a double finalist in the 2019 Golden Heart®, in both the Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense categories, and finished as a second-place runner-up in four additional RWA contests.
One of Evie’s favorite things to do is encourage her fellow writers. To that end, she started the #writeLGBTQ and #promoLGBTQ hashtags on Twitter to support and promote LGBTQ+ authors and allies while providing a safe space to connect and grow as a community. She is married to the love of her life, is the mother of three wonderful fur babies, and runs almost entirely on coffee and good vibes.
Evie loves to link up with fellow writers and readers. You can reach her directly at EvieDrae@gmail.com or find her on her social media accounts listed below. Twitter is where she’s most active but be sure to check out her blog too. She focuses on reviews for LGBTQ+ authors and allies with the occasional quirky advice/recommendation post just to toss things up.