Gabe had never been close to his sister, but after her death he still felt guilty that his grief wasn’t stronger. Gabe wasn’t particularly close to any of his family, but he felt it was still a new low that they dealt in what amounted to human trafficking – buying empaths who would attach and become fully reliant on their “owner”. When Gabe meets Ignacio to inform him that Ignacio’s fiancée had died Gabe is rather upset to find Ignacio’s parents as money-hungry as he’d feared. Making the deal despite his original intentions, Gabe has to wonder what he’s going to do with an empath he never expected to have. I found this to be an interesting and engrossing read. There’s a small reference early on to another book in the series – which I hadn’t read previous to this story – and I was pleased that I could easily read this as a stand alone novel. While set in an alternative/futuristic type of world I didn’t find that there was an over-abundance of weird slang/terms/world-building that I needed to grasp quickly. I actually prefer this sort of “easy understanding” in my sci-fi/futuristic style of stories so I was really pleased and quite relieved. It helped me focus on Ignacio and Gabe’s characters, their situation and the story itself and not have to constantly feel like I was catching up or trying to wrap my head around the world they lived in. Indeed, I felt comfortable enough with the author’s voice, the futuristic world-setting and adored both Gabe and Ignacio’s characters enough I hadn’t even finished the story before I made a note to check out the first book in the series. Personally, I can’t think of a stronger recommendation of any author or story to want to read more, new books before even completing the one I was already in the middle of. I thought Gabe and Ignacio’s characters to be interesting and the entire situation they found themselves in to be a good storyline. A part of me felt a little like Gabe was “too good to be true”, but I think that’s a bit of cynicism on my behalf. I know I would have hated Gabe’s character had he wanted to take advantage of Ignacio or treat him poorly, so I feel a little unfair thinking the fact Gabe wanted Ignacio to be “free” and have his own life and choices was unrealistically good. The world and setting was certainly different enough that I didn’t feel anything outrageous needed to occur to add extra interest in the plot of characters. Simply the whole situation of what empaths were, and how their lives were structured was plenty of plot and world-building to keep my interest keen and as stated before I enjoyed both Gabe and Ignacio’s characters in and of themselves so that was a bonus. Readers looking for an intensely erotic story might find the sex parts of this story a little lacking. While Gabe and Ignacio are sexually intimate toward the end of the story the focus was far more strongly upon their relationship and emotional/empathetic connections. While I was pleased they didn’t simply jump right into bed (Ignacio was both quite young and completely inexperienced to the point in my personal opinion of being borderline unable to knowingly give consent) I also would not have been opposed to the two men being intimate a little earlier than they were in the story. I can appreciate, however, that this was a fine line that the author had to walk. While explicit – and the eventual penetrative sex scene was certainly hotly written to my mind – there wasn’t an abundance of erotic, steamy sex in this story. A surprisingly good, refreshingly different story I thoroughly enjoyed this read. I found the characters and world to be vibrant and engrossing and the relationship between Gabe and Ignacio to be extremely well written. A great new author and series and I am eagerly looking forward to reading more.
Tea and Empathy, 2
Love may be within his reach … if he is able to trust in it.
Gabe Thorne was disgusted by his sister’s plan to purchase an empath. She wanted someone who would be compelled to please her, and only her sudden death interrupted the plan. The empath she’d chosen, Ignacio, needs to bond with an anchor almost immediately, and Gabe volunteers to prevent him from being auctioned off to an abuser by his greedy parents.
Ignacio proves to be a sweet, enchanting guy, and soon Gabe begins to develop real feelings for him. Despite this, and the lifelong commitment he made when he let Ignacio bond to him, Gabe doesn’t believe they can have a real relationship. His long habit of pessimism has protected him from a lot of disappointment over the years. This time? Expecting the worst might ruin any chance of a happy relationship.
Be Warned: m/m sex
Having Nacio around and frequently reading, Gabe found himself reading more as well. So he was lying in bed, finishing a short story before going to sleep for the night, when Nacio said, “Gabe, I think it’s happening.”
“You’re bonding with me?”
Nacio nodded. “I can’t fight it.”
“Hey, you don’t have to fight it.” Gabe set aside his tablet and rolled on his side so he could face his bedmate. He pulled Nacio into his arms. “I’m here for you.”
“This is forever. I’ll always need you.” Nacio’s blue eyes darted around, a sure sign he was nervous.
“I know.” While it was rushed and he’d have liked more time, they didn’t have that option and he truly thought this was the best thing for Nacio. It was nerve-wracking because Gabe didn’t know if it was the best idea for himself.
If they were fortunate, they might just end up in the kind of relationship Gabe wanted, two men in a long-term, loving, monogamous sharing of lives. He was far from certain that would happen, and if the future didn’t work out the way he hoped, Nacio would forever be in his life in some capacity. Gabe knew what he was signing on for and he would honor the commitment, whatever the personal cost. He could do no less for this endearing man who trusted him so completely.
He kissed Nacio’s forehead. “I’ll always be here for you, and I’m not going to take advantage of you. There’s no need to fight, okay? You have so much to deal with, sensing all those emotions. Let me help you.”
Nacio clung to Gabe, face pressed into his shirt. “I’m glad it’s you.”
“Me too.” As much as this was upending his world, Gabe spoke the truth. He did not at all like the idea of Nacio having someone else as his anchor, someone who might not appreciate him or support his individuality as much as Gabe did, and in the short time Nacio had been with him, he’d grown incredibly fond of the young man. “Is there anything I can do to make this easier?”
The answer was spoken into his chest. “Don’t let go.”
Simple enough. It felt so good, so right, to hold Nacio. They had similar builds and heights, with Gabe slightly broader-chested but not as long-limbed, and it was easy to align their bodies for optimal contact.
“I’ve got you, sweetheart.” He rubbed circles on Nacio’s back in what he hoped was a soothing manner. “You don’t have to fight it.”
“You’re so uncertain.”
“Well, sure. We haven’t even known each other a week, and we have no clue what our future is going to look like. Doesn’t mean I’m changing my mind.”
“Good. I really want you for my anchor, Gabe. Not because of your family or money, because those aren’t so very important. I want you because you’re kind and thoughtful, and you make me smile a lot. Also, the fact that you’re such a good person despite your family speaks very highly to your character.”
It was an incredible privilege to be Nacio’s anchor, and while Gabe wasn’t convinced he was worthy of the honor, he’d do his very best. “I feel the same way about you with your parents. They’re so terrible and yet you’re a great guy.”
Nacio smiled. “I’m glad you think so. I really am very lucky to get you for my anchor.”
Gabe wasn’t sure about that, but hearing it felt damn good all the same. “I’m not big on making promises,” he said, “because if I make one, I keep it. I’ll promise you this, though—I will never, ever deliberately take advantage of being your anchor, and if I don’t realize I’m doing it, tell me and I will stop.”
“I believe you,” said Nacio quietly. “With you, bonding isn’t frightening the way I’d thought.”
For something as mad as agreeing to be Nacio’s anchor, it felt remarkably right to hold him. Gabe was content to lie in silence and let Nacio deal with the empathy. He didn’t think he’d be much help in that department.
“You know, everyone uses the term anchor, but now that it’s happening to me I think an old-fashioned compass might be a better analogy,” said Nacio. “I’m pulled to you like a magnet, and you’ll help keep me oriented in a sea of emotions.”
The description made sense to Gabe, who wasn’t very well versed in empathy. He resolved to work on increasing his knowledge. “So you can feel the bond forming?”
“Yes. Don’t let go, please.”
“I won’t.” In fact, he held Nacio a bit tighter. “I’ve got you.”
Nacio’s next move could only be described as nuzzling followed by a murmur of contentment. Gabe wasn’t sure any physical contact had ever hit him the way this did. All the protective and nurturing instincts he usually tried to ignore rushed to the surface, along with great affection.
Nacio looked at him, wide-eyed. “Oh, Gabe.”
Wishing he could hide his feelings if only to protect his heart, Gabe resigned himself to the fact that he was falling hard and fast. It would probably come back to bite him in the ass later, but with Nacio looking at him with such wonder, in the moment he was having a hard time finding the regret he knew was lurking just around the corner.
“Would you mind very much to kiss me? I want to know what it feels like.”
As if he could refuse Nacio anything. Since this was presumably the younger man’s first kiss, Gabe kept it light, a gentle press of his lips on Nacio’s, followed by another which lingered a little longer. The third kiss Nacio shyly returned.
“So that’s kissing,” he said. “I can see the appeal.”
Gabe and Nacio are adorable, especially sweet Ignacio. Gabe had to let down his walls and let love in. such an enjoyable read, and very different that i've read before. loved the whole empath part of the story. sweet read, would def recommend.
I just finished reading the 2nd installment of the Tea and Empathy series. This was a sweet and gentle book and an easy read. If you enjoy books with little drama or suspense but love sweet relationship building this is the book for you. In this book we meet a character who was only touched on the previous book in this series, Cole's friend Gabe. In the last book we learn Gabe Thorne is from one of the rich and powerful families of Tusnua, the planet on which these books take place. Gabe's sister was in the middle of 'buying' an empath, something which disgusted Gabe to no end. Of course it was presented as a dowry to the empath's family, but she was in essence buying someone. This book opens with Gabe finding out his sister was dead, killed in a freak accident, and Gabe's father expecting him to deal with the empath. Gabe goes to meet the family and is immediately disgusted by the parents who are more interested in getting the rest of the money than what is in the best interest of their son, Ignacio, a 19 year old empath. Gabe immediately goes into 'hero mode' and agrees to complete the contract and take Ignacio, or Nacio as he likes to be called, as his empath and be his anchor. He pays off Gabe's parents and sends them on their way. The rest of the story is about Nacio growing into his own, from the idea he was 'compensation' to his mother and step-father, someone who was supposed to bend to the will of his anchor, to an independent but still gentle man who is very much in love with his anchor. From start to finish this was a sweet, gentle story and I enjoyed it very much.
OMG, some people should never be parents. How Gabe and Nacio turned out to be such caring thoughtful men is a mystery. This was a great second installment in the Tea and Empathy series, it was full of emotional connection and Nacio learning to be an individual. I absolutely adored Gabe, he was such a good person and he really care about doing right by Nacio. A truly unique series.
I am so happy to read Gabe's story as I loved him in the previous book and His To Cherish is a great addition to the series. It is well-written and the world it is set in is interesting and different. The idea of anchors and empaths is so intriguing to me and I think the author did an excellent job of making it believable. Gabe is not looking for a relationship but he jumps in to help Nacio when he unexpectedly finds himself without the anchor he was counting on. Nacio's parents only care about getting the money they were promised and are willing to hand him over to anyone as long as they get paid. Neither Gabe or Nacio had a great upbringing and they both have issues that cause problems in their relationship. Together they have to learn to trust each other and ask for what they want. I love the ending and the chance to catch up with Cole and Aiden from the first book. I look forward to reading more books by Jessie Pinkham. I was given an ARC to review by the author.
I adored this book. No stereotypes and both men had strengths and weaknesses. There wasn't any real external conflict, this book was an internal conflict book and it was beautifully done. I fell a bit in love with both men and the happy ending left me with a few happy tears. I definitely want to read more by this author.