His to Hold by Jessie Pinkham

Heat Level 3
SKU 978-1-77339-592-0

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Tea and Empathy, 1

Love can be found when you least expect it ... if you take a leap of faith. 

Cole Gallagher never intended to date an empath. Empaths bond for life, and they like to keep their bonded anchor happy, which is more responsibility and power over another person than anyone ought to have. Despite his lack of interest in being an anchor, Cole gets talked into meeting a coworker's empath cousin, and he genuinely likes the man. 

Aiden is everything Cole wants in a partner: charismatic, witty, cute, and a lot of fun. The catch is that he only has a few months to find an anchor, so Cole faces pressure to quickly make a lifelong commitment. When Aiden is kidnapped, Cole has to decide whether he will let his fears win and walk away, or take a chance on love.

Be Warned: m/m sex



“Those must be the Hagemann Gorges. I hear they have some spectacular diving holes. No sharks, either.”

“No. Just the odd electric eel.”

Cole winced. Sharks were almost always harmless and didn’t bother him. Electric eels, on the other hand, inspired a less-than-rational fear. In retrospect, reading how an electric eel could stop a man’s heart one night when he was seven hadn’t been his greatest idea.

“The truth comes out,” said Aiden, his tone gently teasing. “You’re only Mr. Fearless about sharks.”

Cole attempted to salvage his pride. “More like I’m only not Mr. Fearless about electric eels.”

This failed to convince Aiden. “Sure. Nothing else scares you.”

Fortunately, Cole appreciated a man who stood up for himself and was a touch on the sassy side. “What else is there in life to be afraid of, besides electric eels?”

“Deep water sharks, for one. Falling from great heights. Death. Dismemberment.”

“Well isn’t this cheerful.”

Aiden shrugged with a glint of mirth in his eyes. Damn, he was cute. “You asked.”

“Remind me not to do that again.”

They were headed toward Lemke Wildlife Reserve, according to the onscreen map. It was beautiful. A herd of bison grazed next to where the river meandered around a bend, across from where giant turtles sunned themselves and not far from a stately grove of prismatic vielefarbe trees.

Nevertheless, Cole was more interested in Aiden than the scenery. He gathered that Aiden felt the same way, if the frequent glances and smiles were anything to go by. The chemistry between them was almost palpable, so it wasn’t much of a risk to take Aiden’s hand when they stood for a better view.

“You do realize physical contact makes you an open book, empathically speaking.”

Actually, Cole hadn’t. He kept his grip anyway because he liked Aiden a lot and wanted to see if they were as good together as he thought they might be. Sure, it was still a little disarming to know how little privacy he had around Aiden, and he wasn’t ready to make any commitments, but there wasn’t anything malicious about Aiden’s empathy. It was simply part of him.

He gave the younger man’s hand a squeeze. “Me being an open book hasn’t scared you off, huh?”

“No.” Aiden gave him another smile and squeezed right back. “I’m sorry to be the one to inform you that you really aren’t a frightening guy, Cole.”

“You’re crushing my self-image.”

They chuckled together and went back to admiring the scenery, hands still entwined.

Product Reviews

Score: 4 out of 5 (based on 7 ratings)
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Long and Short Reviews
Written by Fern on 31st Jul 2018

Despite legally having the same rights as regular humans – empaths are still considered a human rights issue. Empaths are still largely abused, kidnapped and used practically as slaves. Cole and his friend Gabe strongly oppose this sad reality, but it’s not until Cole is introduced to a friend’s cousin who is an empath – Aiden – that the issue hits really close to home. Cole might be reticent about becoming Aiden’s anchor, but after meeting Aiden, Cole finds it just too hard to say no. I actually picked up this book after reading the second in the series (His To Cherish). I’m normally a stickler for reading things in order, but I have to be honest – I enjoyed His To Cherish enough that I wanted to read the other book in the series and enjoy it too. So I started reading this with both a good feeling and high expectations. I was really pleased, therefore, when those expectations were for the most part met. There was a bit more background information about Cole’s friend Gabe – who is central to “His To Cherish”’s plot – but generally I read this story easily by itself and feel that both stories can be read largely independent of each other. I was also pleased that while the world the story is set in is definitely alternative – a sort of sci-fi/futuristic mix with some paranormal (empaths etc) elements thrown in – I could easily pick up the lingo and the differences between our reality and the story’s settings. I’m often wary of sci-fi stories because the world are frequently too complex for me to fully grasp and I spend most of my reading time trying to catch up with the world and that loses the pleasure for me in the characters and plots. This wasn’t the case with this story and I really enjoyed how easily I could read it and follow along with Cole, Aiden and the storyline. Cole and Aiden are both interesting and layered characters. I was pleased that the different plot and world settings made fairly regular characters almost different and unique for their setting. That was quite fresh to me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I also was very pleased that Aiden was quite vocal about how the entire situation felt from the empath’s perspective. Showing this other side to the story really resonated with me and made the plot and story itself more complex and deeper than I expected. I found the story very rich and detailed and I absolutely loved it. I strongly feel the author is to be commended on a different perspective to an interesting plot and these two stories are great examples of how turning just a few things sideways can create not only a whole new world, but a different style of story. With intriguing characters, a great plot and plenty of potential for more stories this is a great read and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I will be eagerly looking forward to any future additions to this series.

Good Story!
Written by Esther on 8th Mar 2018

This is an enjoyable story that kept me entertained throughout. The author does a really good job of explaining this world and the different people in it, such as empaths and anchors. Cole has never wanted to be an anchor for an empath, that is until he meets Aiden, an empath. They are attracted to each other and get along very well, but Aiden doesn't have much time to find an anchor and Cole isn't sure that he can be that anchor. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.

A Great Start For A Series
Written by Violet Marshall on 8th Mar 2018

This is the first book in The Tea and Empathy Series. A spellbinding book the writing was great. The plot was entertaining and it was steady throughout the book. I found the story and characters intriguing. I loved this story I just wish that is was longer. The characters were developed and thought out. Aiden and Cole are the MC’s of this book. There was humor, Empath, Anchors, an eclipse, traveling, kidnapping, Geology, graduation, family, snorkeling and so much more in this book. My only problem with this book was the bonding it felt like an afterthought. Here is a quote from the book, “Is it easy to tell what emotions are other people’s?” “Yes, now. It wasn’t for the first six months or so, which you can imagine was a challenging time.” “And it’s only one way.” “Yes. I’m not entirely convinced that projecting empaths even exist. They might be an urban legend, because I’ve never come across any solid evidence for that ability, nor anyone in the empath community who was a projecting empath.”. There is more but you will need to read the book which I can highly recommend. I voluntarily read an advance copy of this book for an honest review.

Love and Empathy sci fi style!
Written by Tracey R on 28th Feb 2018

** spoiler alert ** What an interesting premise! I'm really enjoying this book, but then I'm a sucker for both scifi and m/m :D It's also interesting in mirroring of human rights throughout history. In this future world where humans have populated the stars, empaths started out as test tube creations with no rights who bonded to an 'anchor'. They were tools, much like drones, human tools to be used by politicians and the unscrupulous because when an empath bonded to an anchor they became so invested in the anchor that they would do anything to please them. And humans are nasty and brutish and more than willing to take advantage of that so there was a huge black market to buy and sell empaths for all sorts of things, including as sex slaves. But as those first generations of empaths had children and the genetic trait was passed on and eventually humanity was forced to recognize that empaths were human beings with autonomy and not just a tool to be used. This book starts with an interesting debate on the practice of 'buying' an empath between the main character, Cole, and his friend who happens to be from a wealthy family. The friend's sister is shopping around for an empath, a practice Cole finds disgusting. The friend, being the black sheep of a wealthy industrial family, finds his family's attitude amoral as well. The conversation ends and Cole thinks nothing of it... until approached by another co-worker who overheard the conversation for a private discussion. The co-worker has a cousin who is an empath in need of an anchor and he wants to find his cousin a _good_ anchor. The very fact that Cole was disgusted by the behavior and had no desire to be an anchor was what brought him to the man's attention. Out of courtesy Cole agrees to meet the cousin, Aiden, and finds himself falling for the other man _despite_ him being an empath, not because he was; and the attraction is mutual. But Aiden is on a timeline. He has to bond to an anchor with months or go mad. The couple slowly falling for each other, Cole always aware of the ever looming timeline. He spends his time away from Aiden pondering the weighty responsibility of becoming an anchor but an unscrupulous friend of a friend causes that timeline to speed up drastically when Aiden is kidnapped and an injected with a drug meant to force an empath into bonding prematurely. It is only when he receives the news rhat Aiden has been kidnapped that Cole realizes all his worry and self-doubt was unnecessary. He was in love with Aiden, empathy and all. Now he can only hope he gets the chance to tell him. It was a well-written and thoughtfully thought out book. I love how the rights of empaths mirrored struggles of previous generations - the emancipation of women, the end of slavery and the struggles of segregation. I will definitelg be reading book 2!

Loved It
Written by Joscelyn Smith on 26th Feb 2018

A very enjoyable read with likable characters and an engaging storyline. The story has a really great premise, being the perfect person to do something because you never desired it/having an ability that defines you because others want to control you and it. I really can't wait to read the next book in the series.

This author has barely dipped your toe in the water in introducing you to this wonderful world of empaths and anchors
Written by Amazon Customer on 26th Feb 2018

Dear Ms. Pinkham, I hope, hope, hope that you will be continuing with this storyline. This author has barely dipped your toe in the water in introducing you to this wonderful world of empaths and anchors. I have read several assorted books with Empaths and what not. But the manner in which Ms. Pinkham draws you into Aiden and Cole’s life. Aiden who needs Cole desperately and Cole who just wants to do the right thing. Everyone needs to read this and then plead with Ms. Pinkham to keep writing about this wonderful new world she has brought to life.

A good read!
Written by Sarita Chapdelaine on 26th Feb 2018

This is an intriguing and entertaining story that I really enjoyed. It is well-written and the world building is excellent. In this world empaths have to be careful who they bond with as they could easily be mistreated by their anchors. Aiden's family are trying to help him find the perfect anchor before time runs out for him. Cole hates how empaths are treated and has never considered being an anchor until he is asked by a co-worker to meet Aiden. They both have to decide what they want and take the time to get to know each other. The secondary characters add a lot of depth to the story and I hope we see Gabe again. There was a lot packed into this book and I loved the ending. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. I was given an ARC to review by the author.