Today, I’m hosting Evie Drae’s latest release Cinderellis, book two in the Once Upon a Vegas Night series. Be sure to check out my review of this book. And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Series: Once Upon a Vegas Night #2
Author: Evie Drae
Publication Date: February 25, 2021
Genres: Adult, Fairy Tales, LGBTQ+, Retelling, Romance
Blurb: As the son of music industry royalty and a famous rock star in his own right, Henry “Cinder” Cinderford has spent his life on the road. Craving stability, he signs on to do a special limited engagement in Las Vegas and plans to spend the next six months discovering the meaning of home.
After losing his mom at a young age, Ellis Tremaine survived a childhood with an abusive stepfather who took out his anger on the son he never wanted. Nearly two decades later, Ellis continues to struggle against the emotional manipulations of his family, even in his career. But when he meets none other than the Prince of Pop himself, things start to change.
From attraction to friendship to something so much more, Ellis and Cinder become the celebrity ‘ship known as “Cinderellis.” But when reality threatens their storybook romance, all they can do is hope there really is a happily ever after for every once upon a time.
As the amber and pink hues of a Vegas sunrise peeked through the blinds, the radiant heat of the muted rays fell in bands over the comforter, and Cinder’s eyes drifted open. He blinked up at the ceiling as his mind meandered toward consciousness.
After waking up in the same bed for over two months now—the longest stint he’d ever had in the same sleeping quarters, if he didn’t count his tour bus, which he didn’t—he was finally starting to get used to the luxury of the familiar. He relished the recognizable comfort of a bed he could call his own and the intimate ease of a space he knew and could navigate without thought.
But as his brain chugged into gear, something struck him as different. Not wrong, just not the same as usual. He went to lift a hand to rub the sleep from his eyes but found his arm trapped by an unexpected weight. Before he could turn to assess the source of his encumbrance, enough awareness seeped into his mind to bring back memories of how he’d fallen asleep the night before.
Wrapped in the arms of Ellis Tremaine.
A smile crept up his cheeks as he rolled over to pull Ellis against his chest. Snuffling in his sleep, Ellis came willingly. He threaded a leg between Cinder’s and circled an arm around Cinder’s waist to anchor their bodies together. Smile stretching into a grin, Cinder brushed a kiss over the whorl of hair at Ellis’s crown as he reveled in the beauty of waking to such a cozy, content moment.
This is what he’d been missing all these years. Every time he’d pushed another nameless partner from his bed in the wee hours of the morning—choosing to sleep alone after sharing a romp in the sheets rather than waiting to see where the morning might take them—he’d given up another chance at finding the one thing he’d needed most.
Comfort. Stability. A rock to cling to in the stormy seas of life.
Because that’s what this was. This moment with Ellis in his arms, sated by memories of a day spent working side by side and an evening shared without the typical pomp and circumstance others required, it was the home he’d been searching for all his life. Just as his parents had always tried to tell him, but he’d never understood.
Home wasn’t a physical space. It wasn’t something you could find in a brick-and-mortar structure or by tying yourself to a single place. Home was a feeling. An emotion. A sense of well-being and security. Of being cared for and wanting to—no, needing to—care for another.
In its simplest form, home was love. And as Cinder clung to Ellis’s sweet warmth, he knew love was where his heart was headed. Maybe he hadn’t quite fallen that far yet, but it was coming for him, and he was ready to take the plunge when it did.
This is my first time reading a book by the author, and I must say I enjoyed this read. Cinder is a pop star and Ellis is a stage rigger. The novel takes place in Las Vegas, something that drew me to reading the book because I enjoy a novel set in Sin City. Whereas Ellis is a local, Cinder is laying down roots for his residency.
I found the two men complemented each other. Cinder, being a son of two famous performers, is naturally raised to reach for gold. While Ellis lost his mom at a young age and was raised by a drunken, vicious stepdad and a spoiled rotten step-sister. Cinder is outgoing. Ellis is withdrawn. They are both true products of their environments. But this sets up for great character arcs, which I really enjoyed, as both help one another become a better person.
Although it’s insta-lust for Cinder, Ellis is very cautious. I liked that the romance had to take its time, and Cinder had to learn how to cool his heels and not expect everything on a platter, as he’s used to.
Two secondary characters I enjoyed are Cinder’s friends Lizbeth and Kumiko. They brought insight into the novel, and even humour. They were well used for the plot, too.
The descriptions of the setting were vivid. I felt as if I was in Vegas. The same for both jobs of Cinder and Ellis. I got a good hand at what stagehands do, and what it means to be on stage performing. Well done. The dialogue was spot on for Ellis, Cinder, and the other players in the book.
The chemistry between Cinder and Ellis was one full of warmth and friendship. I liked this. It took time for Cinder to coax Ellis to trust him.
There is some suspense at the end of the novel that I did see coming.
Overall, this was a wonderful read, and a book I recommend. I especially loved the writing. The author’s uses fresh visceral responses and fresh descriptions, such as lines like this: “Elllis’ brain stuttered to a halt.” Love that LOL.
Do yourself a favour and get yourself a copy.
Evie Drae (Ze/Hir/Hirs) is a registered nurse by day and a best-selling, award-winning male/male romance writer by night. Ze 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. Ze was a double finalist in the 2019 Golden Heart® in both the Contemporary Romance and Romantic Suspense categories.
One of Evie’s favorite things to do is encourage hir fellow writers. To that end, ze 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. Ze is married to the love of hir life, is the parent of two wonderful fur babies, and runs almost entirely on coffee and good vibes.
Evie loves to link EvieDrae@gmail.com or find hir on hir social media accounts listed below. Twitter is where ze’s most active but be sure to check out hir blog too. Ze focuses on reviews for LGBTQ+ authors and allies with the occasional quirky advice/recommendation post just to toss things up.
1st Place – $50 Amazon e-gift card and ebook copies of both books currently available in the Once Upon a Vegas Night series: Beauregard and the Beast and Cinderellis.
2nd Place – $25 Amazon e-gift card and e-book copies of both books currently available in the Once Upon a Vegas Night series.
3rd Place – e-book copies of both books currently available in the Once Upon a Vegas Night series.