Rough Trade by Sidney Bell Blog Tour & Book Review

Mostly I think Rough Trade is a reminder that no matter what we’ve been through, it’s possible to grow and change and be loved.  –Sidney Bell, author of the Woodbury Boys series

ROUGH TRADE 9781335777119 front cover (1)Rough Trade (Woodbury Boys #3) by Sidney Bell

Publisher: Carina Press 

Release Date (Print & Ebook):

Ebook: Monday December 3

Print (mmp): Tuesday December 25


Length (Print & Ebook):

Ebook: 496

Print (mmp): 496


Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Male/Male Romance 

Reader warnings: Childhood sexual abuse, angst


All buy links or pre-order links:


Quick-witted hustler Ghost is no stranger to living dangerously; survival has always been the name of the game.

He’s just always gone it alone.

Now he’s got the wrong people breathing down his neck, and the only way out demands placing his trust in the unlikeliest of heroes: Duncan Rook, a gruff cop whose ethics are as solid as his body.

Cozying up to a criminal is hardly what Duncan’s reputation on the force needs—especially when that criminal is temptation personified. Ghost is Duncan’s polar opposite, and the last person he expected to fall for.

So then why does every imaginable scenario for taking down their common enemy end with Ghost in his arms?

This book is approximately 122,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Rough Trade Graphic 2.1 (1)

Short Excerpt #1:

So this was Ghost.

Duncan hadn’t been sure what to expect from Walt’s description: scared kid, smart mouth, liar through and through, tougher than he looked. He hadn’t expected to find a half-dead guy managing to stay upright behind a steering wheel on sheer willpower. He hadn’t expected beauty, especially not a beauty strong enough to shine through blood and bruises and ill-fitting clothes. A beauty of almost terrifying vulnerability, such that Duncan might’ve thought him harmless if not for Walt’s warning and the blade locked in his fist when Duncan had pulled him from the car.

Rough Trade Graphic 1.1 (1)

Short Excerpt #2:

“I’m not going to throw you under a bus, son.” Wathers dragged a hand over the loose skin of his jaw. “But I can’t help you, not the way you need. I mean, I can, and I will, but I’m not enough. I have a blip or two on my record—small stuff,” he interjected defensively, “and these days most cops do, but that’s not even the biggest problem. I’m retired and I’m old. Too easy for people to prompt questions about my word. You need someone unimpeachable. You need Duncan.”

“Who?” Ghost stared hard at the older man, searching for cues. But if Wathers was lying, he was better at it than anyone else Ghost had ever met.

“Duncan Rook. He’s staying outside of Cañon City at the moment. His rep’s golden. He’ll do right by you.”

Still no sign of bullshit. Ghost reached out for the cell phone. Wathers let him take it, which was reassurance of its own sort right there. “Tobias said you don’t carry a cell phone. And you used a landline at the restaurant.”

“Of course I have a cell phone,” Wathers said, looking a little hunted. “I just don’t turn it on very much.”

“Why not?”

“Because people keep calling me, and part of the reason I retired was so I wouldn’t have to talk to them.” He hesitated. “Don’t tell my daughter I said that.”

Ghost sighed. “He’s better for this than you? This Rook guy?”

“He is. That’s why we’re going. No other reason, son.”

“The mythical unicorn that is The Good Cop.” Ghost looked skyward for help. “Have mercy.”

Wathers laughed. “Oh, I don’t know that I’d call him a good cop, but he’s a good man. Bit of an acquired taste. If the two of you make it past the first few days without killing each other, he might be able to bail your ass out.”

“We’ll probably fall in love and get married,” Ghost said, batting his eyes. “You’re basically Cupid.”

Rough Trade Graphic 3 (1)

Long Excerpt #1:

He turned around with his jaw set and put both hands on Duncan’s chest. He pushed gently, so gently that Duncan couldn’t interpret it as anything but a question, and a nonthreatening one at that, so he found himself playing along until his back hit the concave wall of the tunnel. The cement seeped cold through his own thin, sweat-dampened T-shirt, making him shiver.

Or maybe it was Ghost nudging at Duncan’s feet with his toes until Duncan widened his stance, making room for Ghost to step closer still, until their thighs brushed, until Ghost’s tilted-up face was only inches away, his breath on Duncan’s lips. Ghost’s hands trembled against him. That small vulnerability made Duncan hurt deep in his belly, hot and sweet and aching.

“What are you doing?” Duncan whispered.

“You asked why.” Ghost cupped the back of his skull, trying to coax him to lower his head, and Duncan stupidly, stupidly, went along with it. Ghost’s mouth, when it pressed against Duncan’s, was dry and tentative and awkward.

He should move. He should push Ghost away. It was an act. It was bullshit. At the very least, it was manipulation. It had to be. He should run for his life and sanity and soul, but he couldn’t. He was stuck in place by nothing more than two hands resting on his sternum and the slow realization that this was Ghost kissing him, not the sly seducer, not the innocent victim, not the wry pal up for a convenient good time. This wasn’t the empty distance of disconnection that Ghost had given him before when he’d gone doll-still and creepy. It wasn’t the confident, knowing, arousing seduction of the kisses that had preceded Ghost’s fugue that last time, either.

This was new and uncertain and heavy. It reminded Duncan somehow of climbing down the outside of the parking garage, the terror of looking at a long drop and a messy landing if he couldn’t figure out what he was doing.

It was the waiting, maybe, that made it so overwhelming. He’d been waiting for this all along, wanting this all along. He’d tried not to think about it, but it’d been there, and now that Ghost was here and it was happening, he felt strung tight as a rubber band, on the verge of snapping, because this tiny, tentative, closemouthed kiss, was a cup of cool water after a day in a desert, enough to tempt, but not nearly enough to sate.

Rough Trade Graphic 2 (1)

About Sidney Bell:

Sidney Bell lives in Colorado with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. More realistic grown-ups eventually convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, though, which is how we ended up here. When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.


Connect with Sidney:

Giveaway: Win 1 of 5 Paperback of HARD LINE and LOOSE CANNON (Woodbury Boys series) by Sidney Bell! (North American addresses only)


Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct link:



[I received a digital arc for an honest review]

Rough Trade by Sidney Bell is the third book in The Woodbury Boys series. I did not read the first two books in the series, while I was in no way confused about the characters or the happenings in the book at any time, I do think I lacked the caring for the main character and side characters that would have made me enjoy this book way more.

This book was a hard one to read. Our leading male, Ghost, was sexual abused as a child and it has completely turned him into the emotionally stunted, distrusting person he is today. He chooses the life of a prostitute because he can control who has sex with him and is able to go completely numb and shut out the unwanted touching. In the beginning of the book Ghost finds himself on the run from a Russian crime syndicate and a dirty cop. Beaten down and without the only evidence he had to take the dirty cop down he finds himself dependent on a man name Duncan Rook.

Duncan Rook is on medical leave and when his ex partner asks him to help out Ghost he agrees and even when things go bad he keeps his word. Rook believes in the truth, justice and not killing unarmed men. He finds himself falling for Ghost but doesn’t want to be with a shell of a man, and he can’t trust Ghost who does nothing but lie and manipulate.

It took me a while  to care about Ghost, he was hard to like at first. As Duncan broke down his defenses and you saw his vulnerability, I couldn’t stop myself from rooting for him. The gentle way Duncan handled Ghost was heartbreaking and moving. I also enjoyed the banter back and forth between straight forward gruff Duncan and crazy Ghost.

Overall, Rough Trade was an emotional and crazy ride of a young man trying to get out of his circumstances. Learning to accept there’s no normal in life and to just aim for happy and that the things worth having are never ever easy.

“He shouldn’t have felt this overwhelmed by Rook’s size or strength . But he couldn’t help the shiver that struck him at the difference between them. Rook wasn’t a man you beat; he was a man you withstood, assuming you survived.”


 “I don’t sacrifice the living, even for the dead. And especially not you, Ghost.”



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