Sometimes to find love, you must first learn forgiveness.
A dozen years, 2,000 miles, and a law degree after high school, Rafi Steiner continues to harbor resentment toward Isaac Jones, his childhood bully turned NBA star. When Isaac appears at Rafi's favorite restaurant acting like a long-lost friend, Rafi bluntly dismisses him.
But Isaac is tenacious and he has his heart set on the grown-up version of the boy he always wanted and never forgot. The way Isaac sees it, he and Rafi are perfect for each other, if only he could sink the most important shot of his life: his one shot at forgiveness.
©2013 Cardeno C. (P)2016 Cardeno C.
I'm an unabashed fiction fan: mostly M/M, Romance, Erotica, Suspense, Thrillers, Action, NA/YA genres.
Let me start by getting some fangirling out of the way...Robert M. Clark's narration for this is a SLAM DUNK! He brought Rafi and Isaac to life. I was absolutely impressed and can only say the narration was so good for this short story that as soon as it ended I immediately started it over and listened again.
What I love most about this sweet short (now my 7th time re-reading) is how I find something new to appreciate about it every time I read, or now listen to, it.
I love how Rafi is snarky, sarcastic and absolutely not interested in anything Isaac Jones has to say at first. I melt every time with how fully committed and absolutely determined Isaac is to win over the one man he's always wanted.
"I've wanted you since the first moment I realized what it meant to want," he said, reminding me that he'd been harboring feelings for much longer than the couple of weeks since we'd reconnected, or even the six months since he's decided he wanted to pursue me. "I do know you, Rafi. I watched you grow up. I know who you are inside. And you know me too."
This sweet enemies-to-lovers is funny, smolderingly sexy, sweet, and fluffy!
This is a yummy nugget of a story about love and forgiveness.
What would you do if the boy that bullied you when you were in school turns up twelve years later and wants to date you. Except now he's turned into a sexy hunk of an NBA player and his behaviour is 180 degrees from what it had been. Would you listen to his plea? Would you succumb when his touch makes you burn?
That's the dilemma Rafi has to face in this short story. Like Rafi I was curious as to why Isaac was back in his life, following him around and turning up at his home especially since Rafi remembered him so negatively. I like that Isaac proved himself to have changed and explained his past behaviour reasonably. And of course knowing that he was willing to make sacrifices to have Rafi won me over in the end.
All in all, this is a lovely steamy M/M quickie. The audio narration is done well and brought the story alive. Happy to recommend to fans of #mmromance
A Shot at Forgiveness is one of those stories where I'm not quite sure how to rate it after reading. It is a pretty quick read, and would fall under the enemies-to-lovers category, though I don't know that Isaac would see it that way (he'd probably think it's a second chance story...although, well...no).
What this story does have in spades is sarcastic humor, plus one bound and determined NBA star-at least he is now that he's going after what-or who-he wants. And while the way the story is written might have you wondering just how stalker-like Isaac would need to be for Rafi to run screaming in the other direction, Isaac's demeanor-especially as interpreted through the audiobook narration-and sweet attitude actually balanced things out for me. But I still didn't quite feel a connection between the two characters, which made the story 3 stars for me.
As for the audiobook narration, I really liked Robert C. Clark's interpretation, it actually made Isaac's pursuit of Rafi more palatable than reading it in the e-book. The sarcasm and Rafi's frustration are quite clear in the audio, and the character voices are well done and consistent, making the narration 4 stars for me.
This is a super short story in which two child-hood “enemies” are reunited. Rafi was the bullied nerd and Isaac was the bullying jock. Rafi is now a lawyer and Isaac is an NBA star.
12 years after high school, they’ve never formally met since, Isaac begins to “stalk” Rafi and then they begin a relationship, despite Isaac’s career.
Wow. I am so on the fence for this.
When I originally read this story -over two years ago- I gave it 4 stars. It’s meant to be a cute, sexy short story – certainly not an exposition on racism or bullying or professional athletes coming out or anything political. So, if I accept that as truth, then I can just enjoy the fantasy that gets played out here – it’s pretty hot. Isaac is the stereotypically well-hung 6’7” basketball player and Rafi is a petite twink type who really enjoys getting pounded. So the smexy times were pretty hot.
But… it wasn’t until I listened to this – which made me pay way more attention than when I read it – that I realized how “unhealthy” this read. The narrator, whether on purpose or not, helped to put me in the scene. He made Rafi’s voice almost lispy and nerd like and Isaac sounded the part. The imagery I was left with: a skinny young thing being tormented by the big guy on campus and feeling so horrible he had to face therapists for years – his own words. So when Isaac shows up, I was psyched , because there’s nothing like making a big guy grovel – but… the grovelling never came. In fact, Rafi was meant to look at his high school experiences and see a troubled basketball player, not a bully. Hmmm. That didn’t set well with me.
Then there was the fact that Rafi takes a shower after having evicted Isaac and when he gets out of the shower Isaac has “just used his code” to get in. That felt really unsafe and stalkery and not at all sexy. Sure, he was cute and bought Rafi dinner, but … yeah. I didn’t like it much.
So… that was both very dissatisfying and troubling as far as my ability to relate to this story. I know it’s a short story, and I LOVE Cardeno C’s work, but I never felt that connection to Rafi or Isaac that I wanted to. Instead I was a bit angry at Isaac (and then Rafi by connection) for not properly apologizing, for being a LOT creepy and stalkery, and for Rafi for having no back bone. To me Rafi felt bull dozed into this relationship and it didn’t set well with me upon listening.
As for the audio – the narrator did a terrific job becoming the characters. He was really funny – Rafi’s internal dialog is hysterical and Robert has impeccable timing. I really enjoyed his narration, and like I said, it really brought to light things I hadn’t thought about before, possibly due to his excellent narration.
(A final nit pick – I liked the original cover better – the two guys look sweet, like they’re almost embracing, while this new cover looks like the guy just has an extra arm! And I didn’t figure out the towel thing til I really looked closely at the picture. )
So… to rate this:
Story 3 of 5 stars
Audio 5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
Yes I absolutely love this author and her way of story telling has kept me interested from the first book.
That Isaac wouldn't give up on trying to convince Rafi that they're meant to be together even though Rafi doesn't want anything to do with his childhood bully at first.
The way he made both men come to life and I could hear the emotions in his voice.
Isaac because I love someone who sees what he wants and goes for it no matter what gets in the way, Isaac just bull does over every obstacle.
This author writes woth such emotion and the storyline flows effortlessly
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