Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reign and "alternative lifestyles" are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he's still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn't know how, until he meets Oliver Buckley.
Oli is everything Caleb isn't - risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year's Eve, Caleb is smitten.
As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.
©2016 Santino Hassell (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press
I'm an unabashed fiction fan: mostly M/M, Romance, Erotica, Suspense, Thrillers, Action, NA/YA genres.
I absolutely LOVED the narration by Michael Ferraiuolo! Let me tell you folks, this kind of narration is why narrators end up with groupies.
Perfectly narrated, the character voices match the personalities, the tone and pacing is excellent, and the overall quality was superb.
The story itself is super sexy with relatable, realistic characters and a great flow which makes the whole thing totally worth listening to or reading.
I had read the book & loved it, even after reading the audio still had me sucked in. For me Santino Hassell's books are in a league of their own. He just captures people in the truest ways, how he unwinds them is so unique. I loved every minute just as I did the read.
Knowing Caleb's backstory with David is key to this book. David and Caleb were involved, but David wasn't satisfied with Caleb, so he sought out other guys and excitement...that's how he ended up doing a threesome and ultimately got involved with Raymond. That left Caleb on the outs, with huge doubts about his sexual prowess.
Enter Oli. Oli is everything that Caleb isn't. He loves to experiment and have fun in bed. The first night they get together, Caleb is so drunk that he embraces that and their night is seriously hot and heavy. Oli is hooked. He knows that wildcat lives inside Caleb and he makes it his mission to pull that experimental side to Caleb out as often as possible.
But Caleb has grown up very repressed...and not just sexually. He's always had to act a certain way, look a certain way, present himself in a certain way to fit in with his family. He's bowed to those edicts. Even his homosexuality comes with restrictions. He can't act gay. But as he's around Oli more and more, he pulls at those binds that have held him controlled for so long. He wants more. He doesn't want to be alone any longer. He doesn't want to be the guy left behind because he's not enough.
I also liked how the relationship developed between Caleb and his brother, Adrian, in this book. Regardless of anything else, that shows just what a good guy he is. He starts this new company mainly to help his half-brother to get out from under his father's thumb. Gah, I loved that about Caleb.
I also really liked Adrian and Jace. They brought some unusual humor to the story. Jace propositioning Caleb was killing me. So much fun, especially since Caleb has such a horrible self-image. I loved that there were several men throughout the story who were into him, showing him that Oli was not a rarity...that he did have something to offer someone else, regardless of what David told him.
Overall, this has been my favorite book in the series so far. It didn't have the gritty feel that the other two books did, but I still loved it. I can't wait to read more. Book #4 is out...now the debate...do I read it or wait a few months for the audio? I do really like listening to these on audio.
By now, if you’ve been following along in the series, which is definitely not required but is always recommended, you’ll know that Caleb was David’s ex and he was kinda douchey in book two. He’s a bit tightly wound and has a bit of a self-esteem problem, some of which David contributed to.
This is his story and Santino manages to not only help us to understand why he acts the way he does, but for us to really feel for him and (at least for me) to see David in a dramatically different light. (I kinda didn’t like him in this story * gasp!)
Oli is probably the exact opposite of Caleb and a bit of a dick, too. He doesn’t believe in monogamy and fights his feelings for Caleb til literally the 92% point of the story. So be prepared for that.
This is a long-ish book and while I thought it was really good, the last third sort of dragged for me (relationship wise). I was psyched to see Caleb standing up for himself and finding his rightful place with his family and becoming the man he wanted to be (or at least admitting the man he was was pretty alright!), but, I was OVER Oli being so standoffish about things and wanted them to just cut to the chase.
I think, had I been reading this, I’d have skimmed a bit here and there in the places things seemed to drag, but listening it was harder to do that. (The narration is stellar so it wasn’t a hardship or anything, merely noteworthy.)
There is a lot of dirty talk, ménage situations, Oli has sex with other people even after they’ve hooked up, so if those are triggers for you – be aware. In the end, they end up HEA and I don’t think it’s giving away too much to say it’s not a ménage or even an open relationship – so for romantics like me – I was very satisfied.
I think the thing that would have made this a 5 star book for me, would have been to see more into Oli’s brain. It’s told from Caleb’s POV and he is pretty depressing in the beginning, but does a lot of growing in the story. I wanted to know more about Oli’s feelings, because, honestly, he has to do some pretty significant growing too, and I wasn’t always sure how far along he came. Since the couple is only admitting to being a couple in the last few pages, we don’t have time to see how he manages to actually be in a relationship with only one person, after professing that it’s not his thing for the entire rest of the book.
We get to see a little of the other couples, but not much, and – like I said earlier – they aren’t painted in a rosy light – which I appreciated. Caleb had his reasons as did David for what they did and it was good to see the other side of the coin.
In the end I thought this was a great addition to the series and much better than I had thought it was going to be. Caleb is an interesting character and it was great watching him unfurl.
4 of 5 stars
I love Michael Ferraiuolo’s take on the various “accents”. He doesn’t go over the top, but does add some subtle changes here and there. He does a nice Raymond and I loved Aiden as well. Caleb’s voice fit him as did Oli’s. He is great with pacing and emotions and was easy to listen to and absolutely added to my overall enjoyment.
5 of 5 stars
Overall 4.5 of 5 stars
Oh ho! Remember Caleb from Sunset Park? Remember how he got dumped for essentially being frigid and disinterested in sex with David? Well then... You are in for a treat!
Thank you Santino Hassell for giving us Caleb and Oli’s story. I absolutely loved Caleb’s transformation. Sometimes people are just waiting to be inspired and then they come out of their shell and the world is blinded by them. This is Caleb. He is not a young thing but he deserved to find this and Oli was the perfect partner to bring it out in him. The sex scenes are some of the hottest Santino has written but there was nothing gratuitous about them. I love that Caleb’s sexual awakening came in this form –not about him discovering his sexual orientation or being a virgin, but embracing his kink through an emotional connection and accepting that he could and should expect this for himself.
Fantastic writing throughout, amazing character development, and of course the narration. Michael Ferraiuolo has mastered bringing these characters to life. His voices –because he has a tremendous talent at making each character different – were spot on in all aspects –the sex voices, the angry voices, the emotional, whisper-thin voice of heart-break.
This book felt like it had been written by an adult and that felt good. You can get the gist from other reviews, just know this is worth the read.
A voracious reader since I was a child, I am now enjoying novels and novellas on Audible.
I liked the first in this series a lot. Now we have development of other characters in this drama. I don't think I identify with the wealth and fast pace as much, but the story continues to pull me in.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.