Two men with a shared history and a mutual attraction must be honest with themselves and each other so both their dreams come true.
Quiet, unassuming Tanner Sellers spends his time running a diner in Hope, Arizona. Not particularly social, 22-year-old Tanner keeps to himself and enjoys his simple life, but he longs for someone to call his own. In his most secret fantasy, that someone is sexy Steve Faus. But Steve is his friend's father and mentor's widower and therefore off-limits.
Despite some challenges, 39-year-old Steve Faus has had a good life. He's extremely successful at work, has a great relationship with his college-age son, and lives in a wonderful town. Eighteen months after losing his partner, the one thing Steve lacks is someone to share his life with. If Steve is honest with himself, that someone is the young man he has known and cared about for years. Steve and Tanner want one another; all they need is a little push in the right direction to make both their dreams come true.
©2015 Cardeno C. (P)2015 Cardeno C.
Tanner is 22 years old, he inherited the diner he owns from Jesse. Jesse is the father of Tanner’s friend from high school, Mike and was the partner of Steve, Mike’s other dad. Jesse died 18 months ago, leaving Tanner the diner because Tanner had been working there since moving to Hope 6 years ago.
Tanner has had a crush on Steve since they met, but thought it was hopeless. Steve was in a relationship, too old for Tanner, and out of his league. Now that Steve is alone, not much has changed, except that Mike has asked Tanner to “check-up” on Steve to make sure he’s doing okay on his own.
Steve was a workaholic sales rep who has changed his life after the death of Jesse. He’s a commitment type of guy and since his loss, he hasn’t met anyone worthy of a relationship. Tanner was always under his radar and now that he’s been hanging around so much all of the sudden, Steve is giving him the attention he deserves.
Though this isn’t a short story, it reads like one, so I want to be careful not to give away too many secrets, because there are a few surprises in this.
At first it seems like a simple story of May/December love, or about finding love after losing a partner, or jock meets nerd (Steve was a football player and Tanner is very reserved and slight physically). But… it’s not. There’s another, deeper layer to this story. There are things in Steve’s past that have shaped who he is and his relationship with Jesse is more complex than you’d guess.
Though Tanner is young, he’s a very mature 22, since he’s been raising himself for years.
Cardeno always does a great job of writing these “clueless” guys and then showing them the light. Tanner reminds me a bit of Samuel from In Your Eyes. The story is told from his perspective and in the first person and Tanner spends a lot of time in his own head and has a hard time voicing his emotions.
I didn’t get as good a read on Steve, but he’s definitely the more social and outgoing of the pair. I liked watching him “show” Tanner about love and relationships, he was sweet, sexy and funny, too.
However, there were parts of this story that didn’t work for me as well. I wanted more about Steve’s past and his relationship with Jesse. It felt incomplete somehow. I feel like I missed some of his evolution and though I understand a bit of how he and Jesse worked as a couple I didn’t quite have a handle on it and so it kind of blocked my way to giving him up to Tanner freely. I get that they had a totally different type of relationship, but somehow I wanted more closure there.
I also think that the “heavy” issue needed a bit more discussion. I think it’s a pretty big deal and it felt a little too casual for me in this instance.
I really wanted the “reveal” about Steve asking Tanner out on an official date to be more of an “a-ha!” moment. It lacked that POW! - where Tanner realizes he’s going to FINALLY get his dream man. The same goes for their first time being together. Tanner was new to this, so I was expecting it to be more of a “thing”. Seeing how excited Tanner would get just imagining Steve naked, I was expecting a really powerful first time and it sort of fizzled rather than exploded.
That being said, it’s still a Cardeno C book, so it was still wonderful. I loved the premise and the characters and felt happy at the end for both of them, but I just wanted a little bit… more, I guess.
I think fans of the author and the series will love it and it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.
4 of 5 stars
Paul Morey is one of my favorite narrators. He gives Steve this lovely Southern accent and Tanner a nicely “clueless” tonality that really works for this story.
Mike is given this dumb-guy voice and he made me giggle. I think that listening to this was a wonderful way to experience this story and it added to my enjoyment immensely.
Audio 5 of 5 stars
Overall 4.5 of 5 stars
Avid reader, reviewer, blogger and budding author.
Right at the top!
Steve. I really liked that he knew exactly what he wanted and patiently took it.
Just about everything he has done, I buy books simply because he narrates them, he is amazing.
Tanner, of course!
What would you do if you knew your time here was about to expire? Jessie knows he won't beat the cancer, so with his son Mike's help, he sets out to make sure the things he cares about most will be taken care of once he's gone. He wants to make sure the diner is taken care of so he leaves it to Tanner, Mike's best friend, and somewhat of an adopted son to Jessie. Making sure that his husband Steve doesn't fade away to depression once he's gone, well Tanner is key to that as well.
This is a super short story so the review will be as well. Let me just say if the fact that Cardeno C penned the story isn't enough to make this one an auto buy, then the fact that Paul Morey narrates should make it a no brainer. Need more convincing? Okay then. The story almost seems like insta-love in the beginning, but as the story unfolds you learn it is anything but. The feelings are mutual and a long time coming. Morey really translates each character from paper to audio well, I especially like the way he totally emerses himself into not just conveying the characters, but conveying the emotions.
Definitely a must listen, as I said it's super short, super sexy and well worth the couple hours to give it a listen.
Is it wrong of me to hope that the reason why Mike is such a ladies man, blowing through girls as fast as he does laundry, is because he hasn't met the right MAN yet????
Jaime From Alpha Book Club
I really enjoyed Jesse's Diner by Cardeno C. Paul Morey does a great job in the narration and his ability to make each character come alive! Loved it!!
I'm an unabashed fiction fan: mostly M/M, Romance, Erotica, Suspense, Thrillers, Action, NA/YA genres.
Jesse's Diner is a comfort read, perfectly suited to kicking back in front of a roaring fire, or in my case, kicking back on a lounge chair at the pool, and just enjoying a sweet, yet hot, tale of new beginnings and hope for new love.
Paul Morey is a comfort narrator for me. I know what I'm going to get with his performances, and I am never disappointed. For Jesse's Diner I thought he perfectly captured the almost innocence of Tanner, as well as Steve's more protective maturity. I loved his portrayal of Mike - played perfectly without being over the top.
All in all it was a great narration for a wonderful story!
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Jesse's Diner doesn't disappoint! It perfectly embodies the collection's name by being about the hope between two men who aren't perfect, but are perfect for one another.
Tanner is sweet, unassuming, and has had the BIGGEST crush on Steve for years. It turns out that his crush isn't as one sided as he thought. What follows is a sweet courtship and romance that just melted me. I absolutely loved the elements in this, and several of the topics are hugely relevant and, I thought, handled beautifully.
I'll admit my biggest complaint is that I wanted more time with the guys.
I loved it and can very easily HIGHLY RECOMMEND it!
I've listened to this book at least half a dozen times. Paul Morey is one of my favorite narrators and once again he didn't disappoint. The story was great. This was the first book I listened/read addressing HIV. It's not a romantic topic but it's necessary in this day. I like how Tanner's love for Steve didn't change. I just really enjoy this book and can't wait to listen to the first book in this series.
I loved the book. The audible version was a waste. Never played past the 1st chapter. 2nd audible book this has happened too,
I love Cardeno C and had read the hope series before I found it on Audible. For me, the Audble version made it even better. I love the characters and the narrator is perfect for this series. It's one I've listened many times when I want a sweet, low angst story.
What a wonderful quick read. I got such a good feeling from listening to the book. The narration was on point and help enhanced the story. I love all the characters and how the story played out! Well done.
*** Audiobook provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***
I really enjoyed this audiobook. Paul Morey has a pleasant tone and he did a wonderful job with the different voices. The only complaint I have is that sometimes the tone would be too even, and it would turn a bit monotonous, but other than that, this was a very enjoyable audiobook of a story I already loved and that I will more than likely listen to again. Very recommendable!
Rating: 4.5 Stars!!!
"Wonderful narration of a sweet novella"
Paul Morey nails the characters - Tanner comes across as unassuming whilst Steve as stronger yet full of care and compassion. Even though I had read the book, the narration added to my personal world-building rather than overtook it.
Rather than a moment, I loved the build up of the relationship from friendly dinners into something more.
The restaurant-painting one :)
You can really feel Tanner's internal dialogue being worked through, and Steve's encouragement in all aspects of their relationship.
Although it's a short story, it has the depth and character/relationship development of a much longer one. A lovely supplement to the written book.
"loved it reading, LOVED it in audio!"
Tanner fell for Mike's dad, 6 years ago and never stopped. Steve is mourning the loss of his partner, and Tanner's mentor, Jesse. Tanner never thought taking Steve dinner, cos Mike asked him to check up on him, would change his life.
There comes along, once in a while, a book that gives you the warm and fuzzy feeling that lasts for days. THIS is such a book.
Tanner noticed Steve right away, and kept his silence all this time, because Steve was in mourning. Steve also noticed Tanner, but not quite in the same way. That they did was picked up. A single phone call pushed them both over.
Its written entirely from Tanner's POV in the first person. Not my favourite, as you know. But here?? Don't care. Tanner is so deliciously young and naïve, so smitten with Steve, I don't care. Besides, Steve has a lot to say and he more than makes up for it.
Its only short, just under and hour and a half reading time for me, but it packs quite and warm and fuzzy punch. There is no drama, no break up/make up, no danger, no crime, none of that. What there, is a beautifully love story of two men falling in love. THATS IT!! BUT I mean this in a good way, a very good way.
It's not as explicit as some Cardeno C books, but again, a good thing. What is here, is beautifully written, deliciously told.
This is book two in the Hope series, you don't need to have read book one, Jared is mentioned, briefly, so we get none of Jared and Lucas. I do wonder if the sheriff is next, after his midnight phone call??
Thank you, for the warm and fuzzies.
I bought my ebook copy.
I was also given the opportunity to review this book in AUDIO.
Independent reviewer for Archaeolibrarian I Dig Good Books, I was gifted my audio copy.
Paul Morey narrates and he does a sterling job!!
When I'm READING a book, I much prefer to read books written in multi POV and in the third person. However, I've discovered, mainly with Cardeno C's help, that when LISTENING I much prefer single POV, in the first person. I loved this book when reading, and I loved it MORE when listening.
Morey's reading voice is clear and even, and I had no trouble with the sound or the reading. Morey's voice for Tanner was just as I imagined it, but for Steve, I found Morey's voice a much better fit that what I heard while reading. I do that, you know, hear voices when reading. I'm sure others do, but I do it more since using audio files. Morey's voice is PERFECT for Steve, and Mike too.
Morey narrates McFarland's Farm too, and I thought I had listening to it, but can't find the review if I did. I want to go back, and listen to it, just because :-)
2 hours and 49 minutes of warm and fuzzies all over again.
**same worded review will appear on Goodreads, Audible.co.uk, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk**
"Sweet fulfilled crush!"
Perfect hopeful love
There are some wonderful funny bits, like Steve is trying to get an embarrassing story out of Tanner. I sure hope they were true life events. I laughed out loud!
There is wonderful chemistry between these characters and Tanner believes a relationship with Steve to be unattainable. Steve is his best friend's father. His mentor's widower. Tanner is a sweet strong man, and Steve is the older, confident man he's been crushing on for over six years. There are many wonderful lines: My favourite is Steve frustrated that Tanner had non noticed he's been trying to woo him "My flirting has no game". Brilliant.
I loved them all. The thoughtful way Steve talked about his HIV status and what Tanner needed to know and understand before they embarked on a relationship was lovely. Tanner's sensible responses mature and honest.
Sometimes dreams come true.
This is a short and sweet novella. Highly recommended. Paul Morey's voice performance is solidly good and enjoyable. His Texas twang for Steve made my toes curl in a good way!
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