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Publisher's Summary

A quiet coffee shop gives two men who have lost too much a chance at love.

Joe Calloway has been on the run since he was 16, homeless and alone. He never lets anyone close. Between his traumatic past and his autism, he isn’t used to people taking the time to understand him.

Even so, when a stranger offers him a way to build a better life for himself, Joe finds the strength to go for it.

Madden Fields is fully devoted to his older sister, her autistic son, and his job as a nurse, but when he meets Joe, his carefully ordered life begins to pick up speed.

As their connection deepens, Madden realizes he’s going to have to hold on tight if he wants to be an anchor strong enough for Joe to stay.

Stay is a 88,000-word gay hurt/comfort romance novel.

©2020 Ash Knight (P)2021 Ash Knight
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance

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What listeners say about Stay

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A sweet hurt / comfort romance

I liked this adorably hurt / comfort romance.

The characters were likeable, simple and relatable.

The tone of the story was youthful and refreshing which appealed to me.

The storyline was interesting and the narration was apt.

2 people found this helpful

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A rainbow at the end of violent storm

It’s always difficult to read characters with disabilities but I’m glad that I picked up this book because this gave me so much feels. Sometimes we have to go through hardships and heartaches to taste and sweet love and happiness they all deserve so much.

Madden has a great life, a great job as an ER nurse, a loving sister that he loves and her autistic son, his nephew, that he absolutely adore. Meanwhile, Joe’s had a hard life. He might be young but he’s been through a lot. After he escape from his very abusive home, he has been living on the streets for so long. His life is all about surving and living just for each day. And to make his life even harder, he’s on the spectrum and it brings a lot of issues to his everyday lives. However when a kindhearted coffee shop owner finally decided to give him a chance and offered him a job and a chance at normal life, he also met Madden, a man who truly understands what he’s going through and is willing to wait for him to accept for all he is.

This is really a good hurt/comfort read with lots of angst and at the same time a lot of heartwarming moments. I’m glad I picked up this book because this made me realize how we don’t value enough of what we have every day. This is different but I enjoyed it a lot.

4 a rainbow at the end of the violent storm stars
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Audio rating

Story - 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Narration - 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Performance - 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Overall - 4 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Lovely story

Gentle narration brought this story to life. Beautiful characters slowly came together to truly touch my heart. Madden wraps Joe in gentle acceptance allowing him to feel true love for the first time. Highly recommended.

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A Heart-Healing Hurt/Comfort Love Story

"Stay" is a deeper level of hurt/comfort than I've read in a long while - I lost count of the times my heart hurt for Joe - and it's also one of the more hopeful and heartwarming.

The kind and gentle young man has been through so much pain and trauma, and is still fighting for his survival let alone some understanding. That Madden not only sees Joe - really sees him - but is also so kind, caring, protective, and feels deeply for the man he befriends day after day in the coffee shop is so heartening, and their slow-build, full-circle HEA journey is as tender and thoughtful as it is romantic and loving.

Isaac Grisham is a new-to-me narrator, and with a youthful voice delivers an engaging performance here. I rode an emotional hurt/comfort rollercoaster with this story, and I credit that equally to the writing and the delivery. I'm also so impressed that this book is the author's debut novel, and I look forward to more to come. I received this free review copy audio book by request and have left this honest review voluntarily.

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Finding the one

I’m always game to try a new author, and I’m glad I picked up this book. This story spoke to me. Made me smile – both with gladness and with sadness. This wasn’t an easy read, but then I’m always up for what they call hurt/comfort books. As long as they have a happy ending.

Madden has it all. A great job as an ER nurse, a sister he adores, and an autistic nephew he dotes on. He has everything he could want – except someone to share that life with. He’s okay with that, though, until he crosses paths with a young man who is going to change everything.

Joe’s had a rough life. From a horrifically abusive home to living on the streets, he’s scrambled to survive. He’s young, but he’s got a lot of mileage. His life is about surviving. One day he enters a coffee shop, desperate, and the owner sees something in him. She offers him a job, and then makes a monumental effort to get the young man on his feet. Joe is on the spectrum and that only complicates his life. Then he meets Madden and something wonderful happens.

It’s not all roses and sunshine, though. Joe has some ingrained protective habits, including throwing up walls. Madden’s patience isn’t infinite, although pretty darn close. As they navigate the treacherous waters of a physical and emotional relationship, Joe’s past rears its ugly head and they might lose everything.

I really enjoyed the book. It spoke to me, and I love neurodivergent characters who are underrepresented. This book had touchstones that worked for me. I have to say that Isaac Grisham is a new narrator to me and I won’t hesitate to get another book narrated by him. He did a great job. Anyway, I’ll be keeping my eye on Ash Knight.

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Joe & Madden

Joe is a homeless man on the autism spectrum, running from a horrific childhood. Madden is a compassionate nurse who is immediately drawn to Joe. I like the instant connection that they had. Madden's patience and understanding were sweet. The struggle of being afraid to let anyone in because that has brought you nothing but pain was believable. I enjoyed the slow and careful development of their relationship. Isaac did a good job narrating. I received an ARC of this audio for my honest review.

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Lovely

Joe and Madden are wonderful characters and their story is just lovely. The way Madden uses uses what he knows as a nurse and from his nephew to make Joe feel comfortable but then throws away the generic knowledge and follows Joe's lead to give him exactly what he needs is so well written. It's also true that Madden gets just as much from Joe. Theirs is an equal, loving relationship. Isaac Grisham gives a superb performance that is true to both characters and beautifully subtle.

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3.5 stars for both the story and the narration

I was given a free audio copy from the author and the GRR arc team for review

Warning: depiction of past child sexual abuse. Though it does cut off before it gets too graphic. Also adult attempted rape, physical assault and attempted murder. All of which there is no warning about on the Audible book description.

There are some minor inconsistencies missed in editing that I noticed. I really could have done without the creepy flashback scene from Joes childhood involving his dads friend Devon. I think Joe just explaining that his reactions are from trauma from past child sexual abuse would have been sufficient. I don't really have any triggers but I don't know why anyone would want to read some predatory scene involving a child. Also, there are some things mentioned in renfrence to Joes Autism that didn't ring true for me and some comments made that came across as odd and untrue. Also, the scene with the sister is just mind boggling and very insulting.

With all that aside I thought this was a very sweet hurt/comfort read that had the potential to be a 5 star read. Both characters were loveable and complimented each other well. The general plot was interesting. It was fairly low angst IMO given the subject matter. There is some drama that is brief. This was low heat which I think suited the plot. There was more for us on building trust and intimacy. I enjoyed the gradual character and relationship development. It kept my interest from start to finish but I do think that there were some parts that felt slightly draggy and repetitive and it could have been shortened some.

The narrator did a decent job. Their voice was pleasant. I did have to speed it up quite a bit though. He expressed the emotions well. Unfortunately he didn't use different voices for the characters.

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Joe and Madden's Love Story

It seems this is author Ash Knight and narrator Isaac Grisham’s first audiobook (at least as far as I can tell). I love trying out new (and new-to-me) writers and audio performers. After reading the summary and listening to the audio sample, ‘Stay’ seemed like the sort of book I might enjoy, so I requested a free audio review copy of it. It is my pleasure to submit an honest and voluntary opinion for it.

Joe is 22 years old, on the Autism spectrum, homeless and has never known a life without abuse and trauma. After serendipitously landing a job in a cafe, he meets Madden, a nurse working at the nearby hospital. Their connection is instant. Will Madden be the person to pull Joe from his solitary existence and show him what true love means?

Knight has created two truly special characters in Joe and Madden. Joe, with a child-like wonder, needs Madden to break through the walls of self-preservation he’s erected and show him that the world is a place full of friends, family, trust and love. Madden, with his patient manner and caring spirit, gives Joe the love he needs and deserves.

The story is super sweet. What angst exists is kept low. I would call it insta-love, but they don’t jump into sexy times right away. Madden lets Joe dictate the pace to their eventual lovemaking. I love the dual POVs. Knight landles this tale with a deft hand, and it made me all swoony inside.

I really hope Isaac Grisham continues to narrate audiobooks. His performance in this book is exemplary. His differentiation in how he voiced Joe and Madden made Knight’s story come alive. I want to hear more!

Highly recommended.

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WOW!

This is a new author and new narrator to me, and to say I’ve been missing out from both is an understatement.

The performance itself was spectacular.. the narration of a person on the spectrum can’t be easy, but it was spot on.

Joe and Madden are truly each other’s person, and their characters are extremely well written and loving.

And the surprise at the end... OMG!

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  • Gwen
  • 06-10-21

Adorable Joe!

Joe grab my heart from the first chapter. I wanted to hug and protect him so much. Madden is an angel sent to be in Joe’s life. Being a nurse, he already was a caretaker and Joe found his one. I loved the relationship Madden had with his best friend, sister and nephew but specially with Joe. It’s a lovely story of hurt, terrible pasts and bright loving futures if he stays... 💙💚 I had already read the book but listening to it brought it to another level.

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  • Pixiebell
  • 06-10-21

Emotional Story

Ash Knight is a brilliant storyteller and both Joe and Madden such wonderful characters, I found myself listening to Stay in one sitting.
Joe is on the spectrum and has had a harrowing life before he meets Madden, a nurse who finds himself drawn to Joe, and who wants to care and protect him.
This is a beautiful uplifting story, well written and researched by the author.
I wasn’t too keen on the choice of narrator, his voice was almost childlike.

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  • Belinda Zamora
  • 06-10-21

Sweet, tender slow burn

A beautiful depiction of love.
Joe is terrified of intimacy because his only experience with it has had devastating lifelong effects.
Madden meets him and is immediately intrigued.
Loving Joe is not easy because of his self esteem issues but Madden fights for his love and Joe slowly comes to realize his self worth.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • L.D.
  • 06-06-21

A Chance for Love

STAY, a standalone contemporary romance, was more than I expected. It was more than just a meet-cute with strong hurt/comfort elements. STAY is about two men who have to not only learn and understand each other, but also fight to battle the demons from the past. Joe is a neurodivergent character who is on the autism spectrum who has had to learn to fend for himself after escaping an abusive father. When he meets Madden, the local nurse who visits the coffee shop Joe works at, Joe’s life completely changes—and so does Madden’s. I really loved the sweetness of Joe and Madden’s relationship. They both cared and loved each other deeply, and did this through respecting and learning to understand each other. I really liked that Ash Knight took the time to make the characters complex and dynamic. I truly loved both Joe and Madden and found their love story so touching and wonderful. The plot also had elements of suspense and action (which some readers may find triggering, so please read the warnings), but overall, the romance between the two men was the main focus of this story, and I loved it.

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  • sarah mitcham
  • 06-04-21

Finally Found A Home.

MM hurt/comfort romance, Joe has been on his own and homeless since he was sixteen running to escape a horrific home life. But when he meets nurse Madden he finally starts to feel safe and loved. Great story with lots of emotional moments. Narrated with feeling by Issac Grisham.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • zoe pappa
  • 06-04-21

Amazing!!!

I know I'm going to love a book when the first chapter makes me care so much for a character that I start crying. My heart ached for Joe. His story was absolutely heartbreaking. I was crushed. I was so happy when he found sweet, caring and wonderful Madden. They were beautiful together and I just loved their story. Amazing book, I really liked it. And the unexpected revelations at the end warmed my aching heart. The narrator did a fantastic job bringing this great story to life.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • 06-01-21

Heartbreaking yet hopeful

wow what a story! I feel like I've been put through the emotional ringer but I'm all the better for it, Joe and Madden are something very special! I loved Joe and Madden and truly loved the clever (& cheeky) bit of perfect kismet at the end. Joe had a harsh and unfair life and I felt for him so much, I felt so invested in his story and that he deserves so much more and Madden oh my! what an absolute sweet heart! These two were meant to find each other and help each other grow and heal. I loved the autistic rep, coupled with Joe's trauma, I felt was handle well and with respect and care. His trauma healed and he got more confident but his autism was a part of him and I thank the author for not in anyway trying to "fix" this.
amazing performance by Isaac. Wonderfully crafted nuisances, very easy listening and he sounded exactly how I thought Joe would.
Joe and Madden are something special 💕

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Bette
  • 05-30-21

A Beautifully Heartfelt Story! Great Narration🎧

Ash Knight wowed me completely with her book, it drew me in right from the start, grabbed my heart and my attention captivating both for the entire book. She is a gifted author with a wonderful writing style, the characters and storylines she created are realistic, easy to relate to and connect with. The story flows naturally and is beautifully written. Joe Calloway has not had the easiest of lives, it was heartbreaking to learn what type of childhood he had and what he had to endure. He ran away from home when he was 16, always fending for himself, never staying in one place too long because he is afraid his past will catch up with him and take him back home. He never allow anyone to get too close to him, being on the spectrum people usually do not take the time to get to really know him, so he just keeps his distance. His life takes a turn when a caring cafe owner shows him some kindness. Madden Fields, a nurse, felt an instant connection with the new guy at the cafe he gets his coffee from. He had to go back there and learn more about him. The two become friends and Madden takes him under his wing. Madden was great with Joe, patient, caring and respectful of his boundaries. I loved how everything played out in this book, the story is beautifully plotted with plenty of drama, angst, heartfelt and emotional moments and a wonderful slow burn romance. I loved how much Joe grew as a person, also loved the twist in the end. Ash Knight, thank you for this awesome story and emotional rollercoaster ride.

🎧📚🎧 And for the fabulous narration, Isaac Grisham was great at bringing the characters and their story to life. He set the perfect tone for the story, captured all the character’s emotions and projected them into his performance. He is an entertaining storyteller and a pleasure to listen to. Thank you for the great listen🎧

Thank you GRR