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Publisher's Summary

When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents' final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he's lured in by Lance - charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath - who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave. Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he's resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.

Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who's twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni's story.

"I'd spent years as a bird, caged with my wings clipped, tormented and beaten. I thought I'd escaped when I'd left my abuser, but in hindsight, I could see that I was still caged, this time by fear and self-doubt. Spencer and Andrew, and Andrew's parents, opened the door to the cage that confined me. But it was Peter who taught me how to fly."

Contains mature themes.

©2017 N. R. Walker (P)2018 Tantor

What members say

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

one of the best books I've read

Yanni is heartbreaking, painful, beautiful, frustrating, and triumphant. it's not for the faint of heart, but there's rarely been a more satisfying happy ever after. the strength of Yanni, George Jordan Tyler Skyler and Colin will inspire you to be grateful for what you have, and thankful for groups that save people like them. there but by the grace of God go I. And seeing Lance pay for his crimes is validation for those of us who never saw our abusers caught and punished. A five star book if I ever read one. A special thanks to Joel Leslie for a wonderful performance.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Spencer Cohen #4

It's rare that I would use "lovingly" to describe the narration of an audiobook, but I just kept thinking how much Joel Leslie's narration was so lovingly done. His care for the characters really came through the entire thing.

We first met Yanni in Spencer Cohen, Book Two. When Spencer and his boyfriend Andrew help Yanni it's a complete turnaround for him. Although there are references to the abuse Yanni suffered from his ex-boyfriend, and to a lesser degree his family, Yanni's Storyis ultimately one of what happens when all the stars align and everything finally begins to go right.

When Yanni first meets Peter neither is in a place to start a romantic relationship, but the sparks are obviously there, so they begin a friendship at first and evolve into their relationship later. It's organic, there's a ton of communication, and Peter is basically a saint (I hope that anyone who's ever been hurt finds their own Peter). 

Be advised though: the first 60% of the Yanni's Story is very slowly paced and at over 15 hours this is quite a long audiobook, particularly in M/M Romance, but I think it's totally worth the listen. The slower pace allows the reader/listener the chance to really get to know the characters, especially Yanni as he heals and begins to explore new opportunities. 

One of the things that Peter and Yanni explore is daddy kink. Personally, it made me uncomfortable, but that's totally a me thing. I have absolutely no judgement for anyone who likes or has a Daddy/son relationship, it's just not anything I'm interested in. So I skipped the sex scenes, but doing so absolutely did not affect my enjoyment of the story.

"I give him my absolute trust, and he gives me the world. I dunno, it's hard to explain. I feel so safe with him, like he'll protect me and make decisions that are only in my best interest because he wants me to be happy. But it's not restrictive; it's the opposite. It's a kind of freedom."
"Like a father." Patrice raised her eyebrows and smiled.
"Yes!" Then I made a face. "Just with certain benefits. And without the incest."

Yanni's Story is a slow burn, gentle, friends to lovers romance, with some daddy kink, and hurt/comfort that's wonderfully narrated by Joel Leslie and a must have to complete your Spencer Cohen audio collection*.

"What did I ever do to deserve you?"
I stared into his eyes. "You loved me in all the right ways."
"Correction. I love you in all the right ways. There is no past tense on that word. There will never be past tense on that word. Forever, Yanni."
"Forever, Peter."

*Yanni's Story absolutely works as a standalone.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Yanni's Story, Spencer Cohen Series #4

This book is Everything....
Finally we get Yanni's Story.. We met Yanni previously in Spencer Cohens books 1-3, Spencer (& Andrew) helped saved Yanni from an abusive ex. And at the same time introduced him to Peter. Peter and Yanni have a lot in common when it comes to things they like, theater, Silent movies, staying in and having quiet days at home. They both are recovering from previous relationships that went south, so they both decide that becoming "friends" is the best course of action moving forward. Yanni is dealing with a lot when it comes to his living arrangements and work and just life in general since he was hurt so badly in the past, but he starts really depending on Peter and their friendship and realizing that he does in fact want more, and he wants that more to be with Peter... This book is Everything... Its on the longer side compared to all of Spencer & Andrew's books but this one is Seriously Written so flawlessly. And, then lets not forget the "daddy kink" and it is SO DAMN PERFECT... I Really cannot comprehend how well this Author thought out and describes the need Yanni and Peter have for each other being Daddy and Boy, and it IS A NEED they both have to have. Yanni yearns for someone to take care of him and love him, and Peter needs someone to take care of, and they fit each other in every aspect, you can just see how much they come to love each other with how this book plays out, and I so glad this was a longer drawn out romance with them "courting each other" and not just an instant love between them, we needed all the smaller details that were written into this book to make it the romance it was/is. I was so hopeful that Yanni would get his Happy Ending with the conclusion of this series and N.R. Walker did not disappoint us at all.
Audio - Well now.. Joel Leslie is just an all around fabulous Narrator... I Loved this narration for Yanni and Peter just as much as I loved listening to all three of Spencer and Andrews books. He did such an Amazing job with this whole series I am thrilled he was chosen to bring these guys to life in the Audiobooks. I loved everything about this narration to the point that even after listening to this book for 15+ hours I wanted to just re-listen to the entire book right after I was done. (even after reading this book twice as well) I know I will be coming back to re-listen to this one on more than one occasion. If I could give more than 5 stars for the book and more than 5 stars for this narration I totally would..

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Inspiring story of overcoming abuse and prejudice

Trying to decide how to describe this book, the most appropriate phrase that came to mind is “slow and steady wins the race.” I use that to describe the pacing of the book, and for the main character, Yanni’s, life. After coming out to his parents, Yanni found himself first homeless, and then in an abusive relationship. He had lost all self worth before Spencer found him due to some suspicious circumstances. (Yes, you should read the previous books in the series to see how this came about.) This book doesn’t have frenzied passionate moments, no big highs. Fortunately, the lowest points of Yanni’s life are in the rear view. So this is the story of Yanni taking back his life and pasting the broken pieces back together.

To be clear, slow and steady doesn’t mean boring or uneventful. Yanni’s story overlaps some of the Spencer Cohen books, and it is told all at once instead of being broken up into three books. So it is significantly longer than the previous books, individually. It’s an inspiring story with likable characters and I really enjoyed reading it.

Yanni starts this book being brought to Andrew’s (Spencer’s boyfriend) parents. It is kismet. Helen and Allan Landon are in the acting business, which Yanni was studying. He enjoys their impromptu readings and found he has a lot more in common with Helen than just the love of acting. The Landons even have a foundation that helps abused and homeless LGBT+ youth restart their lives with housing and scholarship programs. That is only the beginning for Yanni, but it is the step up he desperately needed. He went from living in fear on the streets to living a semi normal life. He found a new and loving family in Andrew’s family and Spencer. But still there was some fear, because of the lover in his past who destroyed his value and fear of not being able to overcome it and find real love.

It is slow and steady. It is friends to lovers. Meeting Peter was unconventional and unexpected. Peter is older and was just dumped by his younger lover. He is a great guy but neither he nor Yanni are ready for more. As much as Peter’s friendship and companionship means to Yanni’s recovery this is mainly Yanni’s story because it is on him to move past his old habits and worries and grasp at what might be something wonderful. I felt very drawn into Yanni’s transformation. He not only tackles his demons but helps others at the group home he lives in. He helps a stranger who went through the very same thing Yanni did. He works with Helen for her foundation and he finds a reason to share his story to make the world better for others.

It is honestly inspiring. I have to applaud the authors who tell these fictional tales of LGBTQIA people comfortable or becoming comfortable with who they are, and finding love. The stories might be fictional but they are based on truths of gay, bi, lesbian, and trans people everywhere. For those who do identify as one of those, these stories might show them that it can get better and that they are worthy of love. For those who might be closed minded or prejudiced, they might learn to open their eyes, minds, and hearts.

And of course, this is a love story by an author who wants her characters to be happy so it is a great ending. There is a little bit of kink, but to me very mild. I stand by my slow and steady comment, but might add sweet and sexy, too. The narration is done by the very versatile and emotive Joel Leslie and his performance only adds to the listening experience. I highly recommend listening or reading to this book as well as the whole series.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

best in the series

Great story. Fantastic narration. the sex was hot but not the point of the story. which I prefer. the story is engaging and the characters are really fleshed out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful

Another story from the beautiful mind of NR Walker read in the beautiful voices of Joel Leslie. I loved everything moment; even the tearful ones. Thank you for this.

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Another winner by N. R Walker

To see how far Yanni has progressed is absolutely brilliant the writing and the narration by Joel Leslie takes you into Yanni’s life - all the characters have so much to say and I listen to every word ..

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Joel Leslie makes this!

I want to start by stating that I’m a big NR Walker fan, and I have LOVED pretty much everything she ever wrote. Mostly. But this wasn’t my favorite, unfortunately, it just hit me wrong, and I couldn’t get over the “daddy” kink. I think that’s pretty mild and only people really sensitive to the issue will notice – but that was my overshadowing impression.

I really loved the series and was happy to see Spencer again! But I wasn’t that involved in this story as I have been in the past.

The writing was good and I’m still a super fan!

3 of 5 stars









Audio
While this is not my favorite NR Walker story, I still loved this series in it’s entirety and was so thankful she chose Joel to narrate. He is able to give the vast myriad characters such depth and to perform all the deeply emotional scenes to perfection.

Highly recommended in this format!

5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Great story and great narration!

Joel Leslie does an excellent job with this book and I really enjoyed the character development that occurred in this story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Katie townsend
  • 11-14-18

My heart

Yanni's journey had my emotions every where I cried I laughed I fell in love with yanni and Peter

Listening to yanni's journey was such a incredible experience I could feel how strong yanni was so much he is so strong and so brave

My heart broke at times but also got put back together again

Joel Leslie brought yanni to life so beautifully and perfectly

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  • jane wilkinson
  • 08-09-18

Emotional but worth it

This can be listened to/ read as a stand-alone but it’s also part of the Spencer Cohen universe. When we meet Yanni he has recently escaped an abusive relationship, which came on the back of him being thrown out of home for being gay. He is truly broken, a desperate young man. He is helped by Spencer and Andrew and Andrew’s parents. They help him get back on his feet and together with his brilliant therapist, they encourage Yanni to go out and start to socialise. Through Spencer and Andrew he meets the sweetest,older man Peter Hannikov. They share a love of silent films and so begins a beautiful friendship as neither person is in the right space to pursue anything further. Peter is such a sweetheart and he makes Yanni feel safe and comfortable, never pushing too hard. They start texting more frequently and this segues into a more involved, romantic relationship, the timing seems to progress alongside Yanni’s healing process.

As Peter is older he does worry about the age difference a bit more than Yanni does, but this age gap lends another layer to their relationship as Yanni is introduced to ‘Daddy/Boy kink’. This is kept quite light, no heavy bdsm just another interesting slant on their relationship and one I thought was quite fitting for them as Peter is quite clearly a caretaker and Yanni desperately needs to feel safe and cared for. It’s also hella hot!

This is not a hearts and flowers kind of romance, though there is plenty of that. You need to heed the trigger warnings. From the opening lines, Joel Leslie has you immersed in Yanni’s story and it is emotional! The initial delivery of those first few lines sets the tone for this audiobook, the emotion quivering through them reverberates throughout the story. Between the beautiful, emotive writing and the deeply, heartfelt delivery it had me in tears a number of times. Joel Leslie is so talented at conveying the range and depth of emotion that Yanni is feeling. It was lovely to see Yanni healing and moving on and this came across in the narration too. I loved this sensitive, moving May/December romance and highly recommend a listen. N.R.Walker’s writing combined with Joel Leslie’s narration is always a five star winning combination. I loved it, highly recommended!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Book addict
  • 07-17-18

Some will love this, but not for me

I really enjoy N.R. Walker books usually, but this one is very different to the others I’ve read (very different to the other Spencer Cohen books too).

This was an incredibly slow play by play of the gradual recovery of Yanni after being disowned by his family for being gay, then experiencing homelessness and an abusive relationship. I think the book would be a great comfort to anyone who has experienced the above as there are several characters whose lives are turning around after being in bad situations. I imagine the book could kindle hope and a feeling of not being alone.

However, that being said, this book is lonnnnng. That would be ok if the pace was good and there was enough going on, but there’s not and the book drags because of it. There’s not really any chemistry between the two main characters either. Although there have been heart wrenching things happen in the past, you never really feel that much when reading this book and the book is a bit emotionally flat. Everyone is very perfect, and do wonderful things, and it reads like a how to guide on how to start a relationship with someone who has been abused. I like to FEEL the books I read though, and get drawn in and absorbed in there story. This certainly doesn’t happen with this book.

There is a bit of ‘daddy and son/boy’ kink in this as a heads up in case it’s not your bag, but it’s handled nicely. More like a mild nurturing dom/sub relationship with a different name.

This book left me with a mildly warm feeling, and I’m happy for the lad, and I hope there are foundations out there actively helping people in similarly bad situations. I also have a lingering feeling of boredom.