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Citywide (Five Boroughs #6)
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date (Print & Ebook): November 13, 2017
Length (Print & Ebook): 100k words/367 pages
A record-breaking heat wave engulfs the Five Boroughs, and emotions run as hot as the temperatures.
In Rerouted, Chris Mendez is trying to live a drama-free life. That doesn't include another threesome with Jace and Aiden Fairbairn. But then a citywide blackout leaves them trapped together, and Chris is forced to re-examine everything he thought he knew about relationships and his own heart.
In Gridlocked, former Marine Tonya Maldonado is keeping real estate heiress Meredith Stone on permanent ignore. Mere isn't Tonya’s type. Not even close. Who cares if she kisses like a dream and has the filthiest mouth this side of the East River? But then a security detail at a summer party ends with her saving Mere's life and discovering they have more chemistry than she’d ever imagined.
In Derailed, Stephanie Quinones escapes the heat and her complicated love life by going on a company retreat. Trouble is, it's a couples’ retreat, and she lied about having a boyfriend. Unfortunately, the only person willing to play pretend is her on-again/off-again fling, Angel León. They’re currently "off again,” but after a week in the woods, Stephanie realizes she wouldn’t mind them being permanently on.
Stephanie was still eyeing Scott like he’d just wandered in off the street. Then she glanced at me, but she had a weird look on her face, and that weirdness spelled reluctance. She did not want me to meet this person. “Scott is my boss. He’s the, um, DeFrancis of Berger & DeFrancis.”
I stared at her hard, waiting for her to introduce me, and watched that panic grow. What the fuck? There was absolutely no way Stephanie was banging her boss. She had too much integrity. And besides that, she’d often complained about the inequity of salaries, and how her fellow paralegals and the legal assistants irritated her by obsessing for years over her not having a boyfriend or girlfriend. She’d never once said anything to imply . . .
But it wasn’t my business. She did not belong to me.
I pasted on a half-assed smile and held out my hand. He had a limp, damp handshake.
“I’m Angel León. Nice to meet you, man.”
Scott nodded, cocked his head, and then awareness sparked. “Oh, you’re Stephanie’s fiancé.”
I stared. “What?”
Beside me, Stephanie’s face was flaming. She seemed close to exploding right there in the glass-encased office as Caleb and Oli looked between us in confusion. They, wisely, didn’t speak.
“Stephanie’s fiancé,” Scott awkwardly clarified. “We don’t, uh, well, that is, I don’t talk about personal things with my employees, but—” Holy fuck, would he ever get a sentence out? Stephanie appeared ready to melt into a puddle of humiliation on the floor. “She said she couldn’t come to the company retreat in Lake George next weekend because she had plans with her fiancé. Angel.”
The effort to not crack a smile was monumental. This was stupid. I knew it was stupid. She’d thrown my name in the fray at work to keep them off her back. It had nothing to do with some actual desire to ever be engaged to me. But even so . . .
I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pulled her in with a shit-eating smile. “Gotcha.”
Across from us, Oli was also turning red from an obvious effort not to laugh. Caleb looked like he wanted to die from secondhand embarrassment.
“Um . . .” Stephanie shuffled besides me. “Right . . .”
“But you know what, Scott?” I dug my fingers into Stephanie’s arm. “Those plans may dry up. Is it too late for her to go along?”
Oli had taken a sip of his drink and choked. Stephanie gave me a hateful glare. I kept smiling at Scott.
“No, not at all. We’re going to have cabins, do team-building activities, and there will even be a hike.” Scott listed these activities as if in theory they were awesome, but his voice barely made it to semi pleased to be participating. “There are a lot of couples going, so you’re more than welcome to attend. We still have one room available.”
This time it was Stephanie who brightened like her wattage had suddenly received a boost. “Well, we might just take that into consideration, Scott. My Angelito loves outdoorsy stuff.”
I kept my mouth sealed into a smile even as I saw this plan backfiring.
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.
He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Citywide by Santino Hassell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
*I was gifted this ARC and freely give my review of it*
The first story is for me kind of a ending to something that’s been building up through other stories in the boroughs series. I absolutely love 💕 this story!
Jace and Aiden are in a open marriage and have included Chris at occasions. But he had ghosted them because he has developed feelings and don’t want to be hurt.
Now their stuck in a office building on Manhattan during a power blackout and it’s nowhere to run for Chris.
I love all the feelings in this story and the background for Aiden and Jace that led to such a strong relationship made me cry for them.
The connection between all three of the characters are very well described and it feels so natural that they should be together because of the way their personalities complements each other and makes them better.
I want to mention first that I’m not a fan of lesbian romance, don’t know why but that’s how it is. But again Hassell’s writing is unique so I’m engaged in the story before I’m finished with the first chapter.
Meredith and Tonya comes from different worlds and their encounters have been brief but unforgettable for them both. When Meredith is attacked and Tonya saves her they see new sides of each other.
I loved that Meredith could see beyond Tonya’s though exterior and accept her for who she is. Tonya got to see that there’s more to Meredith than a spoiled rich girl.
Points to Hassell for getting me to enjoy this story even if I was sceptical.
Angel and Stephanie has a one again off again relationship but a weekend get away with her work is changing the game.
Another great story from Hassell about how the challenges and fears of entering a relationship is different for each person. I can understand Stephanie’s fear after her childhood experiences but I can’t understand why she’s to blind to see that Angel is nothing like her parents.
He has a patient of a....Angel(pun intended) waiting and hoping for Stephanie to taking things to the next level.
As usual the story is filled with feelings and the love scenes is emotional and hot as h.....
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