Full disclosure: I proofread this book in the final draft stages, but really, all of the hard work was already done when I got my hands on it. I basicFull disclosure: I proofread this book in the final draft stages, but really, all of the hard work was already done when I got my hands on it. I basically just got to enjoy the ride... and what a ride it was.
This isn't your mama's contemporary romance novel, but it is very much a romance, albeit one with Santino's signature gritty style, which fans of the ICoS series will no doubt recognize. First, we have Michael, an MC who is flawed as hell and all the more real for those flaws. He reminded me of some of my own family members (I'm also Puerto Rican and from an area much like his.) Then there's Nunzio, Michael's best friend, who practically sizzles off the page. This man is hot, and their chemistry is unreal from the very start. Of course their story can't be easy--no one who enjoys this author will expect any different--but it's all the more amazing for that. Because, really, how often is life as simple and sweet as we'd hope? Life and love are complicated and messy and often heartbreaking. Sometimes we get things right. Sometimes we get them horribly wrong. Hopefully we come out stronger and wiser in the end.
Don't go into this book expecting fluff because you won't get it. What you will get is a realistic a portrayal of a man who's nursing a lot of resentment (and pain, though he probably wouldn't admit it) about things that have happened in the past, about his current circumstances, about work issues... and things only get worse as the book goes along. Michael's downward spiral is rather epic, and yet totally believable and true to life. Also, all the side characters are vividly drawn. There are no cardboard cutouts in this book. They live and breathe. You'll want them to have stories too. (Good thing there are more coming, am I right?) I'd almost call it a street romance, in that it has that vibe, with Nunzio and Michael having grown up together in this less than reputable neighborhood, and being the products of that neighborhood. Even though they're grown, the area plays a role. The story feels like a dirty, sexy New York love affair. It feels real. And let me also add how much I appreciate the fact that Santino is bringing more diversity to the world of M/M because I think it needs it.
But, man, these two... when things between them are good, it's like magic. The desire, the sexual tension, it's delicious. But it's the emotions that'll kill you. There are a couple of hard punches straight to the feels in this book. Yet the ending makes every difficult moment worth it. And, believe me, there are definitely some scenes that shred the heartstrings.
My review probably doesn't even do it justice. Let me just say I recommend it. ...more
My story in this antho is called Three Strikes. Check out the unofficial blurb below. :)
Jeremy Saitou is on his third and final strike. His manager, SMy story in this antho is called Three Strikes. Check out the unofficial blurb below. :)
Jeremy Saitou is on his third and final strike. His manager, Shawn, would love nothing more than to send him packing. Shawn hates everything about the guy, especially Jeremy’s insolent mouth. Sure, Jeremy is exactly Shawn’s type—hot, pierced, and tattooed—but no one else has ever annoyed Shawn more. So when Jeremy offers Shawn the use of his body in exchange for one last chance to save his job, Shawn immediately shuts him down, even as everything in him screams for him to say yes and finally put Jeremy in his place.
As a manager, Shawn can’t in good conscience accept Jeremy’s offer, but he does grant Jeremy the same chance he would any other employee—one last week to get his act together and prove his dedication to his job and the company.
The very last thing Shawn expects is for Jeremy to start pursuing him in the days that follow. Now it’s impossible to separate the lies from the truth. Is Jeremy really interested… or is he just doing everything in his power to make sure he still has a job at the end of the week?...more
Just FYI, for anyone curious. Some of the events in this collection and More Than Moonlight have been incorporated into the second editUpdate: 4/24/14
Just FYI, for anyone curious. Some of the events in this collection and More Than Moonlight have been incorporated into the second edition of Moonlight Becomes You (published by Dreamspinner Press in April, 2014). The 2nd edition is over 60K words (original: 44K), including the content mentioned above as well as new scenes, and was also released as a paperback. If you have yet to read our free vignette collections but planned on buying the new version of MBY, it might be better to wait for that as some of these scenes have also been altered during edits. :) ...more