Title: Sunset Park (Five Boroughs #2)
Author Name & Publisher: Santino Hassell (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: December 11, 2015 – 230 pgs
Raymond Rodriguez’s days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.
David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.
Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.
Wow. Just wow. I was consumed by this story. This is an unusual m/m romance – I’m not sure I completely liked either of the leading men and I’m not sure I was supposed to. Raymond is a closeted sponging stoner who can’t hold down a job and has failed to gain any qualifications since high school. David is a slightly snobby player with an ego and a slight Grindr addiction.
But these men are real. They’re complicated. Raymond has been hurt. His confidence is much lower than his glowering thug persona suggests. Likewise, David is weaker and needier than his affluent background and professional polish suggests. Together they are a hot mess. A really, really hot mess. They are both terrible at relationships. Communication is non-existent and the angst is raw and palpable.
But when they finally connect, David and Raymond’s first kiss is one of the hottest first kisses I can remember reading. And it just gets steamier from there. The chemistry between David and Raymond is hot. The sex is raw, fierce and surprisingly tender. Santino Hassell consistently writes unforgettable sex scenes and this might be his most erotic work yet.
For me, this is worth five stars because it is so much more than than just an erotic romance. The story is dedicated to the Millennials and I think the author has captured the spirit of a generation with accuracy and more than a little empathy. These kids expect work to have meaning. They are torn between making money and making a difference; giving up and dropping out or risking rejection and failure. This is a simple story with beautifully drawn characters and a contemplative heart. I loved it.
Raymond has to get his act together because his older brother who we meet in the first book in this series wants to move in with his boyfriend which means Raymond needs to move out and be responsible. David we also meet in the first book agrees to move in with him.
I have to say I really love this authors writing style! The way he writes these characters was just awesome even though I really need to be honest and say I was not a fan of David through a lot of this book. I mean there were just so many times he would annoy me with his I want you but I need to decide what I feel about my ex, but I want you that really drove nuts and made me feel bad for Raymond and the way David was running him around.
Other than that I really also loved the way this story was written and the slow build up between these two men which was very hot! I do not want to give away any spoilers because you really need to read this series for yourself because it is just so good! So I will leave this review with although it took awhile for David’s character to grow on me I really loved this book and would definitely recommend this series!
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes LGBTQ romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.