Author: Santino Hassell
Narrator: Michael Ferraiuolo
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 8 hours and 40 minutes
At a Glance: Michael Ferraiuolo’s narration is once again what makes a fairly ordinary story a fun listen.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reign and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how, until he meets Oliver Buckley.
Oli is everything Caleb isn’t – risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.
As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.
Review: Caleb Stone has a problem with relationships; he wants them neat and always his way. Since the wealthy scion of the uber wealthy Stone family came out, he’s been the bane of his father’s existence, and hounded by his mother to find a nice, quiet wife and live his life “properly”—at least on the surface—to keep his half-brother from inheriting control of the family fortune.
Oliver Buckley has been tossed out by his family since they walked in on him being the bottom at an orgy. Oli’s problem with relationships is that he doesn’t believe they ever work, so he never tries to find “the one”. He’s just out finding the next one to fill the void.
Caleb never really liked Oli, and Oli never got what was so special about Caleb that made his seem so intriguing. Until one New Year’s night when Caleb and Oli go home together and have a night of wild, uninhibited sex. Caleb is embarrassed by not remembering exactly what happened. Oli totally enjoys playing with Caleb’s inhibitions and missing memories.
Oli slowly breaks through Caleb’s uptight approach to life, sex, and happiness. Caleb slowly lures Oli into a relationship. And Oli hates it. Caleb is learning to love a life where sex isn’t a chore but an experience to be cherished every single time. When they find themselves in business together with Caleb’s half-brother, who is also gay, sparks fly, relationships grow and explode into delicious complications.
Michael Ferraiuolo’s narration is once again what makes a fairly ordinary story a fun listen. This book is a departure from the previous two in the series that gave us some extraordinary glimpses into average lives that become amazing because of love. This time out, the story relies on tropes but still winds up well serviced in the narration. Clean voices and crisp narration keep the listener in the story. Most would find this story passable, and hoping the next book in the series returns fans to the same stories that got us involved with the books to begin with.
Ferraiuolo’s work in this series has made it quite enjoyable and is a voice any listener would look forward to hearing read. Buy the audiobook if you love the series or the narrator. If you’ve never read this series, start with book one and enjoy the ride.
You can buy First and First here: