Review: Santino Hassell – Citywide (Five Boroughs #6)

Author: Santino Hassell
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary:

A record-breaking heatwave 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.

Review:

A collection of three short stories featuring secondary characters from the earlier books in the Five Boroughs series. As soon as I finished Third Rail, a short side story about Chris Mendez and his early encounters with Jace and Aiden, I knew I had to read this book in which their story continues. Add to that, the fact that several other characters in “the Queens squad” who have woven in and out of all of the other books in this series finally get their stories told. All in all, this is a very sexy, very satisfying read.

Rerouted:

IT professional Chris Mendez agrees to help Caleb, Oli, Aiden, and Jace at the Q-Finder offices after intermittent power outages have screwed up their network. Their regular IT guy is on vacation in Florida so Chris is top of their list of people to call. He’s also top on the list of guys Aiden and Jace want to play with. They’ve had a few nights together (in Third Rail), and Chris is the only guy they’ve ever let sleep over and the only guy who they’ve considered for repeats, but after every encounter he slips away and goes silent for weeks on end.

What they don’t know is that Chris really cares about them. He’s into polyamory, but not into open relationships, and since Aiden and Jace are still seeing other guys, his heart won’t let him be with them. He wants the commitment for all three of them to be all they each need. As the power goes out yet again, and the situation changes, the three men are thrown together alone in a deserted office with no power and nothing to do but indulge their fantasies, but somewhere along the way, they take the time for a much-needed heart to heart.

Will Chris get what he wants and needs? Will Aiden and Jace admit that they love him too? This is a super sexy, very solid story that went by too quickly. Loved, loved, loved it!

Gridlocked

Former Marine Sergeant Tonya Moldanado is working security for the company Q-Finder contracts for their big party, so she happens to be on-scene when Meredith Stone, Caleb’s and Aiden’s sister, is attacked. Tonya goes postal on the guy, unable to control her own reactions because she cares about Meredith as more than just a client. They’ve had sex previously but Tonya can’t shake the chip on her shoulder and her feeling of being not as good as uber-wealthy heiress Meredith, so they haven’t seriously pursued a relationship.

It takes one more night spent together to reach the point where both are ready to face the fact that they do indeed care for each other and want to try doing something permanent. This segment contains very graphic F/F sex scenes, and though they are not my thing, others may find it super hot. It’s definitely a great story, though, as it kept my interest, and it, too, passed too quickly.

Derailed

Throughout this book, I kept thinking that the stories couldn’t possibly get better, but when I got to this story of Stephanie and Angel, another two of Raymond’s squad, I was proven wrong—it’s outstanding. Though I used to read M/F, my preference is now M/M, but this segment had all the ingredients of an intriguing and superb M/F romance—certainly enough to “derail” me from M/M temporarily to appreciate this one fully.

For years, Angel has loved the free-loving Stephanie. She, on the other hand, has shunned relationships, and though bisexual, has not settled on any one of her male or female lovers. She and Angel have had sex, but every time even a hint of a long-term relationship comes up, Stephanie backs off and they cool their heels for a few months until fate throws them back together. In this segment, Stephanie’s workplace is having a retreat in the Hamptons and she’s invited Angel to pose as her fiancé. There’s a ton of back and forth emotional tug of war, a great deal of discussion and reminders of times past, and finally, a realization that what she’s always wanted has been right under her nose—she just needs to be brave enough to seize it.

It’s amazing to me that the author could pack so much into three short stories. Each story is individual, but woven together by the friendship of all the MCs. And each story feels as if it’s lengthy, and yet, conversely, it feels as if each just sped by too quickly.

If you are a fan of this series, by all means, don’t miss this one. And if you haven’t read the series, start now with Sutphin Boulevard and work your way through. You will not be disappointed!

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