Title: Concourse (Five Boroughs #5)
Author: Santino Hassell
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: May 1st 2017
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 366 pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.
Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.
When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.
No one else writes such perfectly flawed, real, relatable, passionate characters like Santino Hassell. Val and Ashton have their problems, sure, but they’re also like magnets that are always crashing together no matter how each tries to get away or stay apart.
Maybe one day his effect on me would fade, and I’d actually be able to keep my hands off him, but that time hadn’t come yet. It was as impossible as ever. As soon as I was around him, as soon as he touched me and grazed his mouth to mine . . . I wanted him.
Written from both Ashton’s and Val’s POV, the thing I loved the most was that the reader gets to see Val, who is demisexual, as not broken because he needs a connection to feel desire.
There would have to come a point when I drew boundaries about all this touching, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it yet. Not when he was the only person whose touch I actually felt. Not just his fingertips or his lips or his hugs, but I felt tendrils of warmth and excitement and a desire for more. There had been a spark here or there with a few other people who had drifted in and out of my life, but never the consistent thrill that I got from being with Ashton. Maybe because no one else had ever meant as much to me.
Sure, there were things that drove me nuts, particularly how you could see how perfect they’d be for each other if they’d just stop sabotaging it all, but I kept coming back for more.
That’s what Santino does, he keeps me coming back for more.