Hotline (Belen’s Review)

hotlineTitle: Hotline
Author: Quinn Anderson
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: October 31st 2016
Genre(s): M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 347 Pages
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Blurb:

Zack never intended to become a phone sex operator, but with half a college degree and a smart mouth, his options were limited. It helps that he has a knack for thinking on his feet and a willingness to roll with whatever his clients throw at him. Sure, he gets his fair share of creeps and unconventional requests, but it pays the bills, and he’s in no danger of breaking his one rule: never fall for a client.

Until a man named “John” starts calling, and Zack finds himself interested in more than a paycheck. It’s not just that John has money, or that his rumbling baritone drives Zack wild. He’s everything Zack isn’t: educated, poised, and in total control of his life.

A twist of fate brings them face-to-face, and now that they’ve seen each other—and spent an unforgettable night together—they can’t go back to the way things were. A sex worker and a trust fund brat . . . It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but with less stabbing and slightly fewer dick jokes. Hopefully they can pull off a more successful ending.


While I won’t go so far as to say I hated it, I did severely dislike it.

This review is going to be full of spoilers. If that sort of thing bothers you, I implore you to look away right now.

look-away

The blurb absolutely drew me in and got me excited for this story. It sounded like it was going to be super sexy, humorous, and romantic. And while it was two out of three, the romance was lost on me…and that’s entirely because this story triggered three and half of my biggest complaints in any story.

I say this because, frankly, if anyone had told me about any one of these items (let alone all 3 1/2 together) I would not have requested to read this story. I would have known it wasn’t for me. But I didn’t know. I think you should have that option.

Spoiler

1. There’s stalking. Straight up John stalks Zach. He shows up at Zach’s anonymous job under dubious circumstances, he texts with Zach’s friend about Zach without Zach’s knowledge, and he’s inappropriate in a lot of other ways.

“Clients can’t just show up where we work, Zack. You know that. It’s harassment and borderline stalking. Our address isn’t even listed, so how did he find this place?”
“I don’t know, but he’s not stalking me.”
“Why are you defending him? If any of your other clients showed up here, you wouldn’t hesitate to have them removed.”

John only gets away with his actions because he’s “gorgeous”. If he had been homely or downright ugly the cops would have been called in the first five minutes.

2. Miscommunication. The two don’t have necessary conversations, instead they allow situations to fester, then get out of control, and, as a result, John feels like Zach’s got one foot out the door.

“Admit it. You haven’t been in this from day one. I’ve seen it every time I look at you. You were waiting for me to fuck up so you’d have an excuse to leave. You treat dinner invitations like they’re grenades and affection like it’s a threat. I wanted to get serious, and I meant it when I said I wanted you to be my boyfriend one day, but every time I pictured our future, I saw the back of your head.”

Have a conversation, people! With a story this long there should have been ample opportunity, but the sex was happening so often little things like communication fell by the wayside.

3. Cheating. Is it physical cheating? No. It’s emotional cheating that John does but claims can’t be cheating because they really aren’t “official, and we’ve never even broached the subject of being exclusive. You can’t cheat on someone you’re not technically with.” That entire part of the storyline made me so angry I wanted to hit something.

Zack laughed bitterly. “You know, I used to think I was the slow one in this relationship. Did you really expect me to stay with you after this? You hid things from me, you lied to me, and no matter how you try to spin it, you cheated on me. What did you think I was going to do? Hop back on your dick after you’ve made it perfectly clear that I’m not enough for you?”

you-suck

The 1/2…Then Zach has a conversation with his neighbor that miraculously clears everything all up…

“He said I didn’t commit to him. He said it was unfair for me to expect him to give us his all when I wasn’t willing to do the same. I don’t think he was right, but . . .” Zack shrugged. “I think he thinks he’s right. Like he genuinely didn’t believe I was committed, so it doesn’t matter if I was or not, because I didn’t show it.”
“Maybe that’s what he was missing,” Mr. Alvarez said. “He wanted your whole heart and you were hesitant to give it to him. He took that as a sign that you didn’t really care for him. You’re both guilty of not being up front with one another.”
Zack groaned. “It’s like one of those bad teenage dramas where the whole plot could be fixed with two minutes’ worth of honest dialogue.”

…and he immediately goes to John, they have hot makeup sex, but no real communication, and they live happily ever after.

Huh? Nope. Not buying it.

Told entirely from Zach’s POV, I felt the story really lacked in not having John’s side. He didn’t feel like a fully fleshed out character. Then with the big three there were just too many things that I loathe in a story to ever relax into it and enjoy it.

Finally, I feel like an epilogue really could have helped me feel less unresolved about Zach’s future. Something where maybe he introduces John to his parents and clears up some of their concerns about his future, or where he meets anyone from John’s family or friends. Instead I just felt like it was unfinished.

dont-like-that

Bottom line: This one definitely wasn’t for me. But for those who don’t have my issues, you’ll find a super hot, sometimes humorous, romance with some light angst and interesting supporting characters.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Hotline provided by Riptide Publishing via NetGalley in exchange of an honest review.

Author

I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I’m happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand.
I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I’m in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA!

My biggest no-no’s are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my “Favorite M/M” stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Fast Connection Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future

2017 Mid-Year Favorites

Shelter the Sea A Day Makes A Destiny of Dragons Model Investigator Imagines

2017 Mid-Year Audio Favorites

Carry the Ocean Shelter the Sea Until You Summer Lessons A Day Makes

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