Anthology can be read as a standalone
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.
Citywide is comprised of three novellas featuring some of the secondary characters from the 5 Boroughs series. I very much enjoyed them all; Santino Hassell never fails to enthrall me with his ability to not only tell a story, but also his use of flawed characters I can't help but like, and even relate to on some level. The only thing I felt was lacking here was that I would have loved to have gotten full novels for these people, instead of novellas. Hassell managed to both satisfy me and leave me wanting more.
Rerouted: 5 Stars
MC's: Aiden, Jace, and Chris -- M/M/M
There's a heat wave in NYC, and I'm convinced these three men caused it...
Rerouted continues the story from Third Rail, about Aiden, Jace, and Chris deciding to make their ocassional threesome hookup more permanent. And I loved it. These three men are hot and sweet and I love their chemistry. I was very happy with the direction the story took and how it ended.
I found their relationship development to be spot on, especially considering the amount of time that passes between the first time they hook up, until their story in this anthology completes. Page time is kind of quick, but actual time it wasn't, really. All three just fit and the harder they fought it, the harder they fell.
The amount of angst was on par of what I would expect with an established couple bringing in a permanent third, since they do have a lot of logistics to work through. A big point of uncertainty is with Aiden and Jace having an open relationship, because Chris knows he can't operate that way. So a lot of communicating and honesty is needed both before they make decisions, and continue going forward. I was happy to see the three of them come up for air and actually talk about these very important things. I was also quite happy when things got steamy, which they did -- a lot.
Gridlocked: 4.5 Stars
MC's: Tonya and Meredith -- NB/F
Even tough as nails Marines can be charmed...
In Gridlocked, Meredith and Tonya finally stop circling one another and go for more. The story is told entirely from Tonya's POV, which was great because otherwise, I think Tonya would have come off as too cold. With their POV, we get to see the inner working of their mind and how that icy exterior hides an actual human being. One that Meredith has been obsessed with for over a year.
I also liked how Meredith could handle herself and Tonya never saw her as weak. While Tonya is the one with all the combat experience, Meredith has a different kind of reputation as a society girl gone wild. But Meredith was definitely more than the tabloids would suggest. Sometimes she needs a little help checking here priviledge, but the fact that she makes the effort and that she recognises that priviledge goes far in my book.
Derailed: 3.5 Stars
MC's: Angel and Stephanie -- M/F
Some things are just inevitable...
Angel has been in love with Stephanie since they met in high school. Until the last year, or so, however, things never went further than that. But Stephanie is more than skittish and tries to keep an emotional distance, so their on-again-off-again relationship doesn't really do more than hurt them both.
I enjoyed Derailed, though it was my least favorite of this anthology. Stephanie just wouldn't get out of her own way and take a chance. I am glad, though of the alternating POV, however, because it gave me insight as to how Stephanie actually felt as well as why she was so adamant about not being tied down. It humanized her. In this particular case, I'm glad for the novella, instead of a novel, because if she would have spent 200 pages not getting out of her own way, I would not have enjoyed the story as much.
Angel and Stephanie have amazing chemistry together and, as per usual with this author, their smexytimes steamed up my Kindle.
ARC of Citywide was generously provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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