Hiya peeps! We have Santino Hassell popping in today with his new release Citywide, we have a great excerpt and a brilliant giveaway, so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway! <3 ~Pixie~
A record-breaking heat wave 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.
Five Boroughs Universe series!
New York City—home of soaring skyscrapers, concrete boulevards, and the hopes and dreams of millions. A city where opposites attract and romance is found in unlikely places. From the glittering penthouses of Manhattan to the blue collar neighborhoods of Queens, values get tested, cultures clash, and connections made. Men of diverse backgrounds examine their lives, test their sexual boundaries, and seek success in an unforgiving urban landscape that moves fast and stops for no one. Despite the odds, there’s love to be found in the five boroughs as long as they’re willing to work for it.
To learn more about the first three books in the Five Boroughs universe, please visit http://santinohassell.com/books/
“Thank you so much for coming.”
“No prob, man.”
Caleb locked the glass door behind us as we stepped into the QFindr office, and I had to pick up my jaw from the floor. I always heard stories about how Facebook and Spotify started, the tale of the original founders and how it was once grassroots, and it was hard to believe because now they were mega corporations, but as I looked around QFindr HQ, I believed it.
The sorta-shitty queer dating app that I’d helped to alpha and beta test had morphed into something used internationally with gleaming glass offices in downtown Manhattan. I’d known it was a big deal when we’d done the photoshoot and my face had wound up on posters on buses and in the subway, but . . . somehow seeing a physical space made it real. When we’d done the photoshoot, they’d still been working out of a smaller rented space uptown.
“You really made out for yourself,” I said, trailing behind Caleb. He was wearing a three-piece suit, and I had on basketball shorts and sandals. I did a little tap dance as I followed him, ensuring the backs of my sandals slapped against the shiny floor.
Caleb looked over his shoulder, startled, and laughed. “What are you doing?”
I shrugged, grinning. “Being dumb.”
His eyes crinkled at the sides. “You’re adorable.”
Oh God. That word again. The bane of my entire life. Since junior high, I’d been the adorable one with the cute nose and dimples, the guy a little bit shorter than the rest, who’d been passed over for my giant muscular friends. But I wasn’t trying to fuck Caleb, so I just winked and kept following. I did sneak in a couple of more jigs on the way.
The main part of their space was open concept except for larger offices at each corner. I looked around, on instinct, and wondered which office was Aiden’s.
“Here we are,” Caleb said, leading me to a narrow room.
It was similar to the space we had at my job, where we stowed the racks of on-site servers. Just a narrow, chilly room with a few hard-core terminals that usually did nothing but exist for the rest of the network to access from everyone’s individual computers. Except, the last time our servers had seen damage, we hadn’t lost anything valuable. Definitely not anything like source code for an app worth millions.
Caleb hovered behind me. “How long will it take?”
“I don’t know until I start looking at it all,” I said. “I should be able to recover data with software instead of using a clean room, but—”
“What’s a clean room?” The worry in Caleb’s brow tripled. “That sounds frightening.”
“It’s a sterile environment for computer parts to be taken apart and worked on. But, like I said, we won’t need that.”
It didn’t seem to matter that I was reassuring him. Caleb was balls-deep in meltdown mode. I could see it in the way he gripped the front of his jacket and gnawed on his lower lip. A little shred of panic hit me, because while I knew the dude, I didn’t really know the dude. I wasn’t equipped to prevent a full-on coronary.
Ugh. I definitely hadn’t counted on him sticking around and flipping out the entire time I worked. I knew what I was doing, but doing my job while an anxiety-ridden millionaire bit his nails and stared at me was a setup for disaster. The only times I made mistakes were when people micromanaged me.
But how the hell could I ditch him when he was paying me a hundred bucks an hour to save his ass?
“Uh . . .” I rubbed the back of my head. “So . . .”
“Chris here yet?”
Aiden’s voice boomed through the office like he’d spoken through a megaphone. It should have been annoying, especially when each word dripped with the remnants of an old-school Irish American Queens accent that would grate coming from anyone else, but my lips turned up in a smile.
Aiden had a presence like the sun—warm and bright—and he commanded the attention of everyone who had the pleasure of being close to him. It had the same effect on me that’d been there from the start. Wanting to be close to him, to bask in his personality and big mouth and brawn, while also standing a bit taller to make sure he knew I measured up. I had a big personality too.
He strode up to us, and I struggled to keep my eyes on his face. Tough, considering his thick muscular thighs were looking more delicious than usual in a pair of dark pinstriped shorts and his biceps were exploding out of a short-sleeved white button-down. He had on fucking boat shoes, and my mouth still watered at the sight of his muscular legs. But I kept my expression the very definition of unaffected as I jerked my chin at him in greeting, even though looking at him from the neck up wasn’t much easier. The last time I’d stood before those big green eyes, broad jaw, and laughing mouth, he’d been gripping the side of my face, ginger stubble rubbing my cheek raw, as he fucked me and Jace played with my dick.
“’Sup, Red?” I drawled, all no big deal that we were in the same room for the first time in what felt like months. “What it do?”
Aiden looked me over, a long slow sweep up and down my body, before giving me the same tough-guy head nod. I didn’t know if his nonchalance was for Caleb’s benefit—who was apparently a real stickler for ethics within their company—or for me, since I’d been ignoring his texts for a while now.
“Shit’s not great with this fucking heat,” Aiden complained. “The power’s been blinking since the temp shot up this past weekend. Thanks for coming.”
“No sweat,” I said. “Wasn’t doing anything, anyway.”
“Really?” Aiden slid his phone out of his pocket and glanced at it, still talking. “I figured you’d be going out to the club.”
Heh. He thought he was so slick. When we’d first met, my Friday night MO had been to go drinking and dancing and spend a couple of hours flirting with pretty girls more for the fun of it rather than to truly try to get some culo. Even during the stretches of time when all we did was bullshit in a group text, Aiden had found a way to ask whether I’d met anyone on those nights out. I’d thought his apparent possessiveness had meant something, but we’d stuck to the same routine of fucking infrequently with no changes at all, so I’d eventually assumed his interest didn’t imply deeper feels.
I shook my head, not bothering to answer, and Caleb kept fretting over the servers. He was too distressed to chastise his half brother for interrogating the IT kid about his sex life, which meant he needed to take his ass on home before he started making me nervous.
“Okay, I’ll be real,” I told him. “I have no idea how long this will take, but I’m committed to staying late tonight and coming back tomorrow. You don’t need to stick around and watch.”
“I don’t mind,” Caleb said. “I’ll just worry the whole time if I go home.”
Grimacing, I glanced at Aiden. All it took was half a second of eye contact, and he understood. I could tell by the way he clapped a hand on Caleb’s arm to wheel him around, murmuring encouraging nonsense in a steady stream that Caleb was too polite to interrupt.
I watched their retreating backs, weirded out and a little turned on. I’d fucked Aiden Fairbairn only a few times in the past year, and yet he could read me like he’d been riding shotgun inside my body all along.
Shaking myself, I turned away from the server room to find something to write on. It was time to get to work and earn my money, not get hung up thinking about sex and two dudes I had no business obsessing over. It was usually easy to shift my brain from the wistful longing of a lonely bastard to nerd mode, and this time was no exception. I came up with a list of everything I’d need to do, and the supplies I might need, because a physical list always did more for me than a mental one.
It wasn’t until I finished scribbling did I look up to see Aiden leaning against the doorway. He looked like porn with his muscular arms and bedroom eyes, a big lug from the Rockaways who wanted to take care of me real good even though his method bordered on the right side of rough, but I managed to glance past him.
“Sent him home to Oli.”
“Appreciate it,” I said. “I work better alone, and he was on that next level of worried. Would have paced behind me the whole damn time.”
“He would have.” Aiden extended his arm to flick the bill of my cap. “What are you gonna do to thank me for saving you from that experience?”
I left my cap skewed sideways and arched my scarred brow at him. If there was one thing to be said about Aiden, it was that he never changed. He knew what he wanted and he’d come at you like a bull to get it.
“You didn’t sabotage your own company just to set up some weird-ass seduction, did you? Because I’mma tell Caleb, and that poor bastard won’t ever forgive you.”
Aiden burst out laughing, eyes twinkling, as he yanked me into one of his big bear hugs. I was a strong dude, but he had so much mass on me that I felt dwarfed once he squeezed. I’d been brought up affectionate, so I felt qualified to say that Aiden gave the best hugs. Second maybe only to Nunzio.
“You always smell so good,” Aiden rumbled in my ear. “I could fucking eat you.”
I scrambled my way out of his muscular arms and backed away, holding out a wagging finger. It was ridiculous, especially when he began advancing on me like a red-haired panther in his slick biz cas outfit while I slid all over the floor in my chanclas.
“Calm yourself, Aiden. I’m here to work, not to fuck.”
“You can do both.”
Aiden lunged at me. Lunged. Like a cartoon character. Or a horny Batman villain. Laughing incredulously, I spun away from him and took off running through the great purple expanse of QFindr offices.
“I’m going to spank that round ass of yours when I catch you,” he called after me. “Fucking brat.”
I skidded to a stop by a strange array of standing desks and workout equipment lined up along a wall of windows. He’d loped behind me, grinning broadly, and clearly enjoying my shenanigans. He always did. They always did. My refusal to act like an adult eighty percent of the time was ninety percent of my charm.
“We’re not fucking, you big orange bastard.”
“‘Orange’?” Aiden huffed. “Don’t be a dick.”
“My bad. We’re not fucking, you big ginger bastard.” I waggled my eyebrows at him. “Better?”
Aiden crossed the distance between us in two long strides and grabbed the front of my shirt. He was all over me again, barely giving me room to think or breathe or exist without him touching me. His tongue lashed against my mouth with a wet demand for entrance that I instantly acquiesced to. I slanted my mouth, groaning when he slid his hot tongue inside, and slammed my hips against his as he gripped me tight with his huge hands.
Read more at: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/citywide (just click the excerpt tab)
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.
He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Connect with Santino:
- Website: santinohassell.com
- Newsletter: santinohassell.com/newsletter
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- Facebook: facebook.com/santinohassellbooks
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- Goodreads: goodreads.com/santino_hassell
To celebrate the release of Citywide, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide gift card!
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