Raymond Rodriguez's days of shoving responsibility to the wayside are over. His older brother wants to live with his boyfriend so Raymond has to get his act together and find a place of his own. But when out-and-proud David Butler offers to be his roommate, Raymond agrees for reasons other than needing a place to crash.
David is Raymond’s opposite in almost every way—he’s Connecticut prim and proper while Raymond is a sarcastic longshoreman from Queens—but their friendship is solid. Their closeness surprises everyone as does their not-so-playful flirtation since Raymond has always kept his bicurious side a secret.
Once they’re under the same roof, flirting turns physical, and soon their easy camaraderie is in danger of being lost to frustrating sexual tension and the stark cultural differences that set them apart. Now Raymond not only has to commit to his new independence—he has to commit to his feelings for David or risk losing him for good.
What I thought about Sunset Park
When Michael and Nunzio from the first book in this series decide to move in together, the Rodriguez brothers put the family home up for rent, and Raymond ends up in an apartment with David Butler, Michael's coworker.
Both Raymond and David are working out some issues in their personal lives, while dealing with the growing attraction between them. Raymond needs a new job after losing his job on the docks, and David is still confused and unsure about where Caleb, (his ex) fits into his life.
I love that this story is told in alternating points of view between Raymond and David, mostly because both men really need to get it together before they can consider a relationship together. David is insecure when it comes to Raymond, thinking that he's just curious about being with another man and not really serious about doing anything more than scratching an itch.
Raymond is at a critical crossroad in his life, stuck in a boring office job he hates, exploring his growing feelings for David, and basically just trying to find his direction in life. It's not an easy road for either of them, especially when it comes to their relationship as roommates and potential lovers. There's a whole bunch of miscommunication and assumptions in this story, just like in real life relationships.
That's what I love about this series. It isn't afraid to show how people really do miscommunicate with each other, and what impact that can have. There's no perfect world in this series and that's the attraction for me. The dialogue sings with honesty, even when David and Raymond are struggling to be honest with each other.
There's a really nice build-up to the big explosion at the end, and I couldn't be more happy about how everything turns out. It's not going to be a smooth ride for David and Raymond, but there's love and that put a big smile on my face as I finished the final sentences of this story.
Santino Hassell is a new author for me. I've read the two books in the Five Boroughs series just this week, but I will be looking for more from this author.
Oh, and kudos on the cover. I love it when the cover image matches well with the content.
ARC provided for review.
Get the first book in the 5 Boroughs series!
Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens to teaching in one of the city’s most queer friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.
Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.
When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.
Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.