{Review} First and First by Santino Hassell

{Review} First and First by Santino HassellFirst and First by Santino Hassell
Also by this author: Sutphin Boulevard, Strong Signal, Fast Connection, Hard Wired, Mature Content, Oversight, Illegal Contact, Third Rail
Series: Five Boroughs #3
Also in this series: Sutphin Boulevard, Third Rail
Published by Dreamspinner Press on April 18, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Pages: 261
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Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reign and "alternative lifestyles" are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he's still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn't know how... until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.

Oli is everything Caleb isn't--risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year's Eve, Caleb is smitten.

As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.

Erin: First and First is the steamy, sexy, fabulous third book in Santino Hassell’s Five Boroughs series. It’s a standalone so no worries if you haven’t read the first two, but I have to ask WHY if you haven’t done so, because really, they are must reads, just like First and First. If you are looking for a hot, often dirty, totally enthralling and captivating book to read, look no further than this one people. Santino Hassell has outdone himself with the story of Caleb Stone and Oliver “Oli” Buckley, two thirty something Upper East Side New Yorker’s who are struggling with finding themselves.

In total Hassell style, First and First is raw, gritty, and so real that Caleb and Oli practically leap off the pages. I loved both these guys. Admittedly, Caleb was harder to like than the effervescent Oli and his in your face, love me or hate me attitude, but love them both I did. Both men come from highly dysfunctional families, leading to Caleb’s almost crippling insecurities—especially in all things sexual—and Oli’s practically snarling cavalier views on relationships and his blatant and overwhelming sex positive outlook.

The chemistry between these two is scorching. From page one to the very last word, these two sizzle and blaze like nothing I’ve ever read. Santino Hassell writes dirty sex better than just about anyone out there. And it’s not sex just to take up pages in a book, it always moves the story forward. It’s not superfluous in any way, no matter that it will make your heart race and your stomach swoop.

“Those are the best kind,” he said in my ear. “I fuck around with a lot of my friends. Intimacy doesn’t have to be normative. We can just…enjoy each other’s company and sometimes enjoy each other’s bodies. And right now I want to enjoy yours.”


“Your hot body.” Oli dropped his hand between us. He palmed my dick again, and I had to swallow a groan. “I think you need to expand your view of sex and relationships.”

My pulse rocketed but my voice was steady. “More New Age crap?”

“Heh.” He cupped me harder. “This doesn’t have anything to do with spirituality and channeling unless I’m going to reach a heightened state by being a few inches deep in your ass.”

A breathless laugh burst out of me and stirred his tousled hair. It was a moment when mortification or discomfort should have seized me but didn’t.
“You have a dirty mouth.”

“You like it dirty.” Oli stopped kneading my extending bulge and dragged his fingertips against my zipper. “You like it messy. And rough.”

*fans self*

I love how sex is handled in this book. All aspects of it: from Oli’s views on monogamy, to the open relationship Caleb’s brother Aiden has with his husband Jace, to the sexual hang up’s that Caleb has, and then the way Oli helps Caleb discover what it is he wants from his sexual experiences. First and First is sexual journey for Caleb, and ultimately for Oli as well as they fall in love with each other and come to terms with what they want versus what they thought they wanted. I love the growth of both men, how they changed and evolved while staying true to themselves. The secondary characters, as always, lent so much to the story and I’m hoping we’ll see more than a few of them later on in the series. *Charles please?!*

First and First is my favorite book of the series thus far. It’s funny and charming and dirty and sexy and ultimately very emotional and even tender at times. (And the cameos of David and Raymond didn’t hurt any!) I can’t wait to see where the next book takes us. This is a series you definitely do NOT want to miss.

“Oliver, it won’t be messing it up just to…to give this a name. I want to know what I am to you.”

“You’re the guy I feel all the feelings for.”

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    Report Card
    Overall: 4.5

    First and First Santino Hassell

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