Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.
Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.
When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelope himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.
➦I’m a big fan of Santino Hassell’s writing and I absolutely loved all of the previous installments of this series. This book, while being quite an enjoyable read, lacked the same magic for me.
➦You have Ashton, this extravagant male model who comes from money, has a huge Instagram following and spends his time attending various functions. And you have Val, a boxer who is trying to make it to pro, because that’s what’s expected from him. They’ve been friends ever since Val’s mother has been working for Ashton’s family. Some lines have been crossed and their friendship suffered, and now they are trying to reconnect again.
➦These two seemed to be stuck in between, not quite friends and not quite lovers. They would touch and be affectionate and act like a couple while denying that they wanted to be “more”. I found it to be a bit exhausting and their crossing the friends to lovers line was not as anticipated for me as I would have preferred. Can’t say that I completely fell in love with either of them. While the writing was spectacular, which I come to expect from Hassell, something was amiss for me.