Sunset Park

Sunset Park

by Santino Hassell



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Sunset Park by Santino Hassell

A Five Boroughs Story

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623807450
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: 12/11/2015
Pages: 230
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.48(d)

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Sunset Park 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Maria-Rose More than 1 year ago
I have to say that I really enjoyed this story, even more so than the previous one. I’d guess this is because I tend to gravitate more towards lighthearted stories that make me laugh, and while there were some serious moments in this one, there were lots of laugh out loud moments for me as Ray and David navigate the murky waters of a new and untried relationship. Their characters are just so different! Ray comes across as a somewhat lazy guy, relying up to now on just getting by, knowing his older brother Michael will be there (disapproving no doubt, but still supportive). As the story progresses he does actually mature, including realizing that smoking pot isn’t going to improve his future lot in life (yay for that, since I’m not a personal fan of casual drug use, though in this story I didn’t find it offensive). With his maturity comes the realization that his feelings for David have gotten pretty deep, even if he’s not very adept at expressing himself. David is an interesting character too, a bit whiny, sometimes over the top friendly, a bit of an ass when he drinks, but a very supportive and loving person in general. He truly cares for Raymond, and that comes through even when he’s screwing things up between them. They definitely have some serious communication problems, as neither wants to be the first to admit that the feelings between them are more than friendship. David worries that Ray will finish his experimenting stage and end up with a woman some time down the road. Ray on the other hand is aware that he can’t compete financially or socially with David’s ex, the man whom David can’t seem to cut completely loose from his life. While the sex between them is pretty hot and they are definitely compatible in bed, it’s not going to be enough to sustain them. There are several important secondary characters in the story. David’s ex Caleb obviously is integral to the plot, as are Michael and Nunzio, who are trying to prod Ray into thinking about his future job and career prospects. David and Ray’s friends get some great scenes, but the real kicker is a visit from David’s parents. They were very funny (his mom in particular) and since both Ray’s parents aren’t around anymore, it was sweet to see David’s mom take a liking to Ray and try to bring him into the family fold. The city of New York is also a prominent character all on its own. The area that the guys live in feels very realistic and the street scenes and general setting descriptions make for an interesting background. The story is told from both points of view which I always appreciate. The conflict in the story is well told and comes to a head with a confrontation that will make or break Ray and David as a couple. Luckily for us, we get our happy ending in a very satisfactory way. 4.5 stars for this highly entertaining read. I’m definitely looking forward to the next in the series!
V-Rundell More than 1 year ago
4.5 Stars This is the second book in a series, and is probably best enjoyed when read in order. Raymond Rodriguez is a 26 y/o Puerto Rican man in Queens just holding on to life. He's the youngest of two boys, and his elder brother Michael is a semi-closeted gay man. Michael wants to live with his best-friend/lover Nunzio, but he can't make rent on the apartment and pay his half of the mortgage on their late-mother's home. So, Michael tells Ray he needs to move out so they can clean up the house and rent it. Ray's always been shiftless. He's an habitual pot smoker, and just got fired from his Longshoreman gig because he didn't show up, or answer calls for work. Mostly because he was high. He's not a bad guy, really, but he comes from a place where no one expects anything, and he didn't expect anything from himself. He's a man-child, and Michael's tired of floating him along. Adrift, Ray can't deal, but his close friendship with David--a teacher in Michael's school who's become a confidant--gives him some hope. See, David's a sweet guy, small, and twinkish, and out and friendly. David has an idea: they should live together. Ray's not opposed. He's had bicurious feelings for a while, and he likes how David looks at him, how David cares for him. Ray's comforted by David's enthusiasm, and his nearness--they often cuddle, even if it's all platonic. But, that's not all either man really wants it to be. David has had a not-so-secret crush on Ray from the start, and their moving in together brings all of this to a boil. Still, it's not easy. Because David's fell for straight boys before, and gotten burned. What if he loses his heart to Ray, who decides he's done experimenting after a few go-arounds? David has an on-again-off-again thing with Caleb, a rich white slightly-older man, but it's not fitting him at all. While they look great on paper, there's no chemistry, and Caleb's sexual appetite isn't in the same hemisphere as David's. Caleb's moving on David, and being kinda wrong to Ray--in his own house no less, but what David and Ray had started is too tenuous for either of them to really commit to. It's a real rush to see the levels of their jealousy, as each tries to figure out what to do, and whom to do it with. Add to this mess Ray's insecurity. He's an uneducated, barely-scratching-by Puerto Rican. He did find a job, but he hates it, and doesn't know how to move into a career. David's this shiny teacher with a good degree and loads of potential. His wealthy boyfriend is always sniffing around, and Ray's sure David will move on when he's done slumming. Ray's brother and Nunzio stick their noses in, pretty much warning Ray not to get involved with David--they have their own complicated history which involves a drunken one-nighter and awkward work history. There's a lot of confusion, and hurt feelings as these two knock around trying to make it happen. I had read FIRST AND FIRST already, so I already knew how things were bad between David and Caleb, and why they really weren't a good fit for each other. Life for Ray and David is nothing but complicated. Ray is surly and a serious introvert, he struggles with authority, after having an abusive drunk for an absentee father. This is a big clash from David, who's very outgoing, a little snarky, but a fixer. Ray struggles with David discussing their personal life with his friends, and really doesn't like to examine himself, or deal with David's examination. HFN/HEA ending.
BookWorm221 More than 1 year ago
Towards the end of Sutphin Boulevard when these two characters appeared together I was like, please please please let this be real!!! And then I went to goodreads and YES! It was real!!! I loved the opposites attract kind of feel to this story, once more we have two characters that Santino writes so perfectly, their story is every bit as complicated as the story in the last book but in this one I just found myself swooning a lot more and I can’t believe it myself because we are talking about Raymond here! Who would have thought that he had so much love and so many wonderful words inside of him? Going in I was expecting David to be the one completely devoted to start something so I was pleasantly surprised when the tables turned. The book is hot, dramatic, real and raw. I can’t wait for more.
2kasmom More than 1 year ago
This is book # 2 in the Five Boroughs series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading the series in order. Raymond and David became unlikely friends, since they have very little in common. David works with Raymond's brother as a teacher. Raymond is lucky to hold a job at all. Still, Raymond likes having David around. David is hoping to find someone who puts him first. His friendship with Raymond is unusual given the circumstances, and he finds himself strongly attracted. Can they be more and still stay friends? This was a great installment to the series. We got to see our favorite characters. Has spectacular banter, heat, and realism. I loved reading about them falling.
toniFMAMTC More than 1 year ago
I am crazy over Raymond. I love his straight up way of speaking and behaving. He’s just him. I’m also really surprised by the change in my feelings for David. I wasn’t thrilled about him at all before, but he became pretty likeable. Witnessing the transformations is wonderful, and the sexy scenes are off the charts.
CrystalMarie218 More than 1 year ago
Santino Hassell’s Sunset Park tells the story of two men who overcome their cultural and personality differences to pursue a relationship. The fact that it’s a friends-to-lovers story makes their attraction more believable – if only slightly. The author captured Raymond’s slacker “voice” very well. Between the pot and the short term employment, I had to wonder what David saw in him, especially in the beginning. David’s ambition stood in stark contrast to Raymond’s inertia. Yes, Raymond eventually made improvements, but not until circumstances forced him to. As much as I didn’t like Raymond, David’s personality drew me in. I found him to be an all around good guy. Unfortunately, for Raymond that meant I thought he could do better than his unmotivated slacker friend. Hassell’s realistic writing style captured both men exactly as they were intended. My dislike of Raymond drove my two star rating. The character ruined the book for me, but I’m sure other readers will feel differently. Reviewed by Liz Cat for Crystal’s Many Reviewers *Copy provided for review*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read.