Book Spotlight: Interborough by Santino Hassell
(Five Boroughs #4)
by Santino Hassell
Release Date: October 24, 2016
The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.
David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.
The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.
An Excerpt from Interborough
I’d been waiting to watch the UFC featherweight championship for weeks, but now my attention was fixed only on David instead of the fight. His hair shone gold in the sunshine streaming through the window, a halo above his big round eyes, upturned nose, and intensely fuckable mouth.
Who had given him a popsicle? What were these people trying to do to me?
I blamed Stephanie. My Queens crew of longtime friends had finally managed to shit-talk me into driving over from Brooklyn for their Saturday night UFC ritual. In the past, we’d done it at the old Rodriguez house, but after the death of my mom, and after Michael and I had opted to rent it rather than live in it, they’d changed the location to Stephanie’s apartment, the next largest space.
Which meant she was definitely the popsicle culprit. As if I needed another reason to perv on my boyfriend’s full pouty lips. Even after dating for almost a year and a half, I was still caught on a regular basis by how gorgeous he was.
“How long are the preliminary fights?” David asked. “I’m only here to see Nate Diaz.”
“Prelims are like two hours,” Sharky said, nodding at the huge television screen. “But the fights have been good so far.”
“It’s hard to care when I don’t know any of these guys.” David licked the tip of the popsicle. “I’m terrible about sports stuff.”
“Don’t you watch with Ray?”
“Um. We used to sometimes, but now he’s never home.” David’s eyes flicked to me guiltily, as if he was admitting a dark secret instead of making a factual statement. One of his eyebrows rose, and I knew he had realized I was in lust mode—staring him down and biting my lower lip. Mad obvious.
“Oh ho!” Chris appeared in the archway leading from the kitchen with a spatula in his hand. “So, Ray hasn’t just been too busy for his old friends? I figured he thought he was too good for us now that he’s Mr. Joe College with two jobs!”
“I am,” I said without looking away from David’s growing smirk. “I’m so good that I’m working a dead-end office job, right before jetting off to my community college evening classes with a bunch of eighteen-year-olds, before going to sweat it out on the docks all night.”
“Ain’t nothing wrong with community college, bruh.” Chris swung the spatula and sent droplets of grease flying. “I did it.”
Stephanie sat up from where she was curled on the couch next to Sharky. “Ay, puñeta! If you got oil on my couch, I swear—”
“Then make your own pastelillos, asshole!” Despite the defiant words, Chris ducked back into the kitchen. Tonya’s laugh rang out even though I couldn’t see her. They’d taken over dinner duty since Sharky and I would just order a billion wings and pizza if it were up to us. They’d all mutually refused to allow David to help since he was a guest.
“You guys are all so cute.” David resumed licking his popsicle without looking away from me. “It’s obvious you’ve been friends forever.”
“Mm-hmm.” Stephanie curled into Sharky’s side again. He seemed to be pretending she wasn’t cuddling him, and was staring intently at the TV. “Aren’t you glad you used Raymond to get in with us?”
“So glad. That plan was genius.”
“I know, right?” She grinned at him. “Maybe if you guys come over more, we’ll make you a probationary member of our squad. I’ll have to think of some hazing rituals first. Handball tournaments until dawn and chancletas with socks in public.”
Sharky scoffed, and David burst out laughing.
With them joking, it was easy to tell myself that I should refocus on the fight and stop fantasizing about what I’d do to David later, but it was hard. He was right. I was barely around these days, which meant our quality time was down to a minimum. Part of the reason why I said no to constant invitations to see my Queens crew was because I tried to savor every moment I had with David, especially because those moments were few and far between.
It sucked just as hard as David as he worked that popsicle. Due to the triple whammy of my office job at Lexus Language Services, evening classes in the maritime technology program at Kingsborough, and my longshoreman gig on the docks in Red Hook (my one true love), I was working almost eighteen hours a day most days, and running between multiple boroughs on others. In a perfect world, I’d bump LLS off my schedule and work the docks in the mornings so I could go to school in the afternoon and spend every evening with David, but it wasn’t working out that way. It always seemed like something came up.
First, I’d planned to stay at LLS only until the semester started at Kingsborough, but then I’d gotten a new car with monthly payments of about five hundred bucks. It’d been my one reward to myself after making so many changes, even though the combined cost of it and my tuition at Kingsborough meant I had to stay at LLS for the extra cash flow. But even though I’d almost saved enough for the rest of my tuition, I’d yet to quit because I fucking knew as soon as I dropped the additional income, there would be some kind of emergency requiring cash.
David didn’t get it because he was used to shit going right in his world. I knew better. So, we’d compromised on me quitting LLS after our spring break vacation in April—a cruise sponsored by his ex-boyfriend’s social media startup. The amount of strings I’d pulled to get the time off at both LLS and on the docks had been impressive, and I didn’t even give a damn about an island destination. I just wanted to be with David every day, all day for a week straight. That was my idea of a break from reality.
Speaking of . . .
David had finished the popsicle and was now dragging the flat of his tongue along the stick. There was no way this was a coincidence. My knee bounced as my dick throbbed. An array of dirty images passed before my eyes. He glanced at me again, grinning wider, and eased off the couch.
“I’m gonna go make a phone call.”
“Let it wait,” Sharky complained. “You’re gonna miss everything.”
“Can’t. It’s my landlord.” David glanced at me. His brow quirked again. “Steph, can I go in your bedroom? It’s too loud in here.”
She nodded. David glanced at me again, and then he disappeared down the hallway. I waited for only a few seconds before getting to my feet. Stephanie smirked without looking away from the screen, but no one commented as I left the living room.
My pulse was racing by the time I got to her bedroom, where I found David sitting on the edge of the bed with his phone tossed carelessly beside him. Lust exploded inside of me like an atom bomb.
I shut the door and walked over to him. “Tease.”
“I wasn’t at first,” he said. “Not until you started staring at me like you wanted to eat me.”
“I do want to eat you.”
“And your dick was hard,” David pointed out. “I don’t know how no one noticed.”
“Because it wasn’t that obvious.”
“Oh please, Ray. When you wear sweatpants, everyone can see that anaconda.”
“You’re so stupid,” I said, laughing.
“That’s partially why you love me. Admit it.”
“Oh, I admit it.” I stood in front of him so my crotch was level with his face. “Among other reasons.”
David rubbed his face along the bulge in my pants. “What are the reasons? Good answers get you shiny rewards.”
“You’ll know when you get them.”
“Mmm.” He traced the outline of my dick with his lips, and my breath caught. “Because you do all of those squat challenges to keep your ass round and tight.”
My response prompted David to tug the waistband of my sweats down. My dick was doing its best to escape the tight confines of my boxer briefs. As eager as I was to be in his mouth, I loved the anticipation when he made me wait. And I knew he loved it when I was close to begging for his touch.
“And you ask for my opinions on your tenure binder when you’re stressed even though you know I’m useless at reading student data. But I like that even my worthless opinions can reassure you.”
David had started mouthing me damply through the thin cotton layer of my underwear, but he huffed out a laugh. I slid my fingers into his hair, lightly gripping.
“And you send me all of those group project memes when I’m in that shitty English class they’re forcing me to take.”
The band of my underwear inched down.
“Also, the way you automatically press against me every night when I finally get home from work. Like you’ve been waiting for me even though you’re already asleep.”
David looked up at me from beneath his long lashes. “I’m always waiting for you. And when you fall asleep on the couch, I keep waiting.”
I bopped him on the head. “Shut up. You’re ruining my game.”
“Your game is ridic adorable. I was just going to tease you, but now I really want to suck your dick.”
“Don’t let me stop you.”
“We can’t! We’re in Stephanie’s room!”
“And your point being . . .?”
“That’s not—” David gestured vaguely, eyes dropping to my dick again. In the other room, voices raised in shouts of excitement as the television boomed. “That’s not . . . the, uh, impression I want to make on your friends.”
“That’s cute, baby. But Stephanie basically just gave me a nonverbal directive to wreck your ass.”
About Santino Hassell
Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.
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 LGBT 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.
Connect with Santino
To celebrate the release of Interborough, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 29, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!
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