Guest Post and Giveaway: Citywide by Santino Hassell

Today I am so pleased to welcome Santino Hassell to Joyfully Jay. Santino has come to talk to us about his latest release, Citywide. He has brought along an original short story to share with us, plus a great giveaway!  Please join me in giving him a big welcome!

Citywide Tour Banner

 

The Rodriguez Wedding
Timeline: During the Interborough epilogue
Tonya + Meredith

Meredith was looking at me again.

We were across the dining room from each other, her with her squad and me with mine, but those big blue eyes bored into me with an intensity that set me on fire. I couldn’t tell if she wanted to fuck me or kill me, and that little bit of ambiguity turned me on. Not knowing what she wanted gave me a jolt of adrenaline I hadn’t expected.

Was she a friend or an enemy? Did she want me to give it to her again, or did I have to watch my back? I couldn’t tell. And the fact that a tall willowy blonde with more money than manners could get my brain working this hard was… interesting.

I drained my beer and tried to focus on the conversation happening at the table, but my gaze inevitably skipped back to her. Goddamn, she was sexy. Her brother, I thought the dude chatting with David and Raymond was her brother, looked like a banker but she was… something else. Dark red lace that barely hit her upper thigh with a peekaboo pattern that showed a lot of skin, a neckline that rivaled Steph’s, and black high heeled boots with chains and spikes adorning them that made her legs look even longer.

It was hard not to remember the QFindr photo shoot, of shoving Meredith onto the dressing table with those long legs open and thighs spread as I slid my hand up the dress they’d put her in. The sound of her voice, sensual and breathy before getting wild and loud, and shocked-sounding. Like she hadn’t expected me to make her come that hard. But I had, and she’d collapsed into a pile of trembling limbs right before I’d sucked her taste off my fingers and walked out without a backwards glance.

I snuck a glance, saw those eyes narrow and plush red lips purse, and decided she wanted to kill me.

“Why don’t you just go over there?”

My gaze swiveled from Meredith to Stephanie, who was clearly in competition for sexiest outfit in the room. But that was Stephanie, and she was my girl, so even though I could appreciate her tiny sailor dress, my body didn’t react the same. Shame. It would have been easy to want her rather than someone who was giving me come-fuck-me-so-I-can-stab-you eyes.

“What?”

Stephanie made a face. “You and Mere have been eyefucking each other for this entire wedding.”

“Nah, we haven’t. I just noticed her.”

Stephanie gave me a dirty look. “Who are you lying to?”

“No one apparently.” I leaned back in the silver chair, letting my legs sprawl open, and cringed. I wasn’t used to suits or stiff starched fabric or being this… styled. I missed my sweatpants and basketball shorts. “She keeps staring at me. It’s starting to get on my nerves.”

“So go talk to her.”

“Why would I want to talk to someone who’s getting on my nerves?”

“She’s only getting on your nerves because she clearly wants you to bang her again, and you don’t want to admit that you’re into the idea.”

I picked up my bottle of beer again, remembered it was empty, and set it down with a scowl. The guys had all split at some point while I’d been gazing at Meredith, but Angel had left his beer behind. I snagged it.

“Who says I’m into it?”

“Tonya, if you don’t stop playing with me…”

“I’m serious, though. You’re assuming just ‘cause it was good for her it was good for me. I mean, yeah, she looks hot and all but she’s not my type.”

“Okay, so who is your type?”

I drank some of Angel’s warm beer, looking around the broad room before spotting a familiar face. Crystal Rosario of the wild black curls, smooth sepia skin, low voice and thick booty. I hadn’t seen her in almost two years, and she was fine as usual.

“Crystal’s looking pretty good today. I’d say she’s more my type than blondie over there. And, considering Crystal’s ranting defense of Raymond on Facebook after people from the block tried to drag him after he came out, I know she’s queer friendly. What do you think?”

Stephanie rolled her eyes and sat back in her chair, arms crossed over her chest. There was irritation in her face that was a little more dramatic than expected for my evasion.

“What?” I asked, laughing. “I’m joking so you can fix your face.”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“You didn’t have to.”

She looked away, and I sought out Crystal in the crowd again. She was talking to someone, smiling and looking thrilled to be here, and I couldn’t figure out what she’d done to piss Stephanie off already. They’d never gotten along, but they usually both chalked it up to a low-key dislike simmering since high school.

The mystery faded once the crowd shifted, and I saw that Crystal was talking to Angel. He was leaning against the wall, kinda slouched and hot looking in his suit, and smiling lazily as she spoke to him. They were standing close together, probably more because of the noise than anything else, but after a beat he released a loud laugh. A loud uncharacteristic laugh. Angel was usually on the stoic side.

“They’re just talking, mami.”

“I don’t give a damn.”

The throb of emotion in her voice made it quite clear that she did indeed give a damn. Her long fingers had curled into white knuckled fists, and as I watched she swallowed hard.

“Hey,” I said, leaning closer. “What’d he do?”

Stephanie scoffed and glanced at him again. There was a hardness to her lovely face that I’d never seen before. Usually Stephanie was unflappable. Steady. Quick to joke or smile. “He didn’t do anything. This is all me.” When I stared at her, puzzled, she shook her head. “Nothing. It’s cool. I’m gonna go find a bathroom.”

Before I could stop her, she was up and striding across the dining room to get to the exit in her high heels and tiny dress. She had a way of walking that could capture the attention of just about everyone in the room, but now it looked like she was running away.

Anger stirred inside me slow at first and then building into a rush of heat that sent me up from my seat and striding towards Angel. I tried to keep my cool until my anger would make a difference in a situation, but seeing Stephanie upset hit my most overprotective buttons.

“Hey,” I said, stepping up to he and Crystal.

“Tonya!” Crystal threw her arms around me and yanked me in for a giant hug. “God bless your parents, for real. You look like sex in a suit.”

I wanted to grin as she got all playfully handsy, winking and leering like a joker, but I just kept mean mugging Angel.

“What?” he asked finally.

“You talk to Steph?”

Angel said nothing, but his eyes rose to sweep the room for our friend.

Crystal sobered a bit at that and drew away, seeming to sense drama. “Hey, I’m gonna go meet Raymond’s boyfriend.”

She was walking away before I could say goodbye, but I told myself I’d catch up with her later. She’d all but dropped off social media in the past several months, and I was curious what she was getting up to in Staten Island with her cop.

“Where is Steph?” Angel asked, deep voice low and serious. “She was just here.”

“Keeping an eye on her?”

He glanced down at me, lips pressed into a slash. If there was any of my friends who could rival Raymond’s stone face, it was Angel. He was one mean looking fuck for being so mellow once you got to know him.

“I always keep an eye on her.”

“So, you saw her about to cry just now?”

Angel stood up straight. “What? Why?”

“Come on, man.”

He looked so genuinely puzzled that I knew for certain that I only had one half of the story. Some of my anger fizzled, and I shoved his shoulder.

“Just go talk to her. I don’t know what’s going on with you two, but it’s getting to her. All right?”

He looked on the verge of protesting, but nodded. “Yeah, aiight. Thanks, T.”

I didn’t usually make it a habit of getting in the middle of my friends’ drama, but seeing him hurry out of the room made me feel better. ‘Cause it meant he cared. It’d be even better if they both stopped playing games, but given my romantic track record… I wasn’t the one to judge.

I glanced over at Mere again. She was passing a flask back and forth with her famous-for-being-rich friend Ashton Townsend, and they were giggling like kids. There was nothing wrong with what they were doing, but watching them press their faces together for a glamorous selfie just made it clear that we weren’t in the same lane, and she wasn’t my style.

Even if she did kiss like a goddamn wet dream.

Christ.

Where was Raymond? He’d validate my decision, and right now I needed someone to talk me out of making a mistake.

To read all of the shorts on the CITYWIDE tour, visit the blog tour page throughout the tour, or click on the “Extras” tab on the CITYWIDE page.

And to read the follow-up novella where Tonya and Meredith get their happily ever after, order CITYWIDE now!


Blurb

CitywideA record-breaking heat wave engulfs the Five Boroughs, and emotions run as hot as the temperatures.

In Rerouted, Chris Mendez is trying to live a drama-free life. That doesn’t include another threesome with Jace and Aiden Fairbairn. But then a citywide blackout leaves them trapped together, and Chris is forced to re-examine everything he thought he knew about relationships and his own heart.

In Gridlocked, former Marine Tonya Maldonado is keeping real estate heiress Meredith Stone on permanent ignore. Mere isn’t Tonya’s type. Not even close. Who cares if she kisses like a dream and has the filthiest mouth this side of the East River? But then a security detail at a summer party ends with her saving Mere’s life and discovering they have more chemistry than she’d ever imagined.

In Derailed, Stephanie Quinones escapes the heat and her complicated love life by going on a company retreat. Trouble is, it’s a couples’ retreat, and she lied about having a boyfriend. Unfortunately, the only person willing to play pretend is her on-again/off-again fling, Angel León. They’re currently “off again,” but after a week in the woods, Stephanie realizes she wouldn’t mind them being permanently on.


Bio

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Connect with Santino:


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Citywide, one lucky winner will receive a $10 Riptide gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 18, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

  • By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
  • Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win.  The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
  • If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
  • Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
  • Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
  • All book prizes are in electronic format unless otherwise specified.
  • By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
  • Readers may only enter once for each contest.  Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
  • Void where prohibited by law.

Comments

  1. Congratulations, Santino, on the release of Citywide and best wishes with your next writing project. Thanks for the short story and the chance to win.

  2. I like the excerpt!

    vitajex(At)Aol(Dot)com

  3. Congrats on the new release in the series. Thank you for the excerpt.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

  4. Thanks for the excerpt!
    jlshannon74 at gmail.com

  5. Loved these stories!

  6. Congrats on the new book! Thank you for the excerpt.
    jczlapin@gmail.com

  7. Paul Wilgus says:

    Congrats on the book and thanks for the excerpt. the book sounds great.
    heath0043 at gmail dot com

  8. Love this excerpt and I’m loving Citywide ???

    My email address is nicole.kristen@gmail.com

  9. love the cover
    congrats on series
    enjoy your talent
    fidesfox@gmail

  10. Reading Citywide right now. Loving these stories so much. :)
    lkbherring64(at)gmail(dot)com

  11. Congratulations on the release, Santion. I love your books
    susanaperez7140(at)gmail(dot)com

  12. I’m reading this now and enjoying it.
    kimandpete123 at gmail dot com

  13. I love this crew of yours… Tugs on my heart every time!

  14. Purple Reader says:

    Congrats, Santino, and thanks for the short. This sounds like an interesting addition to a series I’ve truly enjoyed. I like how the title plays off how this crosses over the boroughs and characters introduced previously. – Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  15. This is a great series. Congratulations on the new release.

  16. This is a great series. I can’t wait for Chris to get his! Congratulations on the new release. Moondrawn (at) gmail (dot) com

  17. Thanks for the short!
    legacylandlisa at gmail dot com

  18. Congrats on the release of Citywide yet another fabulous book in the Five Boroughs series. I absolutely LOVED it. Everything about it, really.

  19. Santino, your mind is a beautiful thing!  I love this new release already.

    dfair1951@gmail.com

Leave a Comment

*

%d bloggers like this: