Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars
Narrator: Piers Ryman
Length: 7 hours, 38 minutes
Sebastian Saunders is an uptown boy with an attitude. He drinks, he smokes, he curses, and he fucks whomever he wants, whenever he wants, so long as it isn’t Stephen — his ex and a prick who works for Seb’s father. He doesn’t give two shits about anything but his band and sticking it to his father, until he meets Jay. Jay Ruttman is a good boy from East London who doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, wakes up early to go running, and isn’t out of the closet. He can’t be out, not if he wants to be a professional footballer.
Sebastian has a chip on his shoulder larger than one of the rocks of Stonhenge. He and his father are forever at each other’s throats — or, at least, Seb is always at his father, snarling, insulting, ignoring, and provoking — over breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Half of the men Seb fucks are just because it annoys his father; the other half he fucks to forget Stephen and their unfortunate relationship. Stephen used Seb, both for sex, and to get a little extra influence in the business by having both the boss and the boss’ son on his side; easy enough when Seb was just of age, feeling ill-used by his father and more than half drunk.
Underneath the sneers, the insults, and the cocksure attitude, Seb is as hurt and lonely as he is angry. His mother chose to leave him when she left his father; everyone always takes someone else’s side, and at the end of the school year he’ll be sent to New York — away from his band, his only friends — to work for his father. It’s not something he wants to do, but if he wants his trust fund, the money that lets him take care of his bandmates and pay for demo tapes, instruments, and equipment, he’ll do it.
Jay was on the road to success, signed with a good team and a good school until he got into a fight with a teammate that left him kicked out and furious with himself. The fight hadn’t been just a boys will be boys tussle; another player roughed up a boy for being gay, a boy Jay had kissed, had made friends with, might have been a boyfriend too … but Jay couldn’t come out and speak up for his actions, didn’t dare explain the whys or wherefores, and instead, took the expulsion from his academy and enrolled in a different school.
Jay knows he’s gay, but he knows that being gay — being open about it — risks his career. It risks all the work he’s put into his sport. That doesn’t stop him from wanting Seb, from kissing him, from asking him to come over one night so he can find out what being with another boy is like … unfortunately for Jay, Seb is just as addictive as caffeine or alcohol and he can’t get the other man out his mind. And doesn’t want to.
I was lucky enough to review the written version of this work, and when I saw that there was an audio version, I leapt on it, and I’m glad I did. Narrated by Piers Ryman, the audio book version give me what I can’t give myself, and that’s an English accent. However, being an uncultured American, I can’t tell if Seb’s accent is more upper class than Jay’s, but I imagine it is. Ryman has a warm, easy delivery and, for the most part, I very much enjoyed his narration, except where it came to the American accent. That one didn’t work for me. It sounded like a robo-caller, very flat, with no inflection or personality to it.
Other than that, this book entertained me as much as it did the first time I read it. Stephen is still a creepy stalker, Seb is still a self-centered jerk, Jay is still selfish and stubborn, and I can’t wait for the second book to come out in audio format.