Published by Dreamspinner Press on April 18th 2016
Also by this author: Strong Signal (Cyberlove, #1), Fast Connection (Cyberlove #2), Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs, #1), Sunset Park (Five Boroughs, #2), Interborough (Five Boroughs, #4), Mature Content (Cyberlove, #4)
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Caleb Stone was raised on the Upper East Side, where wealth and lineage reigns, and “alternative lifestyles” are hidden. It took him years to come out to his family, but he’s still stuck in the stranglehold of their expectations. Caleb knows he has to build his confidence and shake things up, but he doesn’t know how… until Oliver Buckley enters the picture.
Oli is everything Caleb isn’t—risk-taking, provocative, and fiercely independent. Disowned by his family, Oli has made his own way in the world and is beholden to no one. After a chance encounter on New Year’s Eve, Caleb is smitten.
As Caleb sheds the insecurities that have held him back for years, he makes bold steps toward changing his career and escaping years of sexual repression. But for Caleb to take full control of his life, he has to be brave enough to confront his feelings and trust Oli with his heart.
At this point in my reviews of books by Santino Hassell, I’m just starting to sound super repetitive. Anyway, First and First is another steamy and entertaining M/M book from one of my favorite authors in this genre. I was honestly worried that Caleb’s story would be boring and frankly rather vanilla, but thankfully Oli’s presence made it anything but that. This was definitely a compelling and fast paced read. With some of the other books in this series, particularly the first book, it was a little on the heavier side so I personally wasn’t able to devour it in one sitting. I didn’t have this problem with First and First in the slightest, instead I read it in only hours. It was just the book that I needed at the time.
From what we learned about Caleb in Sunset Park, he seemed rather boring and predictable. However, I was glad to see that he received his own story because he turned out to be much more entertaining than I was expecting. I wouldn’t say that Caleb is my favorite character in this series, but I definitely admit that I enjoyed him and his growth throughout the book. It was great to see him develop more and more as a person as the book progressed. Yes, he’s a rich and super privileged guy, but I appreciated that his personality as a whole showcased more than just that.
Oli is basically the exact opposite of our boy Caleb. Where Caleb is closed off and seemingly cold, Oli is open and extremely friendly. Where Caleb seems vanilla and boring when it comes to his sex life, Oli is bold and up for anything. They are actually a lot like David and Raymond, they seem completely different on paper, but they somehow make sense. Now back to Oli, he’s such a fun and exciting character. I thought that he was so much fun when we were introduced to him in Sunset Park. Though he seems like this fun guy who doesn’t care about much, we learn that there’s a lot more to him than just that, and I loved that about him.
So I mentioned already that the relationship was far from being a boring one. Oli is a sexually adventurous guy to say the least. He isn’t a fan of monogamy like Caleb is, but there’s still something about Caleb that intrigues them from their first hot encounter on New Year’s Eve. I think that Caleb and Oli made a strange but incredible couple. I was a little uneasy about the fact that Oli basically had to change who he was in order to be with Caleb. I mean, it wasn’t totally who he was, but he’d never been a fan of committing to another person, and he makes this clear to Caleb. Towards the end though, he starts to suddenly change his mind and then everything is all happy. I felt like the happy ending happened too quickly. It’s not realistic that someone would change his ways that quickly, it was all too easy to me.
Despite the very minor issues that I had, this was yet another wonderful book from a fabulous author. Seriously though, there isn’t anything that Santino Hassell writes that I won’t read. Caleb and Oli were two characters that I really enjoyed and was able to relate to on some level. Out of the two, Oli is easily my favorite, he’s so full of life and energy. He was a funny and compelling character to read about. Even though my reviews of these books are starting to sound the same, I still have to say that I strongly recommend reading this one and the whole series.