Zeke Gulden is a ruthless Wall Street exec. His hard-edged, no-nonsense attitude has served him well in the cutthroat business world, but less so in his personal life. When he finds out his ex-boyfriend cheated on him with a coworker, Zeke can't let go until he finds a way to get even. However, his meddlesome father has other ideas. The new hire at the family-owned bagel store is somewhat colorful, but his dad is sure he's the perfect man for Zeke.
Benny Ruggieri is a fiercely proud New Yorker who dreams of making it big as a costume designer in the theater. In the meantime, he's working two part-time jobs in the food biz. When his new boss sets him up with his successful son, Benny has zero expectations. If nothing else, he figures he can entertain himself by making the uptight businessman squirm. Instead, the two become unlikely friends with an inexplicable attraction they can't ignore. Benny might be the one to help Zeke set aside his quest for revenge, if he's willing to let go and forgive what he can't forget and give in to an unexpected kind of romance.
©2016 Lane Hayes (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press
Really enjoyed Zeke and Benny's romantic tale as narrated by Seth Clayton, and 'twu wuv' triumphs in the end but I think you'll find the adjective is self-deprecating NOT self-depreciating ...not sure whether that's a Seth problem, or whoever wrote the script for him to narrate from [I suspect the latter]. Once I would've excused as a mistake, 3 times is not. 4.5 stars from me.
"No great accents, but great story"
Benny is a fabulous 23 year old who works both for his family’s pizza place and at the Gulden family bagel place. In between he sews fabulous costumes and hopes to one day make it big on Broadway doing just that. He agrees to a date with Mr. Gulden’s son to placate the kind gentleman and to yank on Zeke’s chain a bit.
Zeke is the only gay son of Mr. Gulden and he’s never felt close to his dad. All his brothers went in to business with their dad, but Zeke struck out on his own to Wall Street where he’s found fortune but still no luck in the love department.
After recently being dumped spectacularly by his ex, Trevor, Zeke is NOT in the market for a relationship and if he was it would NEVER be with someone so OBVIOUS as Benny. He makes no bones about it and though he offends Benny, he agrees to a date to shut his dad up.
When one “pretend” date, leads to another and another, it becomes clear that Zeke may not exactly be so certain what his “type” really is… Benny isn’t willing to put all his eggs in Zeke’s basket and is hedging his bets as well… But after attending a wedding for Benny’s cousin, things are beginning to look a lot less “pretend” and more “forever after”.
This is an absolute WIN! Just like a Kind of Truth, there is a deeper story than just the love story (though that alone is fabulous!). In this case we get Zeke’s rift with his dad, his loss of his mother and his own inner acceptance of himself.
Benny is more or less a solid, unflappable force, who only brings good things to Zeke’s life and acts as an anchor to help him from going adrift.
The steam is less than I’d expect, but perfect nonetheless. Most of the story is the delicious slow burn and the snarky comments between Zeke and Benny. I’m hoping Carter’s story is next as he seems like a yummy enigma waiting to be explored. (It was!)
I thoroughly enjoyed this and highly recommend it. (I hope that whoever they find to do the audio has a great grasp of Brooklyn accents!)
4.5 of 5 stars
Seth Clayton narrated the first book in this series and he is an excellent narrator. His voice is really smooth and easy to listen to. He has great timing, good pronunciation and does a lot to bring these characters to life.
He subtly differentiates the different characters but doesn’t do any dramatic accents, but he does give each character a unique voice. In this case, I was disappointed. I’d pictured some very strong Brooklyn accents and the story is rife for some stereotypical New Yorkers. He doesn’t do any such thing.
That being what it is, if you don’t have that preconceived notion, I think you’ll enjoy his narration very much. It’s easy to get lost in his story telling and become immersed in the language.
4 of 5 stars
Overall 4.25 of 5 stars
"Worth a credit."
Hayes 'Better than....' series is among my favorites & this series feels much the same. The story is engaging from the start & Clayton has a soothing delivery. Somehow I started with this one, but I'm going right on to 'A Kind of Truth.'
"Good story- Enjoyed the characters"
I don't have experience with this narrator but after about a chapter the story was flowing and I enjoyed it.
I really enjoyed the characters and although it was pretty predictable it was a nice story.
The sex scenes are hot. So many authors tell and don't show and these scenes might be some of the best in the MM genre.
This might not be an all time favorite or one of the books that I will go back to time and time again but it well written, fun, and I plan to read the other books in the series. This is an author I haven't read aka listened to before but I'm interested in other works.
Narration is superbly done! One of the best sweet stories I have heard! I'll listen again.
The narration made this story perfect!! Benny was a really beautiful person. I loved that he was fabulous, colorful, and full of life!
"Sweet and enjoyable"
This was an interesting story by a good author. I liked book 1 better, more involved story about the band, this story was more about the relationship between the two men, more in depth. I look forward to getting book 3 when it comes to audible.
"5 stars = I freaking LOVED this book!!!"
I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.
When I read the blurb for this book, I had no idea who Zeke was. But I knew who Benny was and looked forward to seeing him find his happily ever after. However, as soon as Zeke received Benny’s call regarding his father’s fall at work, I knew exactly who Zeke was – Ezekiel. Gotta love George’s preference of using people’s full names because I didn’t put it together. Once two and two equaled four, I was even more excited because I wanted to know more about Zeke and couldn’t wait to see what dance Hayes had planned for the couple… and I was not disappointed.
Much like Rand and Will were in book one, Zeke and Benny are an unlikely match. Perhaps even more so considering Zeke is Wall Street and Armani, while Benny is fashion and color – quite literally as he regularly sports a bit of bold color in his hair. Zeke is Jewish and Benny is Catholic. About the only thing they have in common is they come from loud, meddlesome families and they each have a connection to Bowery Bagels (Zeke’s dad owns it, Benny works there). Having witnessed first-hand how meddlesome Italian families can be and having heard stories of the same regarding Jewish parents, I can easily see why Zeke and Benny decided to fake date as it was an excellent way to keep the matchmakers at bay. Of course, as the reader, I wasn’t surprised when things began to feel more real. What did surprise me was how well Zeke lied to himself or refused to admit his feelings to himself when it came to Benny. I wasn’t shocked when Zeke basically negotiated a monogamous “fake” relationship with Benny because nothing about Zeke would suggest he’d be willing to share, despite his initial desire to reconcile with his cheating ex. Nope, that was more about “not losing” than anything else, which took me a while to realize because Zeke is just narcissistic enough that I was having a hard time reconciling a narcist wanting someone in his life that didn’t make him the center of their life. Speaking of, I loved that Benny refused to accept anything less than being the center of Zeke’s life once he hit his breaking point. I hate how that scene played out because it was one of those rare times when it really wasn’t what it looked like, but it was what had to happen to make Zeke reevaluate what he wanted out of life and speed up his efforts at making it happen.
Zeke’s family baggage was utterly fascinating. Only knowing the current version of George Gulden we met in A Kind of Truth, it was hard to reconcile the personable shop owner with the homophobic father Zeke grew up with. Granted, George’s response to his son’s coming out was, unfortunately, in line with that of a man his age, religion, and family expectations, so while believable, it was hard to envision George acting the way he did toward Zeke. That his mother was able to make his father see why his actions towards Zeke were wrong, it made her deterioration even harder to read about. Suffice it to say, I was relieved and happy that George and Zeke were finally able to clear the air between them. My only complaint is that I wanted more of Benny. Because A Kind of Romance is Zeke’s tale of finding happiness, the story is told from his point of view and this means we only get Benny when he’s interacting with Zeke and Zeke is paying attention – his tendency to tune people out was annoyingly realistic. I would have loved to have had part of the story told from Benny’s point of view so that we could have gotten to know him better because I adore Benny; but the story wasn’t meant to be told that way, so I got to fall in love with the Benny that Zeke saw. And I must admit, that was a pretty freaking awesome Benny, and that made the journey very enjoyable – even when I was frustrated with Zeke and wanted to give him a good smack on the back of the head. Once again, Seth Clayton did a great job of bringing Hayes’s characters to life and making the audiobook edition of A Kind of Romance very entertaining. I love how Clayton is able to convey the characters’ feelings so fully, leaving me no choice but to connect with them. I thoroughly enjoyed A Kind of Romance and sincerely hope that Clayton and Hayes continue to team up for the next audiobook in the series.
"quality gay romance for once"
This book was such a pleasant surprise I found myself relating to both of the main characters the book was funny and had me laughing out loud at more than one point which for me is quite rare. I really liked the fact both characters were already out of the closet and both characters had flaws. I have not read the first book in the series but because of how much I enjoyed this one I will be going back and listening to it. This is the kind of writing we need more of in LGBT fiction real characters real depth and relatability. The narration was simply fantastic
I am a bagel lover, the grandson of Brooklyn and son of a difficult man. This book caught me coming and going. The characters are believable, the plot plausible and the story enjoyable. Thanks for a great read.
"Emotional and moving story"
A perfect example of opposites attracting, although it’s not an insta-love story. The friendship and affection build slowly, progressing through their dialogue and spending time together.
Benny is a lovely colourful character. He’s adorable, bubbly, and full of fun. And although Zeke calls him “too swishy” and ‘’too gay”, Benny gives as good as he gets. He’s the ideal buffer for Zeke.
And poor Zeke, indeed! He’s coping with the breakup of a cheating relationship, his father’s unforgivable treatment of him when he first came out, and the loss of his mother’s comfort. He finds it difficult to forget and let go of the hurt. No wonder he’d buried himself in his work. Benny soon brings joy to his life, even if Zeke is reluctant to accept this at first. There’s definite character growth for him over the course of the book. He moves on, forgives, and decides what’s important in his life.
The fabulous chemistry soon sparks between the two of them. Zeke falls for Benny almost against his will. From the start, he is proclaiming that Benny was so not his type. And yet gradually, he becomes fond of aspects of Benny’s character, physique, and sense of dress.
“You give yourself away every time you look at him, anyway.”
“How do I look at him, smartass?”
“Like you don’t want to look away.”
As I listened to this very enjoyable story, I did wonder why they didn’t accept they were really boyfriends, but I suppose that wouldn’t have worked for the story. They are pretend boyfriends, yet are possessive and want to be exclusive. They begin the ‘relationship’ to please Zeke’s father, but then didn’t tell him much about their relationship or spend much time with his family. So I didn’t really get that point. I also didn’t understand the way Zeke's father was sure they’d be good together. He seemed to take on the stereotypical role of a Jewish mother, which was surprising considering his past treatment of Zeke. Chapter one irritated me because of this, although he proved to be right in the end. The only point of the father’s accident (that he recovers quickly from) is to bring Zeke and Benny together in the first place as his mystery illness isn’t really mentioned again.
Zeke’s revenge plan is often mentioned, but he never really goes through with it. He just winds up Clay and makes him sweat a bit. Zeke isn’t heartless enough to ruin the guy’s marriage. So a plus point for him. I wondered why Zeke has phone calls with his ex. Because he thinks he's up to something, yet he never twigs what he is up to in the end. Plus I’m not sure why Taylor pursues Zeke when he's the one who had been unfaithful and dipped his wick elsewhere.
I was eagerly awaiting the angst and fall out between Zeke and Benny. When it happened it was a little predictable, but still good. Why he couldn’t tell Benny exactly how he felt, I don’t know, but then we wouldn’t have had the lovely angsty days when they are apart.
These are all nit-picking things. I actually really adored this emotional story. I especially loved the dialogue, the banter, and chemistry between Zeke and Benny and the sizzling hot sex scenes. The scene over the pool table was super steamy! The poignant scenes between Zeke and his mother were beautifully written as was the ‘break-up scene’ and the one with Abe’s concern for his brother. It was also great to see Will and Rand from #1. They're still cute and happy with each other.
This is a well-crafted and moving story. I love Lane’s writing style. It’s ideal for an audiobook—not too much angst, plenty of humour, a sweet romance, and smoking hot loving.
Seth Clayton’s lovely narration is perfect. He has such a happy voice, but is capable of a range of emotions and distinctive character voices. Great job.
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