Author: Santino Hassell
Publication Date: March 13, 2017
Page Length: 331 pages
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Growing up the outcast in an infamous family of psychics, Nate Black never learned how to control his empath abilities. Then after five years without contact, his estranged twin turns up dead in New York City. The claim of suicide doesn’t ring true, especially when a mysterious vision tells Nate it was murder. Now his long-hated gift is his only tool to investigate.
Hitching from his tiny Texas town, Nate is picked up by Trent, a gorgeous engineer who thrives on sarcasm and skepticism. The heat that sparks between them is instant and intense, and Nate ends up trusting Trent with his secrets—something he’s never done before. But once they arrive in the city, the secrets multiply when Nate discovers an underground supernatural community, more missing psychics, and frightening information about his own talent.
Nate is left questioning his connection with Trent. Are their feelings real, or are they being propelled by abilities Nate didn’t realize he had? His fear of his power grows, but Nate must overcome it to find his brother’s killer and trust himself with Trent’s heart.
For anyone who liked reading Stygian, Santino is back with a paranormal book that is addicting to read from start to finish! Nate Black is a distinct relative to Jeremy from Stygian and the paranormal situations spiral from there. Nate is born into a family of psychics in a small Texas town. After his twin brother, Theo, is pronounced dead after being estranged from the family for almost five years, Nate doesn’t believe the cause of death is suicide. Nate has a vision of Theo’s last moments that point makes his death seem more like a murder. In an attempt to escape his aunt and uncle and to solve his brother’s mysterious death, Nate hitches a ride to New York City with a gorgeous engineer, Trent, he’s bumped into several times around town.
Nate knew he was being dramatic, but it was hard not to be when his days were as rote as a kindergartener practicing penmanship. He did the same things all the time, and he did them alone. No friends, no lovers, no men who were interested in him besides the guys he sometimes chatted with online and chickedn out of meeting in person.
Nate doesn’t have much going for him at Brookside, Texas. He’s a cashier at a liquor store, his car was recently stolen, and he’s living in a town filled with kids who bullied him when he was in school for being in a wacky family of psychics and for being gay. After a falling out of sorts with his aunt and uncle, not that they were ever really close, and without any sort of plan, he decides to hitchhike to NYC. Nate is an empath, but he’s always been seen as the weak one in the family. Nate’s abilities only seem good to detect the feelings of others, which makes it difficult for him to be in relationships, or even being able to hook-up with other guys. It’s made him a bit of a loner who has difficulty speaking with others, but all of that changes when he meets Trent. Trent exudes nothing but confidence and a calm, positive energy whenever Nate is around. The feeling between them is intensified by Nate’s own empath abilities and the strangers soon become much more to each other than they thought possible.
We see the story solely from Nate’s POV, which makes the story even more intriguing because we never really know what Trent’s story is. Or maybe this book just made me super paranoid, even with the love interest. Nate’s family is filled with secrets, from his mother’s alleged suicide to his aunt’s protective hold over the family. When Nate makes it to NYC and meets the people in Theo’s life, he gets introduced to the Community. The “Community” is a community of psychics. It seems like they mean well by bringing other new psychics into the fold, but there’s an underlying feeling of unrest when you read about them. Everyone feels like a suspect and it’s difficult knowing who Nate can trust and who is telling him the truth. He gets visions when he’s drifting off or when he sleeps, but he has no idea who or what’s causing them. They’re all visions related to Theo, but the visions only come to him in pieces.
“It’s a very simple code we live by – we never turn our backs on the Community, and we never betray the Community. He [Theo] did both. In spades.”
I absolutely love Nate. He would rather keep to himself, read, and not have to make small talk with others, but he has a smart mouth that just kills me. Sometimes he just can’t keep his mouth shut when he feels riled up, and it’s a nice moment of levity, and horror I think, to see him go off on characters who may or may not be Theo’s killer.
“Things have been weird since my brother turned up dead. You’re going to have to excuse my lack of compassion for your anxiety.”
Trent is more of a mystery to me because we only ever see him from Nate’s POV. He just seems so perfect. I mean, Nate and Trent are hot together, and the story does end in a happy way for the two of them, but I can’t help but want to think there’s something more to Trent than what we’re seeing. Nate and Trent have some steamy scenes togther, but the crime-solver in me actually just wanted to go back to the story of finding out who Theo’s killer was. The romance is great since this is a romance novel, I guess, but I loved the mystery in this story more. I don’t think it’s too difficult to deduce some parts of the story, while still being shocked by other revelations.
This story is a little different for anyone who’s used to reading Santino’s Five Boroughs series and his co-written Cyberlove series, but I found that I really enjoyed reading this paranormal subgenre. Insight feels like a HFN ending for the romance part of it, but the story itself feels much more like a cliffhanger. I’m dying to know what happens next, and wouldn’t have entirely minded a sequel with Nate and Trent as the main characters again, but it looks like we’re getting a different couple for book two! I loved this book and the stroud of mystery will keep you awake at night until you finish the story. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!
***Thanks to Riptide Publishing for providing me an ARC through NetGalley***