Author: Santino Hassell
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Page Length: 242 pages
Subgenre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal
My Rating: 5 / 5 stars
Spoiler Alert! The following blurb contains spoilers for Insight, book one of The Community.
Holden Payne has it all . . . or so he thinks. As heir to the founder of the Community—an organization that finds, protects, and manages psychics—he’s rich, powerful, and treated like royalty. But after a series of disappearances and murders rock the Community, he’s branded the fall guy for the scandal and saddled with a babysitter.
Sixtus Rossi is a broad-shouldered, tattooed lumbersexual with a man-bun and a steely gaze. He’s also an Invulnerable—supposedly impervious to both psychic abilities and Holden’s charms. It’s a claim Holden takes as a challenge. Especially if sleeping with Six may help him learn whether the Community had more to do with the disappearances than they claimed.
As Holden uncovers the truth, he also finds himself getting in deep with the man sent to watch him. His plan to seduce Six for information leads to a connection so intense that some of Six’s shields come crashing down. And with that comes a frightening realization: Holden has to either stand by the Community that has given him everything, or abandon his old life to protect the people he loves.
Make sure to join all the following tour hosts on Instagram starting Thursday, June 29 for a chance to win a paperback set of INSIGHT and OVERSIGHT!!! Open internationally. Full details can be found on Santino’s website.
I would highly recommend reading Insight first, which I reviewed here, before reading Oversight. The pairings are different for each book, but the plots are definite cliffhangers and the story continues on from book one. These are not standalone novels. That being said, Oversight is full of mystery and the suspense is so intricutly drawn out in this book. This book is sexy and I loved the two leads here, Holden and Sixtus. I loved Nate and Trent from book one (and honestly wouldn’t have minded the entire series focused on them), but Holden and Sixtus are adorable and sexy together even with an intensely dark storyline.
Holden is the son of Richard Payne, one of the the Community’s founders. He’s lived an extremely privileged life and the Community is really everything he’s ever known. Despite his father placing Beck in his club in order to watch him and using it as a hive to spot and lure psychics into the Community, Holden still wants to believe the best of the Community. That they’re helping people. Helping psychics find their way in life. Besides, hadn’t that been the original intent of the Community? But Holden has been blind to what really goes on the Community and who’s really pulling all the strings. Slowly, the truth unravels before his eyes with the help of Sixtus.
“Employer? The Community is my employer. You own this night club, and that’s fine, but I don’t work for you.”
Personally, I love how Sixtus is described in this book – as a bearded, tattooed, hipster virgin lumbersexual who likes tying his hair up in a bun. *ultimate heart-eyes to be honest* Sixtus has been hired by Holden’s father to be security of Holden’s club, and more importantly, to keep an eye on Holden. Six is quiet and comes off to others as lacking empathy. We find out that may this is not the case and it more or less has to do with how he’s been living for the last ten years of his life. Six was charged for crimes before a Community tribunal and has been living on what’s known as the Farm for the past 10 years of his adolescent and adult life. The Farm is all he’s grown up with and we find out that the Farm is not quite the “realignment” place to help psychics as Holden once thought.
The thing was, their relationship wasn’t out of the ordinary for the Community. As a whole, it valued ties to the organization more than the biological family.
In Insight, the Community has been described as a cult. I’m fascinated with cults in general (don’t ask, I don’t really know why) and I’m finding the Community has so many similarities to Scientology. It’s terrifying to visualize while I’m reading this book because this is so similar to a very real cult who is doing all these things (albeit without the psychic bit). So, that just adds another layer to a book where the tone gets darker and creepier as the story progresses.
The story is told solely from Holden’s POV, so it creates a mysterious atmosphere around Six, known to the psychics as an invulnerable. Holden has grown dependent on using his powers to grasp the feelings of those around him and when he meets Six, it throws him off by not being able to tell what Six might be feeling. There’s a slight feeling of enemies-to-lovers situation here and I loved reading Holden and Six’s back-and-forth banter.
There’s less paranoia reading this book, because we do get a better sense of who the “good” guys are and who isn’t. I initially wasn’t a fan of Holden in Insight, but coming to know who he is and knowing that he’s only ever wanted to do right by the psychics who wind up in The Community? I know Holden has his heart in the right place, however naive he is to his father’s dealings.
Without the invisible antenna of his gift picking up signals from everything around them, every touch was intensified in a way Holden had never experienced. He felt anchored to the world. To Six.
I loved Holden and I absolutely loved Six. The romance is hot and sexy. Holden is totally out of his element not knowing how to read Six with his sixth sense (forever questioning if the point of Sixtus’ name was for the sole purpose of making this joke now)…so he has to rely on his other senses to know what Six wants. Although he’s been living out on the Farm for the past ten years, Six knows what he wants with Holden and their scenes together range from scorchingly hot to tender and intimate.
He didn’t want to end this kiss. He wanted Six to keep exploring the inside of his mouth with a delightfully frantic lack of finesse, and he wanted a genuine fucking smile once they were done.
The plot is intricate and intense. It’s a thriller wrapped in a paranormal romance. My reactions to this book is basically the screaming emoji as I got closer to the end and it was impossible to put this book down once I started reading it.
We get to see some returning characters from Insight and I loved everyone’s interactions with one another. The story does end in a cliffhanger (as far as the plot goes, not the relationship) and book three, Sightlines, will be focused on another couple. Although, I’m not entirely sure if the book will focus from one character’s perspective or from alternating perspectives since we’ve met both characters by now. October can’t come soon enough to find out how this series ends!!
***Thanks to Judith at Binge On Books/A Novel Takes PR for the ARC as part of a blog and bookstagram book tour***
Six was sitting behind the desk, once again clad in a skintight polo buttoned up all the way but this time paired with cargo pants. As he sat on the edge of the chair with his thighs spread, Holden was waiting for all those muscles to burst the seams.
“Why do you dress like an extra from Jersey Shore?”
“I’d have to pop my collar for that.” He only paused in his typing when a surprised laugh fell from Holden’s mouth. Raising an eyebrow at me, Six said, “Was I not supposed to get the reference?”
“Well, you’re a cyborg so I didn’t think you would.”
Six turned in the chair so he was facing Holden. He had on his default neutral face, but a slight twitch of his brow and lip betrayed possible amusement at the comment. Was there some getting through to him after all, or were they destined to stare at each other in mutual blankness to see who could emote the least for the next… however long he’d be here as Holden’s handler?
“Not having an empathy chip doesn’t make me a cyborg. There are plenty of ways to figure someone out without feeling any of their vibes.”
Holden crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the wall next to the desk. “As someone who was born with an empathy chip with elephantiasis, color me skeptical.”
Six mirrored his post, crossing his arms and leaning back in the chair with his thighs spread. The view of thick thighs and a good sized bulge were a temptation Holden didn’t try to resist. He glanced down twice before managing to hold Six’s steady gaze.
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into an unlikely romance author.
Santino writes queer romance that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.