Reviewed by Morgan
Title: A Shot at Forgiveness
Author: Cardeno C.
Narrator: Robert M. Clark
Heroes: Rafi Steiner/Isaac Jones
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 1 Hour, 38 Minutes
Publisher: The Romance Authors
Release Date: July 6, 2016
Available at: Amazon, Audible and iTunes
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Sometimes to find love, you must first learn forgiveness.
A dozen years, 2,000 miles, and a law degree after high school, Rafi Steiner continues to harbor resentment toward Isaac Jones, his childhood bully turned NBA star. When Isaac appears at Rafi’s favorite restaurant acting like a long-lost friend, Rafi bluntly dismisses him.
But Isaac is tenacious and he has his heart set on the grown-up version of the boy he always wanted and never forgot. The way Isaac sees it, he and Rafi are perfect for each other, if only he could sink the most important shot of his life: his one shot at forgiveness.
Review – Book: This is a super short story in which two child-hood “enemies” are reunited. Rafi was the bullied nerd and Isaac was the bullying jock. Rafi is now a lawyer and Isaac is an NBA star.
12 years after high school, they’ve never formally met since, Isaac begins to “stalk” Rafi and then they begin a relationship, despite Isaac’s career.
Wow. I am so on the fence for this.
When I originally read this story -over two years ago- I gave it 4 stars. It’s meant to be a cute, sexy short story – certainly not an exposition on racism or bullying or professional athletes coming out or anything political. So, if I accept that as truth, then I can just enjoy the fantasy that gets played out here – it’s pretty hot. Isaac is the stereotypically well-hung 6’7” basketball player and Rafi is a petite twink type who really enjoys getting pounded. So the smexy times were pretty hot.
But… it wasn’t until I listened to this – which made me pay way more attention than when I read it – that I realized how “unhealthy” this read. The narrator, whether on purpose or not, helped to put me in the scene. He made Rafi’s voice almost lispy and nerd like and Isaac sounded the part. The imagery I was left with: a skinny young thing being tormented by the big guy on campus and feeling so horrible he had to face therapists for years – his own words. So when Isaac shows up, I was psyched , because there’s nothing like making a big guy grovel – but… the grovelling never came. In fact, Rafi was meant to look at his high school experiences and see a troubled basketball player, not a bully. Hmmm. That didn’t set well with me.
Then there was the fact that Rafi takes a shower after having evicted Isaac, and when he gets out of the shower Isaac, has “just used his code” to get in. That felt really unsafe and stalkery and not at all sexy. Sure, he was cute and bought Rafi dinner, but … yeah. I didn’t like it much.
So… that was both very dissatisfying and troubling as far as my ability to relate to this story. I know it’s a short story, and I LOVE Cardeno C.’s work, but I never felt that connection to Rafi or Isaac that I wanted to. Instead, I was a bit angry at Isaac (and then Rafi by connection) for not properly apologizing, for being a LOT creepy and stalkery, and for Rafi for having no backbone. To me, Rafi felt bulldozed into this relationship and it didn’t set well with me upon listening.
Review – Audio: As for the audio – the narrator did a terrific job becoming the characters. He was really funny – Rafi’s internal dialog is hysterical and Robert has impeccable timing. I really enjoyed his narration, and like I said, it really brought to light things I hadn’t thought about before, possibly due to his excellent narration.
(A final nit pick – I liked the original cover better – the two guys look sweet, like they’re almost embracing, while this new cover looks like the guy just has an extra arm! And I didn’t figure out the towel thing til I really looked closely at the picture. )
So… to rate this:
Impression – Book/Story: It was good
Impression – Audio: It was amazing
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*