ONE CALL AWAY
RELEASE DATE: April 28, 2017
AUDIO RELEASE: August 31, 2017
NARRATOR: Seth Clayton
When a brutal attack from a jealous competitor leaves Noah Strauss, darling of the modeling world, physically scarred and emotionally damaged, he quits the runway to become a psychologist. Using his contacts from his time in the spotlight, he creates One Call Away, a radio show dedicated to gay men looking for love, advice or someone to talk to. But with secrets of his own and a mother who refuses to understand the career path he's chosen, the one person Noah can't seem to help is himself.
On a drunken dare from the senior partner's grandson, Oren Leavitt calls Noah’s radio show, pretending to be gay. Only Oren isn't certain if he's pretending. He's left his strict Orthodox Jewish upbringing behind, but the guilt remains. Guilt that his actions have prevented his sister from finding a husband and guilt that he's failed his parents. Talking to "Dr. Noah" helps, and as he finds himself calling the man again and again, he knows he must be honest. But Oren is unsure if he's lying to Noah or himself.
For Noah, trust is paramount; he's been deceived in his personal and professional life and while he desperately wants to help Oren, he also finds himself falling for the sweet and tortured man. Oren is trapped: he risks losing his job and more importantly the love and security of his family but knows he can't hide if if wants to be with Noah. When unresolved heartaches from the past rise up to control the present, Noah and Oren discover that love often comes from the most unexpected places, and sometimes a call for help not only saves a life, it can be a new and beautiful beginning.
Stunned at his bitter outburst, Oren smiled faintly at Noah. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to let it out on you.”
“I’m glad you did.” A twinkle lit Noah’s eyes. “Sounds like something you’ve been holding back for a while now.” He sobered up. “I’m sorry you have to go through that. Isn’t there another place you can work where you’ll feel safe?”
“I’m sure if they are as bigoted as they sound against people of color and other religions, they are also intolerant of gays.”
Not in a million years would Oren ever speak of his sexuality to Harlan or Toby. Even the fact that Harlan had spoken to Noah freaked him out a bit.
“It isn’t something I plan to discuss with them. It’s none of their business.” Agitated, Oren turned away from Noah and fumbled in the drawer for a corkscrew. With quick, angry turns, he opened the wine.
“It was only a thought. I’m not saying you should.” Noah’s soothing voice steadied the rapid thump of Oren’s heart. “What was his name again, the guy I spoke to on the phone?”
“Harlan.” The sound of that name sent a sinking feeling into the pit of Oren’s stomach. “He’s not only in charge of my group; he’s the great-grandson of one of the firm’s founders and can do whatever he wants. And he does.”
“See, that’s what I thought. His voice…it sounded cunning. Like he was trying to figure something out and use it against you. I got worried and thought of how upset you might be. I’m so sorry you have to put up with someone like him. You deserve so much better.” Noah’s eyes searched his, and Oren couldn’t break away from the pull of their blue depths.
An unfamiliar ache of longing built up inside him, painful yet sweet. A need to touch and be touched with meaning. He found himself drawn to Noah, much more so than to any person he’d ever met. Was it wrong of him to want Noah? He considered him his doctor, his therapist. Most importantly, Noah was his friend. In these past few weeks something between them changed, and Oren found himself thinking of Noah as a man and not merely a risk. And staring into Noah’s eyes, Oren knew that wanting Noah might be worth the risk he was finally willing to take.
A bit angsty, a bit sweet, a bit hot, and with the always superior writing and storytelling I’ve come to expect from Felice Stevens…that’s what you’ll find when you open up One Call Away. Oh, and let’s not forget Oren and Noah, the two amazing main characters with whom I completely fell in love.
Noah is an incredibly kind and giving man, always wanting to help others but still hiding away on the personal side thanks to a horrible attack he endured years ago. He now needs to relearn how to love and accept himself as he is now so he can truly move on with his life. Oren grew up in a very strict Orthodox Jewish household, but just couldn’t continue that level of religiosity for his entire life. He loves his family and is always concerned he’s going to let them down because he left home and didn’t want to continue to live such a devoted religious life. The moment his boss eggs him on to call in to Noah’s radio show as a joke is the moment that Oren truly starts a new journey of self discovery.
Noah and Oren’s relationship develops slowly and naturally, with both men helping each other on their individual journeys. There’s a lot of emotion on both sides, and it intensifies everything between them…and when they finally get to the point where they give themselves to each other totally, it’s powerful and passionate—not to mention sensual and scorching hot!
The angst and drama is present on several fronts, from Oren not being out to anyone to his uncomfortable and actually downright hostile work environment to the strain of him coming out to his family, then also Noah’s pain over his scars to his resentment of his mother’s attitude toward his prior modeling career and his last lover’s betrayal. All of this plus Noah and Oren’s blossoming relationship—which is sweet and tender yet oh-so-hot—means that emotions are running high for the majority of the story, which had me not wanting to put this book down for any reason.
One Call Away was a fantastic story and gets 5 stars from me. I highly recommend this to any M/M romance fan, though readers should be 18+ for the adult language and explicit M/M sexual content.
The narration: This is the first time I've listened to Seth Clayton narrating a book. His voice is soothing and he did a good job at giving the characters individual voices. There were some times though, his narration was a bit halting, so that it wasn't always smooth. For me, the calmness of his voice made up for this quirk in the narration. Overall, the narration gets 4 stars from me, and I'd get more audiobooks in the future with Seth Clayton as the narrator.
About the Author
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.
But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.