By Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell
My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don't believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can't handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.
Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.
But we still hate each other. I think.
another little taste...
He tasted like alcohol, pop rocks, and bad decisions.
There was a part of me, a large part, that wanted him to f*ck me until I sobbed. Trouble was… I absolutely despised him. And I'd hate myself after.
Beau's roughness with his blatant need combined into a call I couldn't help but answer
"He f*cked me so good I almost forgot I hated him"
“Look, if I go clean up are you going to run out the door?
“Would it bother you if I did?”
Beau frowned. “If I say yes, is it guaranteed you’ll do it just to bother me?” My mouth twitched. He rocked against me. “I’m serious.”
“Fine.” I sighed exaggeratedly, like he was really hassling me. “I’ll stay for a few.”
“Good.” Beau stood up, and I was suddenly eye level with his taut, sculpted stomach. “There’s another bathroom in my bedroom. And…you can grab some shorts from the chest if you don’t want to sit around naked.”
I almost asked him what the hell we were going to be sitting around doing, but kept my mouth shut. He went to the bathroom between the living room and kitchen, and I explored the rest of his apartment while slathered in jizz. It was almost as nice as mine, but nowhere near as artsy. My grandmother had helped me furnish it after shopping at thrift stores and refinishing furniture, but Beau’s apartment was kind of like a showroom. Eerily perfect.
Either way, his bathroom was on point with the lighting and shower, so I jumped in quickly after tying my hair in a knot. I rinsed off, wrapped myself in a super-plush towel, and then snagged a pair of cut off shorts and a T-shirt that had his f*cking face on it, which was too funny to not wear.
I waltzed out in my new outfit and found him on the phone with…a menu in his hand. Freezing, I fucked up my entrance and gaped when he waved it in my face.
“Do you like Mediterranean food?”
Beau looked at me like I was an idiot. “Zane. Tell me what you want to eat.”
“Oh. Um. I don’t know. I don’t not like any foods.”
He rolled his eyes and rattled off enough food to feed an entire family. When it was done, and he told them to charge his account, he pointed at the shirt I’d procured.
“Just so you know, I didn’t have that made.”
“Uh-huh. But before I mock you relentlessly, why are you ordering food? Like, just because you’re trying to make up for being a d*ck doesn’t mean—”
Beau grabbed the front of the shirt and a ripping sound filled the room. He didn’t even pause. Just jerked me against him and kissed me so hard I lost my train of thought. F*ck, I lost my sense of self. Fell headfirst into the intensity of his kiss and then wrapped my arms around his neck because… I really could not get enough.
His soft lips were perfect, his tongue lashing at mine with such finesse my d*ck started to swell again. Especially when he tangled his hand in my hair and tugged just hard enough to make my knees weaken.
“F*ck me before the food gets here,” I blurted.
Beau pressed our foreheads together, panting against my face. “We just washed up. And I want to talk to you.”
“We can talk later.” F*ck, was I whining? I was whining. “Please, Beau?”
He squeezed his eyes shut, muttered a very clear f*ck it, and then backed me into his bedroom. We were on his bed, clothes discarded, so fast my head was spinning with delight. How Beau Starr was the best kisser I’d ever been with was a mystery, but, damn, the guy’s tongue was magic.
Now this? This is the ideal example of an M/M enemies to lovers story done right. Not just right, but spectacularly well. Since this is one of my favorite tropes, I devoured this story in a single sitting. From characters with depth to smooth, well-flowing writing (especially appreciated with two authors), Mature Content is a story that had me fully invested in Beau and Zane’s lives and the outcome of their relationship. Their chemistry together is not only scorching physically, but also present on the emotional side so that their pairing feels like one that is meant to be.
Beau and Zane are opposites in many ways—Beau the clean cut, positive message sending, drama-avoiding consummate professional while Zane’s the wild, off-the-cuff, in your face “this is my life LIVE” guy. But while Zane may be loud and brash, once things get physical roles get reversed…and my oh my that’s some pretty hot stuff. As in “be prepared to be as breathless as the characters” hot (let me also mention here there’s some lighter BDSM aspects which only serve to drive up the heat factor). And while the two may still clash publicly in the social media and YouTube world, in private they are in sync and fit together like they’re two halves of a whole.
I have no idea if real-life social media/YouTube personalities are like the portrayal here in this story, and really it doesn’t matter to me because the situation created here comes across as realistic…not to mention intense and eventually quite emotional. There’s drama—some due to elements of Beau’s past, some due to the intentional gossip-mongering in their social media world. There’s a touch of angst—thanks to those elements of Beau’s past coming back into play. But front and center is hate…that turns to heat…back to hate…to tolerate…to outright passion…to like…to…well, you get where that’s going, right? And the journey there isn’t rushed, it comes across as a natural progression that pulled me right along with the characters.
One thing I really enjoyed was the banter between Beau and Zane. Not just the back and forth in their online world where the whole hate aspect was propagated, but also in their text conversations and personal encounters—and I don’t just mean the physical ones. As the two talk to each other outside of the bedroom, you can see the respect they have for each other and the growth of their relationship beyond their intensely passionate physical compatibility.
Though Mature Content is the fourth book in the Cyberlove series, it can definitely be read as a standalone…but if you’re like me, you’ll be immediately bouncing back to the first three books to devour them as well once you’re done. I’m giving this story 4.5 stars, and a very strong recommendation for the book and series to any M/M romance fan (if you’re an enemies-to-lovers fan you’ll enjoy it even more!). This book is meant strictly for readers 18+ for adult language and explicit M/M sexual content—the kind you break out the fans and ice for…and maybe have a fire extinguisher handy just in case ;-) This one’s definite re-read material!
ABOUT SANTINO HASSELL
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.
ABOUT MEGAN ERICKSON
Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she's been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn't writing, she's either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or... thinking about writing.
For more, visit meganerickson.org