Audiobooks are not new but we’ve seen a kick in interest over the past couple of years and, yes, I was one of those who found myself interested. In my head, as I read, characters take on life with personalities of their own, inflections that are their own. But to hear someone else’s take on those characters, the stories, the inflections… that’s something altogether different and fun.
Here are some of my favorite audiobooks with some of my favorite narrators:
Love Lessons by Heidi Cullinan
Narrated by Iggy Toma
Love doesn’t come with a syllabus. Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus. Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.
Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible – except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view. As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class – and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.
Warning: This story contains lingering glances, milder than usual sexual content for this author, and a steamy dance-floor kiss. Story has no dairy or egg content, but may contain almonds.
This was my first foray into audio, and I have to tell you I fell for this narrator immediately. I’m so head over heels that I begged to have him read Prickly Business. So for me, the combination of storyteller and storyline is pertinent and this combination of Iggy Toma and Heidi Cullinan is fabulous! Everything about this story (especially Kelly and his Disney obsession) speaks to me. Add in Toma’s fantastic voices and pacing and this story (as well as the entire series) is a winner.
Shock & Awe by Abigail Roux
Narrated by Brock Thompson
After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet – after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.
Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part…or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address. Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other – friends and brothers in arms or something even deeper – before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.
For those of you (like me) who love Roux’s Cut & Run series as well as the Sidewinders series, let me introduce you to the audiobooks that give life to your favorite characters in a new way. While I love absolutely every book in both series, Shock & Awe holds a different place in my heart because it’s romance to the core. Don’t get me wrong, I love the adventure and mystery of this world, but to watch Kelly and Nick fall in love within the confines of one setting without crazy killers on the loose is special to me. In combination with this narrator, this audiobook is a definite winner.
Knight by Kristen Ashley
Narrated by Savannah Richards
Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams. Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be, and she meets Knight. Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants, and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone. Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves, with white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal, and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her. He can’t fight it anymore and decides that someone will be him. Knight teaches Anya that just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her. But Knight has a dark past, and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears that when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal, and clean.
For those of you who don’t know, sometimes I read m/f (and listen to it). I’m head over heels for everything Kristen Ashley, as in totally obsessed. So when I happened upon Knight in audio, I grabbed it. I knew I already loved the story because I’ve read it before, but this is the first audiobook I’ve listened to with a female narrator, and I absolutely adore Savannah Richards’s tone and intonation. She’s engaging and fun to listen to. Since I’ve listened to this book, I’ve bought like four more of her narrations based solely on the fact that Richards is the narrator.
Murder & Mayhem by Rhys Ford
Narrated by Greg Tremblay
Former cat burglar Rook Stevens stole many a priceless thing in the past, but he’s never been accused of taking a life – until now. It was one thing to find a former associate inside Potter’s Field, his pop culture memorabilia shop, but quite another to stumble across her dead body.
Detective Dante Montoya thought he’d never see Rook Stevens again – not after his former partner falsified evidence to entrap the jewelry thief and Stevens walked off scot-free. So when he tackled a fleeing murder suspect, Dante was shocked to discover the blood-covered man was none other than the thief he’d fought to put in prison and who still makes his blood sing.
Rook is determined to shake loose the murder charge against him, even if it means putting distance between him and the rugged Cuban-Mexican detective who brought him down. If one dead con artist wasn’t bad enough, others soon follow, and as the bodies pile up around Rook’s feet, he’s forced to reach out to the last man he’d expect to believe in his innocence – and the only man who’s ever gotten under Rook’s skin.
Is there any reason to not listen to the Rhys Ford/Greg Tremblay partnership? The simple answer to that is no. Not only is this story fantastic in all aspects, but Tremblay gives it a new life. I love Rook and Dante and now I love their voices.
Alpha Trine by Lexi Ander
Narrated by Michael Stellman
The sole survivor on a science vessel adrift in deep space, Zeus was adopted by the Emperor and Empress of the Mar’Sani, though he is both human and blind, and seen by most as unfit to join the royal family. Though they were able to repair his vision, Zeus does not trust his eyes and the nobles of his parents’ court refuse to ever trust a frail human.
Dargon Kal-Turak, along with his symbiote and lover Alpha, command one of the most dangerous ships in the stars. Narrowly escaping a trap, they dock in a space port to make repairs, but find that the Psonics hunting them are closing in fast. In desperation they kidnap the port master mechanic, unaware that the man they’ve brought on board is more than he seems, and will bring far more upheaval to their ship, their lives, and the stars than any of them could have imagined.
I have literally read every version of this book, from its inception as a prompt story to its lengthier, more involved and adventurous story. I absolutely adore Zeus, Dargon, and Alpha. I was sure that nothing could make this story even better. I was wrong, because this narrator transforms an already amazing story into something perfect. Also, when you get this book you’re gonna want to pick up Striker, the second book in this story… ditto on everything I’ve said about book one for book two.
Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh
Narrated by Justine O. Keef
Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad-boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin and a touch that could become an addiction.
Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox but her heart….
Another of my m/f weaknesses is anything Nalini Singh. Her Rock series is an autobuy for me. So when I saw this in audio, I had to have. So I had. And I loved. Molly and Zachary are hot as it is. Given life by Keef, they are scorching. This book by itself is beyond fantastic. In audio, it’s better than.
Hell & Highwater by Charlie Cochet
Narrated by Mark Westfield
When homicide detective Dexter J. Daley’s testimony helps send his partner away for murder, the consequences – and the media frenzy – aren’t far behind. He soon finds himself sans boyfriend, sans friends, and, after an unpleasant encounter in a parking garage after the trial, he’s lucky he doesn’t find himself sans teeth. Dex fears he’ll get transferred from the Human Police Force’s Sixth Precinct, or worse, get dismissed. Instead, his adoptive father – a sergeant at the Therian-Human Intelligence Recon Defense Squadron otherwise known as the THIRDS – pulls a few strings, and Dex gets recruited as a Defense Agent.
Dex is determined to get his life back on track and eager to get started in his new job. But his first meeting with Team Leader Sloane Brodie, who also happens to be his new jaguar Therian partner, turns disastrous. When the team is called to investigate the murders of three HumaniTherian activists, it soon becomes clear to Dex that getting his partner and the rest of the tightknit team to accept him will be a lot harder than catching the killer – and every bit as dangerous.
My love of Dex and Sloane knows no bounds. And to hear the story,
Hot Head by Damon Suede
Narrated by Charlie David
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…. Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish. Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do…until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there – together. Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?
Takeover by Anna Zabo
Narrated by Iggy Toma
Michael Sebastian thought that Curacao would be the perfect place to have a little fun in the sun – and between the sheets. So far no one has struck his interest – until Sam Anderson walks into the bar. With one look at his tense body and expensive suit, Michael knows that this is a man in need of release. And Michael is more than willing to lend a hand.
Shattered by the most intense sex he’s ever had, Sam has to face the facts – one night with a handsome, dominating stranger is all he gets before returning to the closet he’s been suffocating in for years. But when Sam starts his new job as the CEO of a failing technology company, he discovers that Michael is one of his new employees.
While Michael is desperate for another night with Sam, he knows he shouldn’t get involved with his boss, let alone another man who can’t accept who he is. But as they’re forced to work together to save the company, the desire sparking between them becomes impossible to ignore.
Perfect Imperfections by Cardeno C.
Narrated by Charlie David
Hollywood royalty Jeremy Jameson has lived a sheltered life with music as his sole focus and only friend. Before embarking on another international concert tour, he wanders into a bar in what he considers the middle-of-nowhere and meets a man who wins him over with his friendly smile and easy-going nature. Accountant, bartender, and adventure-seeker Reg Moore has fun talking and drinking with “The” Jeremy Jameson and can’t say no when the supposedly straight rock star makes him a once-in-a-lifetime offer: keep him company on his tour by playing the part of his boyfriend.
Listening to music, traveling the world, and jumping off cliffs is fun. Falling in love is even better. But to stay with Jeremy after the stage lights dim, Reg will need to help him realize there’s nothing to pretend about their relationship.
Rough Justice by Sarah Castille
Narrated by Chandra Skyye
Raised in a motorcycle gang, tough and beautiful Arianne Wilder has always dreamed of a normal life. But no sooner does she escape her father’s domineering grasp than she wakes up to find herself in a rival gang’s clubhouse–at the mercy of the dangerously sexy Jagger Knight. The alpha leader of the notorious Sinner’s Tribe, Jagger Knight is all muscle, all biker, and all man. But somewhere inside this hard, tattooed outlaw, Arianne senses a kindred spirit–and she can’t ignore their tempestuous attraction.
Can she beat him at his own game in a revved-up blaze of glory? Or will their passion spark a war that’s the end of the road for them both?