Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.
Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.
When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.
Top ten places you’d find Ashton and Val of Concourse
Running. Both characters love to hit the road when they’re stressed or need to clear their minds. Considering both of their stress levels at times, this happens a lot. Val in particular gets antsy if he can’t go for a long run.
Cadet’s Boxing Gym. Valdrin has been going to Cadet’s since he was a kid, learning to box with his long-time trainer. He was seen as a prodigy even if everyone thinks his heart isn’t in it.
Footlocker or Foot Action. Valdrin might be a bit of a sneaker head. Just maybe.
Valdrin doesn’t eat out much, but his favorite thing to do is visit the food trucks in SoHo or Union Square.
Fordham University in the Bronx. Valdrin’s younger sister goes there, and he checks in a lot.
SoHo. This part of Manhattan is the best place for paps to stake out and look for Ashton. He’s almost always seen down there shopping with his close friends Mere and Charles.
Ladurée. If he’s not in Paris, Ashton can now get some of his favorite pastries in New York.
Sunshine Cinema. Both Val and Ashton love frequenting this theater for indie movies. They came together a lot as teenagers.
Central Park. They used to “explore” it as kids, or whenever Ashton was overwhelmed with his parents and needed to get out. Good memories of their earliest bonding moments!
At each other’s homes. Although, maybe they’ll eventually live together…
About the Five Boroughs Universe
New York City—home of soaring skyscrapers, concrete boulevards, and the hopes and dreams of millions. A city where opposites attract and romance is found in unlikely places. From the glittering penthouses of Manhattan to the blue collar neighborhoods of Queens, values get tested, cultures clash, and connections made. Men of diverse backgrounds examine their lives, test their sexual boundaries, and seek success in an unforgiving urban landscape that moves fast and stops for no one. Despite the odds, there’s love to be found in the five boroughs as long as they’re willing to work for it.
About Santino Hassell
Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twentysomething, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.
Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of LGBT fiction 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.
Connect with Santino:
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I like how this series embraces the diversity of New York. It has those coming from poor and rich backgrounds, the ones that don’t have to work and the ones struggling with several jobs, entrepreneurs, teachers, dock workers, philanthropists and so on. The main couples have been a mix of ethnicities also. In Concourse, Valdrin is from Albanian descent and working multiple jobs to stay afloat. Ashton is from old money and became famous for a bit of ‘acting out’ and social media.
Honestly, I do not like reality tv or the rich and famous celebrity gossip type stuff. I don’t keep up with them in real life and usually don’t like to read books with these types of characters. Because of how I am, it seems certain that I would not like Ashton, but I adored him. The author does an excellent job of showing how human he is. He’s not just the diva he shows his fans. I’ve always had a thing for book boyfriends who are fighters, boxers or MMA so my love of Valdrin isn’t a surprise. These guys are just perfect compliments to each other. They are almost opposites in many areas but similar in heart.
I completely fell into the life these guys were leading and couldn’t put the book down. I love when I have a reading experience like that. Concourse is sweet, sexy, romantic and entertaining. I recommend it for sure.