Book Reviews

His Uptown Guy by Felice Stevens

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 07-March-2019

Book Blurb

When Jesse Grace-Martin loses his father on 9/11, his charmed life is gone forever. People look menacing, and the streets no longer seem safe. After experiencing a brutal mugging, Jesse retreats to his apartment in the landmark Dakota building. Five years later, his first attempt to walk outside those famous gates again is a disaster—except for meeting the gorgeous maintenance worker who helps him through his crushing panic attack. Jesse can’t stop thinking about the guy but hesitates to reach out, knowing he has little to offer.

Dashamir Sadiko has big dreams. Money in the bank tops his list, and his glimpse into the life of the uber-wealthy at his job at the Dakota is all the incentive he needs. Struggling to work full-time and go to college, Dash desperately wants to break the cycle of poverty his parents had hoped to leave behind in Albania. When the two men become friends, Dash isn’t sure what to expect but can’t help his growing attraction to sweet and sexy Jesse. It’s nice to see how the other side lives, but his affections can’t be bought; Dash wants to be his own man.

Defying the Dakota’s co-op rules, the two share lunches, their hopes and dreams, and ultimately their hearts. Jesse slowly regains his courage, but he’s worried he’ll never be the person he once was and that he’s not good enough for Dash. And Dash isn’t convinced the son of poor immigrants has a place at the table with a blue-blood, trust-fund man. Jesse needs to realize that money can’t buy happiness and love, while Dash must learn to trust that what they have is real, that he’s more than Jesse’s walk on the wild side with an uptown guy.


Book Review

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu

Agoraphobia is a crippling disease. Not only is it inconvenient but it devastates a person’s self-esteem. No matter how accomplished one may be otherwise, there is always a feeling of worthlessness that comes with not being able to overcome, what they know, at least intellectually, are unfounded fears. Jesse Grace-Martin, of ‘His Uptown Guy’ by Felice Stevens, is plagued by anxiety which began after his father died on 9-11. His life has gone downhill from there and it was exacerbated by a vicious attack that left him almost catatonic with fear. Jesse has withdrawn from the world; he has not left his “gilded cage” for five years. With the help of a caring, efficient personal assistant, Jesse has managed as well as he has been able to. Lately, he’s been missing a lot of things he used to experience and he wants to do more. What Jesse needs is more motivation and, perhaps, it may come in the form of Dash, the handsome porter who works in his apartment building.

During Jesse’s first attempt to leave his apartment, he manages to get as far as the lobby where he is seized by a horrible anxiety attack. Like a knight in shining armor, Dash Sadiko swoops in and offers his assistance. Safely, Dash helps Jesse get back to his apartment. Dash is both curious and intrigued. He can’t get Jesse off his mind. When Dash tries to inquire about Jesse, he gets some sketchy, disparaging replies. Dash senses that there is more to Jesse’s story than anyone is aware of.

Jesse is both embarrassed and intrigued by the handsome porter, but quickly dismisses the feeling. He berates himself for appearing weak and so desperately needing his help for something most people do without a thought. Eventually, Jesse is won over by Dash’s handsome looks and kindness and he wants to see more of him, if only as friend, but that proves to be more difficult than it would seem. Like Jesse, Dash wants to be with Jesse, but wonders what an uptown guy would want with a poor, uneducated immigrant from Albania.

From the beginning, Jesse and Dash know they are breaking the rules; Dash’s job specifically forbids fraternization with hotel residents. Yet they become close, they help each other with their fears and insecurities. They slowly become lovers, both with the sense that any relationship between them will be serious. Soon, their relation reaches the point that they want to be together all the time. Things seem to be going so well until management gets wind of their association and Dash is fired. He tells Jesse, who is righteously indignant and threatens to go to the manager and complain, but Dash will not let him. His heart is breaking, but he feels the best thing he can do is to end things with Jesse and let him move on.

Those who haven’t struggled with mental illness, may wonder why Jesse couldn’t just “do it” – leave the house and join the world, but they can’t know what a terrifying proposition that is. I have a daughter who is agoraphobic. Walking down to her mailbox is a major accomplishment, filled with trepidation, feeling like she is in mortal danger. She hates the way she feels, but like Jesse, there’s little she can do about it, except hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Thanks, Felice, for shining light on this debilitating illness by sharing Jesse’s struggles, along with providing hope and a happy ending for two very special men.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 300 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 21-January-2019
Price $3.99 ebook, $12.99 paperback
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