4 stars 4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary DA Exploration Football Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Little to no angst m/m Mary D May/December May/December Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Older MCs Part of a Series Purchased second chance at love Virgin Widower

Author Spotlight: Cardeno C Jesse’s Diner Audibook (Hope Book 2) Narrated by Paul Morey

Audible link


Two men with a shared history and a mutual attraction must be honest with themselves and each other so both their dreams come true.

Quiet, unassuming Tanner Sellers spends his time running a diner in Hope, Arizona. Not particularly social, twenty-two-year-old Tanner keeps to himself and enjoys his simple life, but he longs for someone to call his own. In his most secret fantasy, that someone is sexy Steve Faus. But Steve is his friend’s father and mentor’s widower and therefore off-limits.

Despite some challenges, thirty-nine-year-old Steve Faus has had a good life. He’s extremely successful at work, has a great relationship with his college-age son, and lives in a wonderful town. Eighteen months after losing his partner, the one thing Steve lacks is someone to share his life. If Steve is honest with himself, that someone is the young man he has known and cared about for years. Steve and Tanner want one another, all they need is a little push in the right direction to make both their dreams come true.


Review by Mary


Cardeno C always gives us the perfect comfort reads and listening to the audiobook is being wrapped in a warm blanket. Paul Morey has such a mellow soothing voice.

This is a lovely heart warming story about love, acceptance and moving on. Jessie is a pivotal character even though he passed away 18 months ago. Jessie left his Diner to Tanner. Steve was Jessie’s partner. Mike is Jessie and Steve’s son and Tanner’s best friend. There is no angst just love and learning to take the next step after losing Jessie.

Mike is away at college and asks Tanner to check on his Dad Steve. Tanner is so sweet and innocent he doesn’t realise when Steve starts flirting with him. Steve is very gentle with Tanner and when they get together it is steamy.

Paul Morey’s narration is excellent. He captures Steve’s maturity, Tanner’s honesty so well. I loved Steve’s accent. Mike, the carefree college boy, is portrayed realistically without going too far.


This is a lovely short relaxing book to listen to.


3.5 of 5 stars




Review by Morgan

Though this isn’t a short story, it reads like one, so I want to be careful not to give away too many secrets, because there are a few surprises in this.

You might think this is a simple story of May/December love, or a second chance at love romance, or a jock meets nerd (Steve was a football player and Tanner is very reserved and slight physically). But… it’s none of those and all of those and more! There’s a deeper layer to this story. There are things in Steve’s past that have shaped who he is and his relationship with Jesse is more complex than you’d guess.

Cardeno always does a great job of writing these “clueless” guys and then showing them the light.   I didn’t get as good a read on Steve, but he’s definitely the more social and outgoing of the pair. I liked watching him “show” Tanner about love and relationships, Steve was sweet, sexy and funny, too.

There were parts of this story that didn’t work for me as well. I wanted more about Steve’s past and his relationship with Jesse. It felt incomplete somehow.  I get that he and Jesse’s relationship was very different from his and Tanner’s, but I wanted to know a bit more about it and maybe get a bit more closure.

I also think that the “heavy” issue needed a bit more discussion. I think it’s a pretty big deal and it felt a little too casual for me in this instance.

I really wanted the “reveal” about Steve asking Tanner out on an official date to be more of an “a-ha!” moment. It lacked that POW! – where Tanner realizes he’s going to FINALLY get his dream man. 

That being said, it’s still a Cardeno C book, so it was still wonderful. I loved the premise and the characters and felt happy at the end for both of them, but I just wanted a little bit… more, I guess.

I think fans of the author and the series will love it and it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.

4 of 5 stars


Paul Morey is a fantastic narrator. He gives Steve this lovely Southern accent and Tanner a nice “clueless” tonality that really works for this story.

Mike is given this dumb-guy voice and he made me giggle. I think that listening to this was a wonderful way to experience this story and it added to my enjoyment immensely.

Audio 5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


 Morgan - Signature-small


Copy Purchased for Review



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