When a brutal attack from a jealous competitor leaves Noah Strauss, darling of the modeling world, physically scarred and emotionally damaged, he quits the runway to become a psychologist. Using his contacts from his time in the spotlight, he creates One Call Away, a radio show dedicated to gay men looking for love, advice or someone to talk to. But with secrets of his own and a mother who refuses to understand the career path he’s chosen, the one person Noah can’t seem to help is himself.
On a drunken dare from the senior partner’s grandson, Oren Leavitt calls Noah’s radio show, pretending to be gay. Only Oren isn’t certain if he’s pretending. He’s left his strict Orthodox Jewish upbringing behind, but the guilt remains. Guilt that his actions have prevented his sister from finding a husband and guilt that he’s failed his parents. Talking to “Dr. Noah” helps, and as he finds himself calling the man again and again, he knows he must be honest. But Oren is unsure if he’s lying to Noah or himself.
For Noah, trust is paramount; he’s been deceived in his personal and professional life and while he desperately wants to help Oren, he also finds himself falling for the sweet and tortured man. Oren is trapped: he risks losing his job and more importantly the love and security of his family but knows he can’t hide if if wants to be with Noah. When unresolved heartaches from the past rise up to control the present, Noah and Oren discover that love often comes from the most unexpected places, and sometimes a call for help not only saves a life, it can be a new and beautiful beginning.
3.5 stars rounded up.
One Call Away is the story of Noah and Oren, two men from different backgrounds, each with their own baggage and struggles, and how they overcome all the obstacles life throws at them. Neither is really looking for a relationship, each has their own reasons for being alone. Noah is still reeling from a bad breakup and isn’t sure he can trust again. Oren is struggling with reconciling his homosexuality with his strict Orthodox Jewish upbringing. But they discover that facing the world together is better than the loneliness they’ve been living in.
This was a pretty straight-forward book, low angst, just a sweet story of Noah and Oren finding their way to happiness. The characters were great; I was particularly enthralled by Oren and his family. His mother, father and sister were very well-written; his sweet dad stole every scene he was in IMO. Noah’s brother Jeremy was another great side character. He has a side plot going with his own relationship struggles and I found myself just as invested in his love life as Noah and Oren’s. I’d have liked to see him get more page time.
What didn’t quite work as well for me was how OTT some of the side characters/storylines were, as well as the anti-climactic conclusions to certain storylines. There was the opportunity for a lot more angst and heartache. One Call Away deals with a lot of heavy topics, such as religion, assault, bullying and more. The story ends with a pretty HEA bow on top but I felt it just a little lacking… I wish the story had just a bit more grit to it.
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, my characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.