Audiobook Review: High Test by Elizabeth Noble

The coffee is rich. Hayden isn't. But Neal doesn't need to know that—yet.

Hayden Owens is just your typical graduate student working his way through school as a barista for the Owens Coffee Company—no relation. But he keeps the “no relation” part to himself when he meets dashing architect, Neal Kirchner, a successful older man from an old-money family. Hayden doesn’t exactly lie, but he figures it can’t hurt for Neal to believe he’s a rich kid. After all, Hayden doesn’t want Neal thinking he’s a gold digger.

The closer they become, the harder it gets for Hayden to come clean. Something always seems to get in the way. When a company bankruptcy and a jilted, vindictive woman threaten to expose his charade, Hayden thinks it’s all gone down the drain. Luckily Neal is ready with some innocent trickery of his own.

Listening Length: 5 hours and 12 minutes
Narrator: Colin Darcy

4 Dreamspun Desires Hearts!

Overall, in the grand scheme of things this was a very strong 3.5 Stars, but within this particular formulaic DSP series as a whole, it was a 4 star win!

As per the blurb, Neal assumes Hayden is part of a wealthy family instead of the struggling grad student he is while at a fundraiser Hayden’s college is putting on to ask for donations from various affluent patrons and alumni. In turn, though he’s utterly charmed by the dashing Neal, Hayden doesn’t really think anything will come of their meet cute, mainly because they’re so different in both age and social status. However, a few days later Neal shows up unexpectedly at the coffee shop Hayden works at, and these two continue to hit it off while Hayden fails to set the man straight about who he really is. Bolstered by his friends’ urging to keep the charade alive until he and Neal can get to know each other better, Hayden soon finds himself a tad in too deep as it becomes almost farcical at how many times he’s thwarted by chance to come clean with the truth. It’s not really lying if it’s just omissions of the facts, right????

Tomato to-mah-to. Potato po-tah-to.

Where this story excels at are the MC’s. Hayden’s got a shy endearing thing going on behind some nerdy glasses and a kind heart. Neal is unpretentious, caring, and only wants to take the time to really get to know Hayden to make sure they’re compatible. I liked the dynamic between these two, and I appreciated the slow burn. This wasn’t hurt at all by the excellent narration by Colin Darcy. I’m only disappointed that this is the only work he’s done so far, as Darcy’s performance was smooth smooth smooth bringing these two to life by playing up their interactions that were sweet, heart warming, and very nicely sexy.

Obviously for me, this was definitely one the more enjoyable Dreamspun Desires books that I’ve come across so far. Granted, I had to remind myself that this was supposed to be a bit over the top, and I was reassured by the guaranteed minimal angst despite a dash of melodrama thrown in for good measure. I recalibrated my expectations, and this went down oh so easily!

Thank you to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review.

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