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  • Realize

  • Men of Hidden Creek Season 4, Book 2)
  • By: Susan Hawke
  • Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
  • Length: 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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Realize

By: Susan Hawke
Narrated by: Nick J. Russo
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Summary

"What we have can’t be faked."

Max Jackson’s life is pretty close to perfect - except that he’s secretly in love with his straight best friend and roommate. He’s got his dream job and a family he secretly pretends are his own. But they aren’t...no matter how much he might wish it were true.

After the tragic death of his wife, Parker Wilson didn’t have time to wallow in grief - not when he had two young children to raise. He’s not looking for romance or a new partner. He doesn’t need one anyway...he has his life-long buddy Max to help him through every struggle.

When Parker loses his job and can’t afford his daughter’s pricey insulin, Max suggests fake marriage for insurance coverage. Since he’s already a second parent to Parker’s cute kids, it should be easy...until the marriage becomes a little too real.

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be enjoyed on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This audiobook contains dad jokes, a pair of kids that will steal your heart, and more heat than a Texas summer.

©2019 Susan Hawke (P)2019 Susan Hawke

What listeners say about Realize

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Something Special ❤️

Absolutely loved this Parker and Max are simply amazing together from friends to lovers the chemistry between them is very beautiful the fun, banter and teasing is so engaging not forgetting two adorable children.
Nick J Russo is simply brilliant bringing all of them to life it's outstanding can't recommend enough. ❤️

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Listener received this title free

I loved loved loved this book!

So sweet and gooey and fluffy and all-around feel-good!
I love books with kids and Cindy and Teddy are just the perfect munchkins.
Also, I loved how strong Parker is, despite all the crap that's been thrown his way in his life! And Max? Just an amazing overgrown child with his rhymes and his general sillyness that make him the perfect balance for Parker's overthinking tendencies.
Nick J Russo is killing it with this new Men of Hidden Creek series!

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as great as the ebook

The story is always full stars, because if I wouldn't like the story as ebook, I wouldn't listen to the audiobook. I can't listen to an audiobook without knowing the book, that's not possible for me.

The performance from the narrator is also very important for me. I can't listen to a lot, because my English as a non-native-speaker isn't so perfect to follow a whole story over hours, when the narrator speaks too fast or too sloppy. Normally I have to SEE the person, who is talking to me in English. Nick J Russo is one of the top 5 narrators for me, I can listen without break and have no problems to follow.
I'm just not yet finish with the book, just over the half, but I listen enough to give a review.

PLEASE READ MY RATING SYSTEM!!!

To my ratings:

5* - very very good
it's like an A+

4* - very good and will be often re-listening
it's like an A

3* - it's more then a one-time-listening.
it's like a B


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Listener received this title free

Wonderful story!

I loved this wonderful new book in the Hidden Creek series. It's a beautiful friends to lovers romance with just the right amounts of pain, loss, grief, friendship, support, and lots of love. There is a healthy dose of funny throughout, as well, as you would expect from Ms. Hawke. Lovely, sweet characters, including two adorable kids to fall in love with, help to make this a must read.

Nick Russo's narration is sooo good. The relationship comes so slow and natural that it just feels right, and the narrator does a fantastic job of expressing the characters' emotions. Don't miss it!

I received a copy of this audiobook for free and am voluntarily leaving this honest review.

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I’m loving this series!

So far, so great with this multi author series. I loved this story from Susan Hawke, it’s a troupe I love - friends to lovers with a healthy dose of GFY / OFY.

It’s a sad beginning but don’t let that put you off. It’s a lovely, sweet tale that’ll warm your heart.

I really like Nick j Russo as a narrator, it’s easy to differentiate his characters and there’s no one too whiney!

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One of my new favorites!

I'm not sure if it was the kind of GFY/Demi vibe, the really well-done friends to lovers and the awesome chemistry between Max and Parker, the slow, realistic way in which Parker finally fell for Max or Parker 's adorable kids and Max's awesome family, or maybe it was a combination of it all coupled with Nick J. Russo's fabulous narration, but this book hit me right on the feels.

I cried, I laughed, I sighed, I cried some more (actually I teared up quite a bit, despite this book being relatively low-angst, so keep those Kleenex close), and I simply couldn't put this one down. It's just amazing and nothing I could say could make it justice, so just grab it and prepare to fall in love with this fantastic story!

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Very sweet

This story starts with a tragedy but becomes a very sweet and gentle friends to lovers story. It's about realising who's the most important person in your life, and discovering things about yourself and love.
Narrator gave another excellent performance.

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Loved it

I really enjoyed this book.
This is a great series, and this book is no exception.
I love the characters, and I loved listening their story.
As always, Susan has written a must listen audiobook.

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Listener received this title free

Lovely

I found this book to an absolute gem. Everything about this book is a fantastic evolution On multiple levels. I found Parker and Max to be engaging main characters and I really enjoyed their dynamic. Truly a book not to be missed! Russo’s narration is a wonderful mix of engaging and humor that brings these characters to life.

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Friends to partners after a tragedy

Max and Parker have been friends for years. Together through thick and thin, the good times and the bad. Max is there for Parker at the hardest time in Parker’s life - when he lost his wife, and in the years after...helping Parker to bring up Cindy and Teddy. And Max has loved Parker for years. Poor Parker has been through too much - from his wife’s death and onwards, and is oblivious to Max’s more than great friendship feelings. And Max would never do anything to jeopardise that friendship. But when the need for a fake marriage occurs - it might just be the best thing in both of their lives, and in the lives of Cindy and Teddy.

I loved how oblivious Parker was to everything - and what the explanation for this is. I love Max and how he stuck to the friendship he had had with Parker for years, and how he was there for Parker and the kids. Teddy and Cindy were adorable and there were some really sweet moments with the whole family. Hidden Creek is always such a good place to be!

I don’t think I’ve listened to much (if anything) from Nick Russo. His narrating was good and he captured the characters well. I enjoyed it and would certainly listen to more by him.

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  • The Book Wench
  • 21-09-19
Listener received this title free

Friends-to-lovers sweetness

Max Jackson and Parker Wilson have been friends since childhood, and Max has loved and lusted after his best friend since he hit puberty. But Max knows his friend is straight so he keeps his feelings to himself. Still, he's always there for Parker, no matter what, which is a good thing since Parker loses the love of his life and the mother of his two children, and Max is right there to take him and the kids under his wing. Thereafter, Parker also loses his job and once again Max comes through for him. For every crisis Parker faces, Max is there to support and protect him and the children. Parker's slow recognition of his changing feelings for Max makes this a slow-burn romance. There's little by way of relationship drama, especially once Parker lets himself relax and enjoy his new love. Whatever tension exists is part of the usual human drama -- a desperately sick child, unsuccessful job hunting, a lost pet, sibling drama -- and they add to the reality quotient of the story. Max is a sweetheart, and Parker is determined to be the best parent he can be. Together, they provide stability for Cindy and Teddy, especially after Parker decides to agree to Max's suggestion for helping him pay for the expensive medication that Cindy needs to live a healthy life.

The performance was fine. It was always clear when either Max or Parker was speaking, and the narrator evoked other characters well enough to ensure there was no confusion between them, either. Aside from a few misreadings, when Mr. Russo read one name when it was clear it should have been the other, there were no problems with his storytelling.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Morgan A Skye
  • 08-09-19

Spoilers included in review

(Spoiler alert – if you want no accidental surprises revealed skip this review!)

So, the set up for this is good. There is a very plausible reason for Parker and Max to get married (sadly – our medical system is truly fucked up). The two MCs are buddies so that makes sense and Max has had a crush on Parker a long time.

Things that made me crazy: Max’s family and their support which was pretty unfounded. While it was nice, I kind of wanted them to protect Max more and make sure he wasn’t setting himself up for a heartbreak with Parker.

Parker’s discovery of his “demisexuality”. Sure, I think he totally was a demisexual this whole time, but when he and Max start to explore their relationship he is WAY too confident. Not freaked out enough. Takes the lead where I think he would not naturally lead. He’s also not worried about the kids enough.

Once they started “hooking up” I was a little too jaded to appreciate the rest of the story.

From that point on it was really sickly sweet with a lot of strangely scorching sex and I just didn’t buy in.

So… on the one hand if that’s your jam and you can ignore the elephant in the room – you might enjoy this a lot.

I really love Nick Russo and in fact would not have even looked at this had it not been for him and he was as wonderful as always so… there’s that.

For the story I’d give it a weak 3 of 5 stars for the set up and first half. For the narration a 5 and an overall weak 4 – but it’s maybe only a 3.5.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Rebecca K
  • Rebecca K
  • 03-11-22
Listener received this title free

Sweet story with fantastic narration

I really enjoyed this story overall. It has a great set up and I loved the characters. I found it through the narrator, Nick J Russo, who’s narration I love. I particularly loved his voice for Teddy. It’s rare that I hear narration for kids that’s not way over the top. I thought this hit just right.

I loved the demisexual realization and a good friends to lovers/ fake marriage trope. I agree with some of the reviews, there wasn’t a lot of tension or conflict and yes, the fair went on a LONG time and dragged a bit. And yeah, Max’s family wanting an actual wedding and pretty much insisting it would be real soon was a little hard to buy into. But I loved the mutton busting and the dogs and the kids and the sexual awakening and I LOVED the ending. And I loved that Parker’s wife was mentioned positively and they gave that relationship respect.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue 🎧
  • 22-07-22
Listener received this title free

all the feels

📖 Story comment: Sweet story with relatively low drama and a good pace. The two MC's are likeable, the kids are adorable and the extended family offers a good support network. Overall an easy listen and enjoyable story.

🎧 Narrator comment: Nick Russo has done a terrific job bringing the characters in this story to life. From the heavy emotions that come with loss to the excited joy of kids hyped up on sugar he bought the life and love of this story out in every word. He suits the characters, has good cadence, inflections and intonations and it was easy to distinguish the characters from each other - overall an enjoyable listen.

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📌 Where does it fall on my personal scale? 7
• 1 not my thing • 2 didn't like the narration • 3 didn't keep my attention • 4 was good, but once was enough [3⭐] • 5 enjoyed it [4⭐] • 6 will listen again if i'm in the mood for the narrator [4⭐] • 7 goes on the "re-listen" list [4⭐] • 8 kept me up past bed-time [4.5⭐] • 9 recommended to family/friends [4.75⭐] • 10 own it in all formats [5⭐] • 11 keep a copy with me at all times [5⭐]
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⚠️ I received a copy of this book at my request, it has in no way influenced my review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 21-07-22
Listener received this title free

Best friends to lovers Realize

This book started out with so much tragedy, such heartache was heartbreaking. Parker and his kids needed love to rebuild and Max was the perfect person for that. This is a heartwarming romance filled with adorable kids, family silliness, cute moments, a few life lessons, and of course all the love. It was a very enjoyable listen made better by Nick's narration.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Starr N.
  • 15-04-20

Cute story, but there is zero conflict

This story was more a series of vignettes with the children and the forming of a family, with a little romance sprinkled in. But the main characters have basically no conflict and so you spend most of the book expecting something to happen only to realize that there is actually nothing keeping the characters apart. And it’s fine. The narration is well done, and the characters are charming, but there is basically no plot.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • wesley
  • 14-01-20

awesomeness

Great book in the series. Had me tearing up in the end. Love that you can read out of order but still hear about characters from each one.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Buscatlady
  • Buscatlady
  • 20-10-19

Loved all but

So the girl does a baking contest and the boy does the cowboy thing? I really did not like this sexism, even though I understand some of it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Irish
  • 01-09-19

Great Continuation of Hidden Creek

After Parker's wife died in a house fire, he didn't really have time to deal with much of anything. He had two young children to care for, with the help of his best friend Max. Max has been in love with Parker forever. But when Parker's life was upturned with the house fire, Max didn't hesitate to step in to help and offer a place to live and to help raise Parker's young children. But after Parker looses his job, and can no longer afford his daughters medication, Max suggests a fake marriage for the insurance. But when the marriage and feelings start to feel a little real, can the two men figure out what they want?
This is the perfect friends to lovers, fake marriage book! I absolutely LOVED Max and Parker (and of course the kids!) It was nice to see Parker's sexuality discussed not as a "gay for you" but rather him being demisexual. It's rare for me to find books with characters that are demisexual and the descriptions of Parker's relationships were absolutely perfect.
The narration was absolutely amazing. Nick J Russo did a perfect job at bringing these two to life and allowing their unique personalities to show through. Each of the Hidden Creek audiobooks is even more amazing than the last!
I hope to see more of Max and Parker in the other books from this series!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Diane
  • Diane
  • 01-09-19
Listener received this title free

Love this Series

I received an ARC of this audio for my honest review. Parker becomes a single father when his wife dies in the house fire after she went back in to save the cat. Parker is angry because she was safe and didn't have to die. Max has had a secret crush on his straight friend since college. When Parker's daughter's health takes a turn for the worse he winds up losing his job. Max makes him an offer he can't refuse by deciding to marry him so they would all be covered under his insurance and the daughter can get the medication she needs. Parker starts to realize that Max is more than just his best friend. Can't wait for the next book.