• The Real Baxter

  • The Baxter Chronicles, Book 1
  • By: Lane Hayes
  • Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
  • Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The silver-fox and the faux bodyguard....

Sebastian

Who’s the true hero behind the Hollywood heartthrob, crime-fighting, adventure-seeking international man of mystery? Me. I’m the real Baxter.

Well, I wear the suit and let the action play out onscreen. You want to know the secret of my success? Sell the story you want to tell. Even if you have to bend the truth a little.

Okay…a lot.

Trust me, no one will notice. Except Trent, who seems to notice everything. And for some reason, I like that. I like him. I’m just not sure what to do about it.

Trent

Look, I’m not exactly killing it. I’m a typical struggling actor-slash-waiter, hoping for a break. And boom…in walks Sebastian Rourke. He’s a cutthroat, wickedly charming silver fox, a Hollywood legend in the making. No joke. You’ve got to sell a piece of your soul to get in this man’s orbit. Or fake a British accent, then take a job playing bodyguard to fool the press. As one does.

I know I should take advantage of the very strange situation I find myself in, but I’m not sure I’m cut out for it. However, I’m willing to take a chance, ’cause I want the real Seb.

Even though it might cost me everything.

The Real Baxter is a MM age-gap, bisexual romance featuring the man who has everything and the actor who’s willing to show him what’s real.

©2022 Lane Hayes (P)2022 Lane Hayes

What listeners say about The Real Baxter

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story and great audio performance!

I read and reviewed the ebook of The Real Baxter in early March. At that time, I was pretty sure that the audiobook would be coming soon and when I later learned that Michael Ferraiuolo would be performing it, I was so excited! Michael Ferraiuolo is one of my favorite audiobook performers and I knew he would be perfect for this story; I wasn’t wrong.

I love it when a not-so-nice character gets redeemed (we met Seb in Starting from Zero) and now we finally get to learn Seb’s backstory and learn what makes him tick. He’s still a bit of a jerk at the beginning of this book but I had complete faith in Lane Hayes’ ability to make me love him.

Seb has been kind of a broken soul for too long and he really deserves the HEA that Lane Hayes has given him in this story. Trent is pretty much an ordinary guy and Seb… is not. Trent is an aspiring actor but he’s having a tough time landing parts so he tries his hand at being a stunt man…and gets fired. Seb is a movie mogul and through a series of events, Trent ends up working as his fake bodyguard.

Now this is a romance so it’s not hard to surmise that Seb and Trent end up together but the journey that Lane Hayes took me on to get to their HEA was delicious. It was at times a bit funny, hella hot and sexy, and just a darned good love story!

A complimentary copy of this audiobook was provided to me at my request but my review was voluntary and not influenced by the author and/or narrator.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So glad to find out Seb got his story told.

This story is about two men who are in the business for actors. One is wanting to break into the business the other owns the business. They start out as a fake relationship with benefits. Then slowly work their way to more.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

The vocal performance changed my mind a little...

*Listened to Audio in May 2022*

Michael Ferraiuolo is one of my favorite audio performers so listening was a no-brainer. I will say his performance changed my opinion of Seb a little bit and I felt more for Trent than I did just reading it.

First and foremost, that cover may be Ms. Hayes's best yet. Whew…

I guess this can be read as a standalone…but I highly recommend reading the Starting From series before reading this as this is a spin-off from that. There is so much history laid out in that series that I think makes a big impact on this story.

It took a minute for me to get into this story. I wasn’t even sure I liked Trent all that much. All the BS swirling around the “Hollywood game” was a bit exhausting and I couldn’t tell where Trent fell on that map.

When Seb and Trent are together outside of that world or with their friends and family, I liked them together. I was disappointed in Seb at first for creating drama that may have not been necessary, but I guess it got him to truly face his demons. Seb does finally face his feelings for Gray and they get some closure that I thought they already had but apparently didn’t.

I teared up a bit a few times for Seb…he’s hidden behind his façade well over the years, but he feels deeply.

I’m not sure where this series is going from here, we met a few folks but there wasn’t much in the way of foreshadowing. I’ll stick with it as I do like the previous series and this one ended up being great in the last half.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

enjoyed it - want more!

📖 Story comment: Pace: what I'd call an easy pace - good story to have on while doing something.
Characters: likeable characters, took me a while to warm up to Seb, but by the end I was completely invested in the outcome and I'll be interested to see where this series goes.
Plot: enjoyed the story, as I'm getting older, I like having an "older" character, even one as flawed as Sebastian. I enjoyed the way the epilogue rounded out the story.
I haven't done the "Starting From" series so was unfamiliar with the backstory of Seb's family of characters, but I didn't really need it to enjoy this one - having said that, I am going back to listen to them so I get to know Seb better.

🎧 Narrator comment: Michael Ferraiuolo is a master story teller. He suits the characters, has a plethora of accents, wonderful pacing, good cadence, inflections and intonations and pulls all the emotions out of the story, there is no doubting the connection between the two MC's and his performance brings life to every scene.

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📌 Where does it fall on my personal scale? 7.5
• 1 not my thing • 2 didn't like the narration • 3 didn't keep my attention • 4 was good, but once was enough • 5 enjoyed it • 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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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Seb and Trent are great together

When I first started this book, I had no idea the connections it had to the author’s Starting From series. It definitely made me want to re-listen to the other books to get into the groove for this book.

In The Real Baxter, we first meet Sebastian, a famous film producer, whose ex and son found their happy endings in separate books. Sebastian is most famous for his “Real Baxter” movies featuring a James Bond-like spy. Seb is very career orientated, only making time for his two sons and his best friend and ex, Gray. But Gray delivers news to Seb that throws him off his game.

Trent is a stuntman working on the production who loses his job when he loses his footing during filming. Staring at the sexy, older Seb might have had something to do with that. He is pretty anxious to be rehired or hired for a future Baxter film, so he tries to impress Seb by pretending to be someone he’s not, but the truth is revealed pretty quickly. A one night stand should be all they have, but Seb is intrigued by Trent and so is his son Charlie.

To be clear, Charlie is in a happy relationship with a musician but he is worried that Trent could cause media problems for his dad, and in a roundabout way the band Charlie represents. It gets a little bit complicated as Trent is maneuvered like a chess pawn, but in the manipulation Trent and Seb find themselves revealing their secrets to each other and they act on the attraction they have.

I have to say that Trent and Seb make a sweet couple. There is about a ten year age gap, which doesn’t seem to be a big difference for them. Both of them have suffered loss in their pasts that have made them lose faith in love, but eventually they get too close to deny what is happening. It isn’t completely smooth sailing, though. The media and Charlie cause a little bit of problems, and Seb’s promotions of the new movie drive a wedge between the two of them.

I found this audiobook to be an engaging listen. Michael Ferraiuolo is one of my favorite narrators and he did a great job with this one.

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Loved it!

5 Stars!!!

I will admit I haven't read the Starting From series, and I had no trouble following along. If anything, it might be the push I need to read it, so bonus. LOL

I absolutely loved Seb and Trent. They had amazing chemistry and I adored seeing them fall for each other, even when they thought their relationship had an expiration date. They were great together and I loved how seamlessly Trent fit into Seb's life. It wasn't all fluff, though, and the little drama near the end, even if it made me cry, was the push they both needed.

This was such a fun and steamy audiobook. Ms. Hayes delivered an engaging, captivating romance and Michael Ferraiuolo did a fantastic job bringing not only Trent and Seb to life for me but all the secondary cast as well. I can't recommend it enough!

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a really good story

Seb and Trent’s story was full of humor, vulnerability, and sweetness. I wasn’t sure at first if I actually liked Seb but he eventually grew on me and I ended up whole-heartedly rooting for Seb and Trent’s HEA. And, of course, Michael Ferraiuolo’s narration was perfect and made this story even better.

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One of my top audiobooks for 2022! 5+ stars!

When I read The Real Baxter back in March, I got so much more than I had been hoping for. Calling my expectations "lofty" would be an understatement, but then this was Sebastian Rourke's story we were talking about, and he has been on my wish list for secondary characters to get their own books for what feels like forever. For anyone reading this and isn't familiar with Lane Hayes's writing in general or Seb in particular, he was first introduced in the Starting From series. While his ex-partner--and still best friend--and older son have found true love, Seb hadn't been quite so fortunate during that series run. But now, we've got his story, and it's what kicks off Hayes's The Baxter Chronicles series. If the rest of the books are as fantastic as this one, then dare I say that this series could give my favorite from Hayes, Leaning Into, a proverbial run for its money.

Suffice it to say that Sebastian Rourke is complicated, but then I expected as much. His back story had its heartrending moments, and it was those that shaped him most. He's a good father and a good friend, and there's no denying he's a powerhouse when it comes to work, but the guy was a master at self-sabotage. And then Trent Mackay came along and everything slowly but surely changed for both of them. This story had some angst and some wit alongside age-gap and fake relationship feels. But what wasn't fake was the romance, and it's something that Lane Hayes has done quite well here, adding layers to well-worn tropes, making them feel fresh and original. Add in the always amazing Michael Ferraiuolo, and well, the guy is one of my favorites for good reason. He made what was already a wonderful story even better, and I didn't think that was possible. Five-plus stars for the story, five-plus stars for the narration, so in short, all the stars for The Real Baxter.

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  • CM
  • 05-04-22

Grown up version of the Starting from series

Overall this was a heart warming story. I was so used to Michael Dean in the Starting from series it took a while for me to get into Michael Ferraiuolo. I wish there was a second narrator but understood why they went in a different direction.

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 05-14-22

Interesting new series

I had high hopes for this new series by Lane Hayes. I almost always enjoy her books, and I quickly realized there were significant ties to several other series including the ones with the band Zero. I enjoyed seeing Justin and Gray again, and having Charlie back in my life was fun. I don’t think new readers will be lost, but having those connections enhanced my enjoyment.

I adore Michael Ferraiuolo. Again, he gave so much in his great performance. I know he enhanced my enjoyment of the entire book, and I just love him.

The cover was hot and the premise was cute – so I should have loved this book. I wanted to. Where I got caught up was in the weeds. This could have been a straight-forward love story between a struggling actor and a rich movie producer. There was enough of a power imbalance to drill down into their individual situations.

But then came the contracts. I won’t bore you with details, but there were a lot of them and with them came rules and then the breaking of rules and… By the end I was kind of turned about – and I have some understanding of contracts. Now, some readers will be able to follow no problem. Others will gloss over the details. Maybe I’m the only one who struggled.

Trent and Seb made a compelling couple – with all their baggage. Their families played important parts in their lives and I love the dynamics. A wedding thrown in always helps as well. And Charlie. Dear irritating Charlie.

I will, of course, grab the next book. I can see several potential future heroes and I’ll enjoy those stories to be sure. And I encourage you to try this one – like I said, maybe it was just me.