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Publisher's Summary

Rule #1 Don’t fall for the ridiculously hot straight guy

Rule #2 Especially not if he’s your best friend

Rule #3 Extra-especially not when you’re supposed to be his private tutor

Rule #4 Oh, god, but those eyes

Rule #5 Okay, maybe eyes are fine if you don’t look south

Rule #6 Don’t look south

Rule #7 You looked south, didn’t you?

Rule #8 Are you even listening? 

Gabe Mitchell isn't listening. What's worse, ever since he moved back to the small town he thought he'd left for good, he's turned into a habitual rule breaker. 

Falling for his straight best friend, Clark Summers? Check. 

Falling for his straight best friend, Clark Summers, who also happens to be his newest mature student? Check. 

And don't you dare get him started about what's going on down south, because Gabe doesn't need to check that to know he's in deep. 

It's a good thing Clark's missed him these last four years, and a better thing that he's willing to do whatever it takes to have Gabe back in his life, because rules are about to be broken. All of them. And Clark’s only rule? The one about being straight? It might just end up broken, too.

Before the Call is the second book in the Small Town Hearts series, which features heroes scattered across the rural United States who find love where they're least expecting it. In addition to friendship that turns red-hot, you can expect to find generous servings of vanilla ice cream that are anything but vanilla, interesting “tutoring” techniques, a nerd who's head over heels for the best friend he can't have, and a jock who loves his Dork even after years apart.

©2019 Emma Alcott (P)2020 Emma Alcott

What listeners say about Before the Call

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful read!

Gabe and Clark are fun and sexy and their story was super easy to read.  A wonderful tale of friends, family and an understanding of all kinds of love. This is the kind of book that will suit many readers and most will have trouble putting it down!
Michael Ferraiuolo’s narration adds an amazing depth to the characters and his melodic voice brings the wonderful story to life in a new way

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 18-04-2020

Narratior sucks for this book

The narrator doesn't do the story justice. The MC is from a small town in Missouri, the Midwest. Yet, the MC's mother sounds like a Jewish mother from New Jersey. I'm from Missouri but live in New Jersey so I'm annoyed. In fact, most of the women sounded like over animated characters. Awful. Just awful. The plot is unsurprising, predictable but reluctantly enjoyable...at times.

3 people found this helpful

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  • April Reads and Listens
  • 20-03-2020

Friends to Lovers plus 2nd Chances

This is a sweet story about two childhood best friends who drifted apart after high school. A phone call brought them back together.

It’s a joy to listen, the unfolding of layers of their friendship. The challenges along the way. The strength of their friendship withstanding everything.

There’s a lot of humor in this story, a lot of steam too. And some serious parts but I love how Emma Alcott wrote those, it organic. The pace and resolution fits the flow of the story very well.

Michael’s showcase of different range of character voices is stellar on this one. His music is a great addition too, it makes the audiobook so unique.

3 people found this helpful

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  • V-Tachy
  • 21-03-2020

hard time following

I listened to the first book in the series and was really impressed with and the narrator. When I discovered there was a second book I was really excited. After listening to the second book on its entirety. I have to wondered what I just listened to? Had it not been in the craziness that is Covid-19? I would have never listened to the book. I had a hard time identifying with either of the MC and plot at all. My takeaway is maybe this is a one off the Author had a hard time getting on paper. The Narrator did a good job. While the book maybe right up some folks alley. it wasn't for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Lady Di
  • 30-06-2021

Bad Bad Bad narration

This story is probably really good but you can’t enjoy it because the narrator was not just Bad but really BAD. It’s amazing how same writer can write After the crash narrated by JF Harding and put out an incredible book. The narrator will make or break a book. This one Michael Ferraiuolo definitely broke this book. Please authors use JF Harding or Jack DuPont or teddy Hamilton Please bi really hoped to hear this story just couldn’t finish. That narrator is horrible.

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  • BrotherBob
  • 04-05-2021

meh

more graphic sex than plot. I did like the multi kid fatherless family. The narrator saved it.

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  • L.D.
  • 18-10-2020

A Sweet Romance

Before the Call is the second book in the Small Town Hearts series, but it is a standalone book. The characters and events from the first book are not connected with the second book at all. The only thing the two books have in common is the theme of a small town and contemporary romance.

Gabe and Clark have a beautiful friendship which transforms into a beautiful romance. Watching these two men discover that the feelings they have for each other is more than just friendship, and they both feel the same way, was beyond sweet and made my heart feel warm and fluffy. I really liked the family dynamics within the book, especially with Clark’s younger siblings, and how everyone rallied together when an outside force threatened one of their own.

Michael Ferraiuolo narrated the audiobook and did a great job. He kept his characters consistent and distinct (and there were a lot of characters to voice). There was one voice he did for a female side character (Missy) that I did not really enjoy, but that was an artistic interpretation of a character and the character only made a few appearances. The audiobook production was well done and overall I thought the audiobook was a splendid.

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  • Kashonna
  • 15-10-2020

High School Loves

OMG, Clark and Gabe were too perfect. I love reading about high school friends who become lovers later in life. Gabe is your typical nerdy high school boy in love with his best friend. He of course doesn't tell in, instead he chooses to leave his town behind and make a new life elsewhere. He is forced to move back home, and upon coming home reunites with his best friend. Clark isn't your typical jock. He is hard working teen that had to take on the role as father/provider. He doesn't recognize his feelings for his friend until later. What makes this story so great is the sweetness. The boys both have feelings for each of but they don't know how to communicate it. Luckily for them, they have a mutual friend that is willing to play matchmaker.

Michael once again has knocked this out of the park. I especially love his teenage girl voice!

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  • Sftonyt
  • 01-10-2020

Bad narrator

This is Book 2, with different narrator than Book 1. [Book 1 was great]. This is a MM Romance, narrator sounds like a British grandpa reading Winnie the Pooh to a child. I bailed at chapter 3 and it was a painful journey to there.

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  • rapidray54
  • 23-08-2020

Female voices problematic

This is a wonderful story and the narration was also with exception of the female voices. With the exception of Peyton (sp) and Clark’s mother all the female voices had weird accents and grating voices. Why would a woman in this story sound like a New Yorker with no explanation? Very disturbing to the flow of the narration and making women sound stupid. Please do some work on these.

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  • Katy Beth
  • 22-08-2020

Finding the Way Out

Gabe and Clark have such a strong connection. It was painful at times to see them each struggling with their own confusion or secrets. I like how they get a push to get them moving in the right direction. The side story with Clark brother adds another wonderful rich layer to the story as a whole but also to the building relationship between Gabe and Clark themselves. And I really love a small town that shows that all small towns are not created equal.

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  • Luminatri
  • 20-06-2021

Could have been so much more

I'm half way through the book and so frustrated. For the first time, I don't think I'll manage to finish it.. This is so much of a let down. The narrator is actually ok, but the story overall deviates So freaking much on pointless crap, not to mention at the most ridiculous moments in the story. I don't think I've ever eyerolled so much during an audible. Complete let down compared to book 1. The story could have been so much more. Instead a good percentage of the book was way off track.

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  • Emma Burbidge
  • 18-04-2020

Gabe's childhood best friend looking for love?

I love Michael Ferraiuolo's narrations as they always bring the characters to life. I loved the book by Emma Alcott (Piper Scott) and this second book in her Small Town Hearts series was just lovely with two childhood best friends coming together when Gabe finally comes home from college to teach Math at their home town High School where Clark's younger siblings are now students. It's great to see how Gabe helps Clark find a way forward when his job at the mine might be in jeopardy and they rekindle their friendship, practically picking up where they left off. And they discover that they might just find something deeper than they previously shared as deeply buried secrets surface and they learn to deal with their true feelings as mature adults. Highly recommended with a HEA and friends to lovers MM contemporary romance.

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  • KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • 03-04-2020

Sweet, Sexy and heartwarming!

🌟🌟🌟🌟 4.5 stars
🔥🔥🔥🔥 Heat Level: 4
🎧🎧🎧🎧 Narration: 5

Sweet, Sexy and heartwarming!

I loved this one and couldn't help but fall for the characters.
I love Emma's writing style and how they manage to create sweet, wonderful and caring characters that can't help but weave their way into your heart. I loved the batter between these too and felt this was a beautiful and somewhat epic (3 years in the making) best-friends to lovers/second chance romance!

I loved the Dork and his Jock and I loved how Clark embraced his sexual awakening quickly and with no real reservations. He was honest and forthcoming with his care for his best friend and realized he's cared for and even been in love with him for years and years. Their connection is so sweet and will give you all the feels and "heart-eyes"!

I also felt for Clark's brother and his challenging and somewhat traumatizing situation and I hope he gets a HEA in one of Emma's future books.

I'm loving this series and can't wait for more from this powerhouse author and narrator pair!!!

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  • Cassi
  • 02-04-2020

SUPER CUTE

Adorable and so sweet the feel good pick me up I needed!! LOVE the narrator

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  • Annie13
  • 31-03-2020

Adoorkable

Love the dorkiness and the both MCs and everything !!! Narration was amazing ! Creating writing from a favorite author :)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • alias11
  • 31-03-2020

Sweet second-chance, GFY story

This is a very sweet, slow-burn, small-town, friends to lovers, gay-for-you love story. There is friendship, love, some geekiness, some awkwardness, some funny moments, and sweet emerging love. I loved Gabe and his funny dorkiness, and Clark and his selfless caring for his siblings. This story didn't have the level of angst and drama as the first in the series, just a little centered around incorrect assumptions of small-town bias and a near-kidnapping and pursuit of a teenager by an older man. This is only book 2, but so far I am really loving this series.

The narration was great, and it was easy to tell the various character voices apart.

I received an complimentary copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving this honest review.

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  • Donna Hirsch
  • 31-03-2020

4 and 1/2 stars

Michael Ferraiuolo narration is en pointe!
Really enjoying the series. Low angst, sweet and funny.
Gabe and Clark have been friends since High school, Gabe leaves the small town to get away from his Straight best friend, but when he returns things heat up and a HEA is on the cards

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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 30-03-2020

The jock, the dork, and the Werther’s

I enjoyed the novel After the Crash so when I saw Ms. Alcott was releasing another book, I leapt at the chance to listen to it. This time she used Michael Ferraiuolo as her narrator. I adore Michael and have high expectations when I listen to his performances. He was as good as I expected, and I especially adored his high school teenagers – male and female. The contemptuous and entitled note was perfect. Reminded me of all the twits I had to deal with back then. Of course his great performance was because he had a great text to work with.

I’m gong to repeat what I said about the last book – don’t pay too much attention to the blurb. I hope listeners aren’t put off (I find them confusing, although maybe it’s just me). Basically this is a gay-for-you first-time best-friend-to-lovers book. There are plenty of tropes in those nine and a half hours, but it worked.

Gabe escaped his small town in for two reasons. He was gay and he was in love with his straight best friend. Since he could do nothing about either of those things, he left Missouri and headed to the left coast. Portland, Oregon would be far enough away, right? Yeah, except his crush on his bestie never really went away and upon graduating with a teaching degree, the only job he could find was in his old hometown. He knows teaching math in a town where kids either get out or go to work in the lead mine will be a challenge, but he’s up for it. And if that means he runs into Clark and they take up where the friendship left off, that’ll be okay, right?

Of course there are tons of complications. Like Gabe is teaching Devin, Clark’s younger brother. Or their men’s best friend Peyton and her nosy ways. Or Clark’s many many many younger siblings. Throw in a little dash of crime, meddling old biddies, and you’re set for what turned out to be a very enjoyable book. I loved how the getting together of the two men in a romantic way was almost accidental, but man did I cheer. I wanted Gabe and Clark to find their happily ever after and although there was drama, it didn’t much center around them. It was like their coming together made everything bearable. Made everything right.

I’m hoping there are more books in the series and I hope they are narrated by Michael. Well done.

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  • Sabbath
  • 30-03-2020

Absolutely enjoyable

Being in self-isolation, this book was a perfect escape. Alcott’s ability to pull the reader into her stories shine as we meet Gabe and Clarke. I found the plot to be interesting and riveting, along with a great narration by Ferraiuolo.

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  • Mari Cardenas
  • 30-03-2020

Enjoyable!

Before the Call is the second book in the Small Town Hearts series and it can be listened as a standalone.

I liked Gabe a lot, he was adorkable, but my favorite of the two was Clark. He was such a selfish, caring man. He dropped out of school to work and help his mother with his siblings and he was just so sweet and patient with them, even with Devon, his oldest brother, who could be quite the PITA.

This was GFY, so if you've ever read my reviews, you know I was in heaven with that. LOL Clark and Gabe had so much chemistry and they were great in and out of the bedroom.

While there was a bit too much happening that didn't quite pertain to the main couple, the book was pretty good. Perhaps not as good as the first book in the series, but still very enjoyable.

Michael Ferraiuolo did a great job with his performance, but honestly, he could read the phone book and I'd be in heaven, so even if it wasn't my favorite book by Emma Alcott/Piper Scott, I have no trouble recommending it.

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