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Hold On To Me audiobook

Hold On To Me audiobook

a boss-assistant, age gap retro romantic comedy

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐200+ 5-star reviews

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Narrated by Mackenzie Cartwright & JF Harding

7.3 hours

Fans of 1990's movies like Swimming with Sharks and Beautiful Girls will love this slow-burn, boss-assistant, younger man older woman, entertainment biz, 1990’s office romance from USA Today bestselling author Karen Grey.

Book Description

She’s my boss, and she’s a stone-cold fox.
Two months ago, I lost my boat, my cat, and—with my leg in a cast—my income. Until I can walk again, the only job I’m fit for is one few have survived.

See, my new boss has a reputation. She's grumpy, no-nonsense, and runs a tight ship. Keeping a firm hold on a movie budget does require nerves of steel, after all. Especially when disaster strikes.

When she yells at me, all I hear is the passion in her voice. All I want in those moments is to kiss her until she can't think straight.

And then convince her that it's okay to fall in love with me.

Fans of 1990's movies like Swimming with Sharks and Beautiful Girls will love this slow-burn, boss-assistant, younger man older woman, entertainment biz, 1990’s office romance from USA Today bestselling author Karen Grey.

Look inside


“Mr. Jones, please come out of the cabinet.”
My co-captain and I have been living on Endless Summer

for almost nine months now. I missed my boat almost as much as I missed my friends and family the seven long years I spent in Los Angeles, so when I returned to work on a movie shooting in my hometown this past spring, I pocketed the per diem the show gave me for housing and lived on the sailboat I’d brought back from the dead as a teenager.

“You didn’t seem to mind trading an apartment for the salt life when we were in Wallington,” I remind him.

Granted, things have been different for the past few weeks. We left the marina behind, traveling up the intra- coastal waterway to the Chesapeake Bay. Spending my days sailing and nights anchored in quiet coves has been a dream of mine for years, and despite the drama around my exit from town, the reality has exceeded my expectations. The scenery couldn’t be prettier, the weather has been mild for August, and the fishing has been awesome. The past twenty-four hours alone were practically ideal.

Yesterday, after a sweet sail down one river and up the next, we anchored in this little inlet, and I dropped a crab pot in the water before going to bed. By midday today, I’d trapped so many I was able to trade with a family onshore for zucchini and tomatoes.

Meaning, I ate like a king for practically nothing.

Unfortunately, Mr. Jones is less enthusiastic about our current circumstances. I’d venture to say he is not on board with spending a couple months away from civilization.

“Maybe we can rent a slip for a night or two so you could feel solid ground under your feet.”

He just growls in response.

“Goddammit, Jonesy!”

I seriously can’t believe he’s so pissed off that he’s hiding in the woodwork. But then I remind myself that I struggle with anger issues too. People think of me as easygoing, but ever since I was little and my brother would tease me to the point that I threw a tantrum, controlling my temper is some- thing I’ve had to work for.

It helps if I ground myself in sensory experience, so as I lean over the stern to give the dinner dishes an initial rinse, I take the creek’s briny scent deep into my nostrils. After swishing the plate, I note the change in the temperature of the air on my hand as I draw it out of the brackish water. When I hear a flutter of wings, I look up to find a pair of herons flying to roost in a tree onshore. Before I know it, my frustration with Mr. Jones has floated away like the remains of my dinner.

After I finish cleaning the tiny kitchen, I set up my bed, planning to take a few moments out on deck before retiring for the night.

When I first tried to meditate with one of the tapes my friend Dani gave me this summer, it was freaking impossible. Tougher than moving across the country without a plan other than following my best friend’s lead. More difficult than telling my parents I’d flunked out of college with just a semester left to go.

But on this trip, sitting and counting my breaths just gets easier and easier. Not only have I got an entire sky full of stars to remind me that my troubles don’t really mean much in the larger scope of things, but the issues that set me on edge feel far away and unimportant.

Who cares that my parents think I’m a total failure when I’m out here living my dream?

My friends may think I’m an idiot, but my best buddy is still with me, and he’ll stop pouting soon.

“Jones?” I still, listening for movement, but get no answer. “All right then. I’ll check out the Milky Way by myself, I guess.”

After some trial and error, I’ve gotten pretty good at finding a quiet spot to overnight, where all I hear is the lap of water against the hull, the clink of hardware against the mast, and the chirps of frogs from the shore. But tonight, as I mount the stairs from the cabin to the cockpit, I’m assaulted by sound. Pounding music and the roar of an engine. Thinking it’s coming from the land on our starboard side, that’s where I look first.

It’s only when I look to port that I see the motorboat speeding across the water. I check, and my masthead light is on. Surely the person at the helm will see it. But the boat just keeps getting closer.

Instinctively, I wave my arms and shout, but my voice is drowned by the sounds of the boat, now headed directly at us. Grabbing my safety horn, I blast it a few times before scrambling down the stairs. Shrugging on a life jacket, I look around for something that might keep my little friend afloat.

“Mr. Jones! Seriously, time to come out. I don’t have a floatation device to fit a cat, so—”

Before I can finish my sentence, the hull explodes behind me.

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Customer Reviews

Based on 27 reviews
Sally Schmidt
Hearing is heaven!! The best story made even better!

I don’t know how you can take something that is already the best and make it better, but author Karen Grey unfailingly does it with each and every one of her books when you get to listen to them. If you’ve read The Boston Classics or any of The Carolina Classics you already know the stories with their relationships, trips down memory lane to the fabulous (?) 80s and 90s and the perfect blend of sweet and steamy are not to be missed, but when these stories become audiobooks they become simply magical. I don’t know how she finds narrators that are the exact match for what you imagined, but she does. One sentence from Sully and you’re hooked. This time around JF Harding and MacKenzie Cartwright are perfect, perfect, perfect. If you haven’t already read Hold On To Me, read on with this review. If you’ve read it, then run – not walk – for your headphones and prepare to be transported to the Carolinas.

Hold On To Me, the second book in more-than-excellent author Karen Grey’s more-than-excellent Carolina Classics series picks up right where You Get What You Give left off. Violet and Nate are sorted so we don’t have to worry about them. Although Dani still has that stubborn and peculiar resistance to men and relationships, she’s living life and doing her thing. But Whitney, Ford and Sully? “The boys” are still engaged in their life-long competition for Whitney (and everything else) but when she rejects both of them it’s the last straw for Sully, and he takes off in his boat with his pal Mr. Jones (meow). All’s well (or at least no one is actively fighting) until another boat runs into Sully’s boat. Sully’s hurt, the boat’s hurt, they both need a lot of work, and Mr. Jones went overboard and can’t be found.

When we see Sully again he’s on the mend but it’s slow. He’s staying with Dani and he needs money and he needs to keep his insurance to pay for the medical bills and restore the boat but he can’t do his usual sound crew work until his broken leg heals. Dani wants him out of his bed, off the couch and out of her house at least once in a while, and (forcefully) nudges him to apply for a particular job.

And we’re off, as they say. Helen is a unit production manager, or UPM as they say in the biz, and needs a personal assistant, since the last one ran out the door crying like most of them have. Sully isn’t exactly what she had in mind, but her mind has lots of other things on it as soon as she sees his hunky, handsome self. Their first encounter is vintage Karen Grey: enough heat and humor to have you fanning yourself and laughing out loud at the same time.

Sully and Helen couldn’t be more different in most ways. He meditates and she paces. But his mind is in the same place as hers when it comes to the sexy stuff. Except she’s the boss and he’s not and what exactly are the rules here? And even if they do figure out the rules, can her anxious drive and his escapist Zen meet in the middle? How on earth can this ever work out?

HOTM is silly and serious at the same time. Helen and Sully say and do funny things, but there’s a lot more going on with each of them, things they’ve had to work through, hardship and disappointment, secrets they don’t want to share. And that attraction between them? Whoa, wow, whew! Author Grey is THE BEST at these scenes.

This is definitely Sully and Helen’s story but the old gang pops in and out enough so you get that one big, usually happy family vibe Grey is so good at writing. There’s the bonus of the occasional cameo by a character from the late, great Boston Classics series (which you must read as well). Courtesy of Grey’s stellar writing time flies. You’re immersed in the places and the people and the excitement of working “in TV” – and doing it all in the late 1990s. Crop tops, grunge, Doc Martins, chokers, platform shoes, Pearl Jam . . . ah, the good old days. Don’t plan on doing anything else once you start reading because this is definitely an “I can’t put it down” book. You care about these characters and need to know how things will work out.

Hold On To Me is another entry in a tall stack of winners from this favorite author. A solid plot, interesting characters, beautiful locations – and a time warp to the ‘90s! I loved this book and recommend it without any hesitation. I can’t wait to see who’s up next in this satisfying series. Note: I was sent a free book and am voluntarily leaving this honest review; all opinions are my own.

Joann Griffith
A must listen for romantic comedy fans!

It’s time to bring out your boom boxes and mix cds were going back to the 90s for Sully and Helen’s story in this retro romantic comedy!

After a boating accident that left his leg messed up Sully is recovering at his friend Dani's place back in Wallington NC. Only it’s more then Just his leg causing a problem. Sully the normally easy going Zen master is drowning in depression. He can’t surf, he isn’t working and the boat that he put blood sweat and tears into restoring is now wrecked, and he's unsure if his trusted furry friend survived the accident. With his money dwindling away and medical bills piling up he accepts a interview his friend Dani sets up with Helen O’Neill a unit producer with a reputation of being kind of sassy. Helen cares little about her reputation of being a hard to work with because at the end of the day she gets the job done and done well. Hiring Sully is a risk but one that could pay off in more ways then one..

Karen really sets the tone in her books, I absolutely love the Carolina Classics series so far. Reading this is like immersing yourself in your favorite dramedy. All your favorite characters and the couple you are currently shipping front and center in the latest installment. Sully and Helen are complete opposites in most every way. He's so laid back his life goals has never been to conquer in his career, his dreams are to sail and surf and enjoy life he wants to live to live not live to work. Whereas Helen is a career oriented person. She is a woman in a man’s world and works to prove herself not to others but to herself. There are times you can’t see how they could possibly work out but they do. It’s one of the many things I love about this couple. They don’t really want to change one another to fit themselves they accept one another and find a balance. They build from a great working relationship to a physical relationship then to an actual relationship. This is a well rounded fun read with all the charm and nostalgia we come to know and love from Karen’s stories. I don’t know who is up next in the series but I cannot wait for more!

I had read the book prior to the audio version and After getting to know the characters through reading the book I can honestly say JF Harding and Mackenzie Cartwright were the perfect choices to bring life to Sully and Helen through their performances in the audiobook. They brought a new level of energy and charm to an already wonderful story and were just a delight to listen to. I’d definitely recommend this book to any romance fan and I cannot wait to listen to it again !

Loved Helen and Sully's story!

I enjoyed this book so much! Small-town, great characters, reverse age gap, all the 90s vibes, and a fun, romantic storyline. This was a solid 4.5-stars for me.

Sometimes you have to get into a book a bit before you really start to feel the chemistry between the main characters. That wasn’t the case here. Sully and Helen had great chemistry from the beginning. He seems to just really get her. She's used to being in control due to her job and having to hold her own in a male-dominated industry. Being able to give up control to him is just what she needs. She tends to get stressed out, while Sully is a bit more chill. They’re a great balance for each other.

There are quotes and words of wisdom at the beginning of each chapter that were a really cool addition to the story. If you started with the first book in the series you’ll enjoy the references and inclusion of some of those characters in this book.

The narration was superb. Mackenzie Cartwright played Helen perfectly and JF Harding had me swooning over Sully.

If you want a fun, sexy, romantic read, pick this one up. I highly recommend the audiobook version.

I was provided with a free copy of this book and this is my honest review.

Liza Brown
Another winner in the Carolina Classics series!!!

Hold On To Me is the second book in the Carolina Classics series by Karen Grey. I am a huge fan of the nostalgia romances Ms. Grey writes, and Hold On To Me was another winner in my book.

I’ve wanted to know more about Sully from the moment he first appeared on the page. We met Sully and his friends in You Get What You Give. Sully is in a boating accident, and must find a job until he recovers enough to work on set again. The only job available it assistant to Helen O’Neill, who has already run off multiple assistants, with production starting very soon. Sully feels instant attraction to his boss from day one, and I loved the chemistry between them from the moment they meet.

Let me just say, I absolutely loved how strong Helen is over the entire story. Yes, she has had some rough times in the past, and she fights her attraction to Sully because of something in her past. I loved when they both finally gave into their attraction. OMG they had the best chemistry!!! I liked they really seemed to get one another, even with the age gap between them. Loved Helen is 10 years older than Sully, and yet, they just seemed to work as a couple for me. I think part of it was because Sully truly has an old soul, but most was because Helen never treated him like he was less of a person for being so much younger than her. They worked well both at work and in their relationship.

I thought the audiobook narrators did a fantastic job with this story. Both narrators were spot on with all the different character voices, and I felt like there was a seamless transition between narrators. There were many emotional parts to Hold On To Me, and I felt like the narrators delivered on every single emotion.

Hold On To Me is a fun story that takes the reader back to the late 90’s. I loved all the nods to things from the past, and can’t wait to read the next book in this series. I love the group of friends that is at the center of each story, and can’t wait to read more.

Rating: 4 Stars (B+)
Review copy provided by publisher

Such a sweet small town romance!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️out of 5️⃣ for Story
🌶️ out of 5️⃣ for spice
🔈🔈🔈🔈 out of 5️⃣ for narration

⚓️ Small Town
⚓️ Reverse Age Gap
⚓️ Instant Attraction
⚓️ 90s Vibes

Miss Karen Grey, what did you put in this book?? I am so obsessed! The overall story is amazing! It’s a small town romance, with amazing characters! There is so much character development that it’s insane, actually insane how smoothy the book goes. Helen O’Neill is grumpy, older boss lady. Sullivan “Sully” Calloway is the younger, go with the flow, I follow no rules but the ones on my boat type, new assistant. There is instant attraction but O’Neill refuses to go there due to her role as the boss and not wanting to cross this lines. She is so committed to this that she lies to Sully about being married!! That’s how much she wanted to protect her career (and I personally felt that!!!!!). This doesn’t last long and the two eventually begin a romantic relationship but they have so many ups and downs that really make them reevaluate what they want for themselves, and for their relationship.

As an audiobook, the narrators killed it! Sully is voiced by J.F. Harding and O’Neill is voiced by Mackenzie Cartwright. And let me tell you, the chemistry was there! The audiobook goes back and forth between Sully and O’Neill and the narrators did such a wonderful job with the transitions that it felt so natural while listening. Mr. Harding’s voice was so catchy that I was falling in love with Sully after each one of his chapters. He did such a great job portraying all the emotions Sully was going through in his own life and with O’Neill. The scene where he rescues her from the man at the bar *fans myself* that voice had me gushing. Mackenzie portrayed the strong and independent O’Neill perfectly and did an amazing job showing her vulnerable side. No only did they kill voicing the main characters but they also did a great job portraying secondary characters as well. Oh and the quotes at the start of each chapter… obsessed!! I love how they’re presented them in the audiobook. It was absolutely one of my favorite parts. I loved how they were words of wisdom/inspirational quotes that really pulled at the audience’s heartstrings.