Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wholehearted

Title: Wholehearted
Author: Cate Ashwood
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-237-5
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx           

Life in Hope Cove is usually quiet but that changes the day Officer Declan Grant finds a beaten Lucas Hale barely hanging onto life when he responds to a call at the town docks. Declan’s shocked by his response to Lucas—he wants to find those responsible for his injuries and to keep Lucas safe while he recovers. Neither is easy. Lucas has a huge chip on his shoulder and even spending hours sitting at his bedside does little to make Lucas turn to him for help.

Lucas doesn’t want to think about what happened and Declan pushing to tell who hurt him only makes him angrier. Discharge time comes and with the barest of relationships in place, Lucas agrees to go home with Declan. As the investigation continues, the men grow closer. The question is whether their relationship can weather the truth once it’s revealed.

Wholehearted is the second release in Cate Ashwood’s Hope Cove series. Due to ongoing character relationships, I recommend the books be read in order.

We met Declan in Brokenhearted but he stayed in the background. I’m glad he’s the focus of this book and we get to learn more about him. I could tell he’s a sweet guy and the development of his personality in Wholehearted shows that to be true. Then there’s Lucas. The author did an equally nice job developing his personality. Yes, he’s snarky in the beginning but he’s been terribly hurt, so I can forgive his initial unpleasantness. Actually, very realistic reactions.

I expected this book to be excessively heavy but it isn’t. The author took a painful subject, added two likable, well crafted characters and ended up with a story with dark moments that isn’t allowed to become maudlin. The descriptions are vivid, secondary characters are well integrated and loose threads wrapped up by the end. This book, with its gay-beating topic, definitely isn’t for everyone but I don’t think its graphic enough to bother most readers. 
           
My niggles 1.Declan’s instant love of Lucas. What made the relationship believable is the time it took Lucas to get emotionally involved. 2. Declan should’ve been taken off the case immediately, once his involvement with Lucas became known. 3. I felt the reaction by Lucas is over the top and his forgiveness too quick for how angry he is. 

Even so, I enjoyed this entertaining book and getting to know Declan and Lucas.  One of the biggest surprises is the twist for Oliver and Mack, which came out of left field near the end. I can’t wait to see what this change brings in the future for them. As far as Lucas and Declan—these two had a rocky beginning but they do make a realistic couple, once they get past the bad parts. Look for Hayden in Ironhearted coming next. 

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