Everyone deserves a hero.
Owen Meade is desperately in need of a hero. Raised by a mother who made him ashamed of his stutter, his sexual orientation, and his congenitally amputated arm, Owen lives like a hermit in his Tucker Springs apartment. But then hunky veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.
Nick is sexy and confident, and makes Owen comfortable with himself in a way nobody ever has. He also introduces Owen to his firecracker of a little sister, who was born with a similar congenital amputation but never let it stand in her way. When she signs the two of them up for piano lessons - and insists that they play together in a recital - Owen can't find a way to say no. Especially since it gives him a good excuse to spend more time with Nick.
Owen knows he's falling hard for his neighbor, but every time he gets close, Nick inexplicably pulls away. Battling his mother's scorn and Nick's secrets, Owen soon realizes that instead of waiting for a hero, it's time to be one - for himself and for Nick.
©2013 Marie Sexton (P)2016 Riptide Publishing
Goodreads reviewer and blogger... also dentist and wife/mom when I get the time!
I went back and forth on how to rate this book for some time, really putting it off for awhile and letting it marinate in my head. Some books, after reading them, tend to stick with me in a positive way, and I'll think about the characters and romance for weeks. Some books, like this one, stick with me for the wrong reasons.
*WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!!*
I find it impossible to talk about this book without going into some major spoilers. I'll start with the stuff that I liked, which is spoiler-free, but most of the parts that I didn't enjoy have to do with one MAJOR spoiler.
To start, I liked the narration by Iggy Toma, who always does a good job with his audiobooks. He was a very easy listen, with good differentiation between voices and a lot of emotion there. Though some of his voices aren't my favorite, tone-wise, he still always pleases me with his narrating skills.
I'm always looking for romances with a hero/heroine with a disability. Interestingly enough, though I have a neighbor with an amniotic band constriction resulting in the loss of her arm, I had no idea it was as common as I was led to believe in the story. Actually, after doing some research with my best friend, who is a midwife, amniotic band constrictions are fairly common, but most are very minor and don't result in the loss of a limb or finger.
I really appreciated the fact that Marie Sexton included a character with such a obvious physical disability, and, as some of you may know, love a character with a stutter. Combine that with the fact that Owen was a VIRGIN... whew, you would think that Marie Sexton had this in the bag... right???
I really hate when characters flip flop between hot and cold and don't properly communicate. It really irks me, just as it irks me in real life when people behave like that. I didn't love Nick's attitude, and I didn't get a good vibe from their relationship. I felt like Nick was taking advantage of Owen at times, and I didn't enjoy that.
I also REALLY hate the typical cruel mother, who was over-the-top here, and the melodrama with the mother/father dynamics. It felt too contrived to me. It wasn't my biggest complaint about the story, but I wasn't too pleased with it either.
My breaking point had to do with Nick's secret. Though this book was written a few years ago, it was NOT written in 1988. Simple thing that all M/M authors should know, and all of their CHARACTERS who are affected with this condition should know: HIV does NOT = AIDS. It just doesn't. AIDS hysteria and the lack of common sense awareness about HIV simply does not make sense with any gay characters after 2010. Sure, characters could be freaked out by HIV, but I would think they would know basic facts, like you are extremely, EXTREMELY unlikely to get HIV from a blow job from someone with HIV. And to have a character who is HIV+ refer to himself as having AIDS... just makes no sense. As someone with a relative who is HIV+ and who has lost another relative from AIDS, this is a subject close to my heart. I knew from a very, very young age that you can't get HIV from kissing.
This book just triggered me quite a bit, and the more I thought about the book, the more upset I got. I'd say, listen with caution.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Owen has one shortened arm – since birth – and in his mind it defines who he is and prevents him from ever “being the hero”. He also has a stutter and is very socially anxious. When the new neighbor moves in below him, he knows his denial about his sexuality won’t stand in the face of his attraction to Nick.
Nick is everything Owen isn’t – on the surface. Though Nick is attracted to Owen, he keeps giving off mixed signals. Eventually Owen confronts him about this and thus starts their on again/off again relationship.
Without giving any spoilers Nick is hiding something, and this keeps him from being with Owen or anybody else. His guilt is extreme and being lonely is one way he punishes himself.
Eventually both men exorcise their demons (to an extent) and we get a HFN.
The Tucker Springs series is full of some heavy subjects. Every book seems to have a big “issue” that gets discussed/overcome/explained away/etcetera. For Nick his guilt is his issue and for Owen his lack of self-confidence.
I think that I’m in the minority when I say that this was my least favorite books in the series. I know many others really loved and bonded with these guys, but to me they never felt as authentic as the characters in the other books.
While I loved some of the unique twists and turns in this story (*** small spoiler warning – Owen TOPS! ***) and things that come about that you wouldn’t expect – I was disappointed in the way Nick’s “issue” is handled.
On the other side of the coin – I loved how Owen’s “issue” is handled. The metaphor of the hero, the references to “lending a hand”, the use of the piano as a tool to let him do something he dreamed he’d never do… these were all wonderfully creative and well done. In fact, they were so well done that it made Nick look even more whiny and I didn’t like his character nearly enough for Owen. As a result, my lack of affection for Nick colored my enjoyment of the whole story.
I think Marie is an excellent writer and this was a compelling story, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by the “feels” this couple invoked.
Story 3.5 of 5 stars
Iggy Toma is very easy to listen to. There are no sound issues or consistency problems, he’s good with emotion and pacing. He didn’t do a lot to differentiate voices, but it was always clear who was speaking. But, I don’t think he added in the extra flair that I’ve seen in other narrations – the acting, if you will. When delivering a groaned out bit of dialog, he doesn’t groan, but speaks the line and tells us it was groaned. I miss those extra touches. That being said, it was a good narration, just not superlative.
Narration 4.5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars
I love to read any genre and most topics. I like diversity and engaging characters. I write, garden, cook,craft and chill with my furbabies
: I don’t know where to start so I think I will go with AMAZING! That pretty much sums up the characters, the story, and the narration.
Own has been infatuated with his neighbor since he moved to Tucker Springs. When she suddenly moves he is hurt but more that he no longer gets to hear the piano that soothed him nightly. Owen has one arm due to a birth defect and a mother that left him with no confidence so he works from home and is a hermit. When Nick moves in below him and isn’t put off by his arm his life begins to change. Nick introduces him to his sister who also has the same birth defect but the opposite arm and she handles it the opposite as Owen.
Nick also has a secret that makes him keep men at a distance and won’t give into a relationship, but he finds Owen hard to resist.
This is such a lovely story of two men each with his own issue that seriously affects his life. I adored Nick and was so glad to finally get his story. It was better than I hoped for. The story has a lot of angst, some sad moments but I loved the ending. It’s the first in a while that left me laughing.
I adore Iggy Tomas narrations. He is good at bringing characters to life but even more so at bringing a story to life. I love his soothing voice and could listen to it for hours. Well I guess I do!
If you like stories about broken men, a few surprises, unlikely heroes and an allover great romance I highly recommend this book.
If you haven’t read or listened to any of the other Tucker Springs books don’t worry each stands alone but I highly recommend them all.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
It is one of the sweetest stories I've ever read and listened to. I bought the book first, it was the first in the Tucker Springs series that I read, and I loved it and was super-thrilled it got an audio. I love how it was a pretty simple story, but it was never boring or dull, just sweet and gentle and a great read/listen.
I've listened to several of his before. I love all the many subtle different voices he uses. Very good. He is one of my favorite narrators.
This was NOT the story I thought I was getting based on the blurb. I was extremely worried that this would be that “perfect” book. You know the one where the MCs are perfectly perfect for each other, understand each other perfectly, forgive each other for any infraction because they “understand” and are always perfectly able to know what is in the heart of this person they just met. You know, that story where everything lines up just right so that the insta-love is accepted and sap overflows!
Well I am so happy to say this was NOT that story. Yes, there were some things that were a bit too perfect, like Nick having a sister with the exact same disability as Owen and the way Nick always knew just what Owen needed. But that was so minor in comparison to the rest of the content.
I really thought this was going to be all about Owen and his growth and development of a backbone. But then Nick starting showing signs of baggage and I NEEDED to know why he kept pushing Owen away when this was Owen’s story. AS the author continued to string me along, I kinda had an idea of what it would be, but when it was confirmed, I was still shocked. Not so much shocked at the revelation, but that the author allowed her characters to have imperfect, human reactions and express their fear of the unknown naturally. It was a very good shock!
I hated that Owen and Nick had to go through the pain and hurt expressed in this story. But at the same time I loved it. Their stories were real! They were hurtful, they were ugly, they were whiney and self deprecating. These men were scared and reacted badly. They were blunt in expressing tough love to the other. They reverted back to childish ways when faced with external assholes. Yet in the end, they WERE perfect for each other. Because they were human and fought and misunderstood, but they worked on all that because they valued the other. The romance was a bit rushed for my taste, but the book as a whole was utterly satisfying and another great addition to the Tucker Springs world. I can’t wait for Nathan’s story!
Iggy Toma is the master at narrating angst and sadness. His voice and style really bring out the flaws as well as the hope in these characters. I enjoy listening to him and thought he did very well with this story.
Reviewer for Delighted Reader Blog
One of the best. It pulled me in immediately, had me liking the characters, and cheering them on. The narrator was a good match for the story and his storytelling allowed me to admire his work even while I could forget he was there and just enjoy the story.
There are several. This was an emotional story.
The point when Nick's secret came out.
When Owen stood up to his mother. When Owen chose to go for his own happiness.
This would be the heartbreaking long scene when Owen learns the truth. The emotion was raw and real and heartbreaking.
Yep. I got vested and I just wanted to keep going. It helped that it wasn't that long and I listened to it in two sittings.
This is book five in the Tucker Springs series, but can be listened to as a standalone. Recurring characters appear, but it wasn't like a new reader would be confused by it.
I received this book from Riptide Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.