Rating: 4 stars out of 5
“There’s something about the way he’s looking at me now, determined. Like he might ruin me if given half the chance.”
Success can mean a lot of things. To me it meant living a lie and getting away with it.
But pretending is exhausting. My sister’s wedding in Italy was exactly what I needed. A week on the Amalfi coast with sunshine, wine, and zero complications.
Too bad the universe saw an opportunity to ruin that plan. Because what could be more complicated than the arrival of an attractive man who sees right through my act? One that is determined to remind me that you can’t hide who you really are.
What if he tells people my secret? Or, worse still, what if I can’t control these feelings. Because right now I’m feeling all sorts of things – fear, anger, lust…
No, I need to keep this thing under control. I can’t give in.
But what if, just once, I didn’t fight it?
After a series of bad decisions, running away to Italy seemed like the perfect escape. A fresh start in a new country. Nothing, and no one would bring me back to Ireland.
When I meet Adam at my friend’s wedding, I’m captivated. There’s something about this rugged stranger that makes me forget that I keep messing up every part of my life.
I know it’s a bad idea and I know I’m playing with fire. But when anger turns to passion I know I can’t stay away.
He can pretend all he wants but that man belongs in my bed. He might only be here for one week, but I intend to make the most of it.
After all, I can’t ask him for more when I’m not sure I’ll stick around.
But what if, this time, I didn’t run?
I thoroughly enjoyed His Heart or Mine (Individualists #1) by C.S. Joyce. The first in a new series, it also marked the first book by this author for me. Told in alternating points of view, we see two men bound for a destination wedding in Italy. For Adam, it’s his sister’s wedding he’s attending. He’s an Irishman so deeply in the closet that he doesn’t even admit to himself that he’s gay for fear that he’ll lose the tight control he’s administered over his life all these years in denial. On the other side of the aisle? That would be Jacob, coming in to see the groom, his friend from medical school get married. Jacob lives in Rome, Italy, a place he fled from Ireland after failing from completing med school with Michael. Jacob is happily out, teaching English, but feels a failure on so many other fronts and is about to run into the one man that will want him to change his fleeing ways.
Oh instant love. What a hard thing to get right and a theme I normally don’t go along with. Except here, in His Heart or Mine, the characters are so well done, the attraction and arguments for their chemistry so believable, that I connected to both men immediately. The author was quick not to dwell too long on any one factor, moving back and forth like you would in a good personal exchange, keeping the dialog lively and compelling. You got it why Adam couldn’t stay away from Jacob. And while the opposite was also true. These two men were made for each other.
As they argued, kissed, and kept coming back for each other, the secondary characters sort of blended into the background. That was a shame. I often feel a strong cast makes for a stronger story. I would have liked Michael and his bride to have had just as strong an impact on me as to give us more insight into the lead characters. I mean these two mean the world to Jacob and Adam, let us see why.
The backdrop of Italy, including Rome, is a lovely setting for most of this story and it adds to the flavor of their relatoinship and romance. I could feel that wonderful Italian heat soaking into everything through the vivid descriptions.
In short, this was a terrific romance with great characters and it will make me seek out more by this author. It will certainly have me waiting for the next release in this series. Love contemporary romance? Be sure to check out His Heart or Mine (Individualists #1) by C.S. Joyce. Its one I definitely recommend!
Cover Art: German Creative Design. I like this cover. That certainly looks like Adam but it could have used a backdrop otherwise its too generic.
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published September 13th 2018