A Stella Review: Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons #3) by Heidi Cullinan

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Rating:  4,5 stars out of 5

Lonely Hearts coverWith the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.

Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

“People moved on. Everyone did, eventually. Everyone but Baz”.

Elijah Prince is finally in a safe place. He’s really been through hell. After spent some time on the streets and being almost killed by his father, he’s trying to live his life. He’s got a job at a cafeteria for the summer and he’s waiting to move to the White House (not the one you’re thinking about, but if you have read Fever Pitch you already know it). Now it’s starting the real struggling, dealing with a lot of fears and panic attacks. Used to take care of himself since he was just a little baby, he’s not comfortable to receive kindness, to be cared of. He hides himself behind walls so high. Elijah is very lonely and unhappy. He’s not able to accept something, he’s scared of be a friend and have a friend. He always kept his pain closed away.

“[Elijah]I mean, I know I push people away, hurting them first so they can’t hurt me. I’m trying not to do that with most people, but I can’t stop with him. I want” […]“I want…him. A lot.

I maybe get a few good tries at not preemptively attacking him, and I fail…but he actually gets more aggressive then. The more I try to run, the more he wants me. I feel like he’s led me way out into the deep water where I can’t swim, and any second he’ll leave me to drown.”

“What in the deep water makes you so scared?”

It was a raging sea of terrible darkness in his mind. Huge, black, stormy. The emotion shafted him like cold light. “Loneliness. The water is full of loneliness.”

Sebastian “Baz” Acker has already saved Elijah once. But when Elijah’s dad tried to kill his son, Baz took a bullet in the shoulder to save him. And the need to protect the young man is still strong, still there in his soul.

Baz’s family is really rich, his uncle is a senator and his mum is running for a prestigious role in politic. When she wants him to attend a fundraiser with a boyfriend, Baz soon thinks about Elijah. After had sex at Kelly and Walter’s wedding, he had totally ignored Elijah for over a month. Baz is attracted to him cause Elijah is the only one to antagonize and keep him to his toes, to threat him as a normal person, where everyone in his life babies him.

Of course what started as a fake boyfriend is becoming to Baz a real one, he wants more from Elijah for the first time after a long time. He too has a painful past, physically and in his heart too, it’s time for someone to saves him from the daily pains he has to endure due to his disabilities and from the guilty he still feels about a dramatic event he couldn’t control.

“I…love you. I’m scared and I don’t want to, not anybody, but I do. Love you. And I don’t think I can stop.”

Hot breath exhaled on his cheek as Baz sighed, then nuzzled his temple. “I love you too.”

The story is detailed,  a specific feature of Heidi Cullinan’s writing style. It follows the MCs’ life together very well, let’s us know them and their feelings, their fears and most of all their incredible family, not the bloody one, but the true, faithful and stronger protective family of amazing friends. While both their families are non existent, there are a lot of people around them, their real family. There is a huge, pretty well-defined second characters cast: Marius and Damien are Baz best friends: Pastor Robert and his wife Liz, I loved how they cared for the boys, how they helped them in their job hunting or in their everyday activities. When Liz told Elijah “Oh, sweetheart. Come inside and let me wrap you in a blanket” I was so ready to let her adopt me too. Besides meeting Kelly and Walter (Love Lessons) and Aaron and Giles (Fever Pitch), Ed from Dance With Me appears in Lonely Hearts. I particularly liked when an author does this kind of mixing of  choices, I always crave to know more and more after the HEAs of my favorite couples. The book starts with Elijah taking part at the wedding of Kelly and Walter (Love Lessons) and I was so happy to know more about them, especially re-meet them at their wedding, a Disney theme wedding!

Apart from the not so ordinary lives Baz and Elijah have, one being trashed and left disabilitated, the other being almost killed by his own father (previous books), the story felt to me pretty real, especially in the dialogues between the characters. Only one thing I didn’t like: the easy way both of them used anxiolytics. Being there and struggling a lot to put them away, I wasn’t so comfortable at reading the easy way they took them and mixed with alcohol. At the same time I could understand the need and I so appreciate how the author chose to develop this need in the end.

I had to think a little about it, cause I honestly can say at the beginning it was hard to me to override what my mind was telling me and just let my heart show me how much I was loving the book, no matter what was happening at the moment. Most of all where the weed, alcohol, and xanax lead to some hot moments between Baz and Elijah. Nothing new in it because Heidi is really the QUEEN of hot scenes (have you read Special Delivery or Dirty Laundry? You know what I’m talking about).

I can’t talk of course of the ending but I want to tell you is just fantastic. It made me cry a little too. Just a little prayer to Heidi, I’m ready to begging, please can I have Lewis/Lejla in the next book, please?

Highly recommended. A great book with perfect writing.

Cover art by Kanaxa. I’m particularly loving this series’ covers. Really well done.

Sales Links:  Samhain Books     –    All Romance (ARe) –   Amazon  →  preorder/ Buy It Here

Book Details:

Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming men

ebook
Expected publication: August 11th 2015 by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
original titleLonely Hearts
ISBN139781619226692
edition languageEnglish
urlhttp://www.heidicullinan.com/Lonely-Hearts
seriesLove Lessons #3

Love Lessons series
Love Lessons #1
Frozen Hearts #1,5
Fever Pitch #2
Lonely Hearts #3

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