Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
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.
Although this is book five of the series, it’s the first one that I read or listened to, and I can vouch that it works wonderfully as a standalone. It’s my third read by this author, and I enjoyed it as much as prior experiences. I really need to remember and read more from her in future.
Although there was some angst, this story wasn’t dark despite that both characters had issues to deal with. It was well-written and thoroughly enjoyable story with characters caught my interest right away and made me care.
With one exception at the very end, I adored and felt so intensely for Owen. While some may feel that Owen’s mother was too over the top negative to be real, trust me, she’s not. I have had similar people in my life, so I recognized the type immediately and wanted to hug Owen. At least he had his father, and although it would have been nice if he’d been more of a shield, I could mostly understand. Listening to the story of Owen slowly coming out of his shell and blossoming into the person he should have been was beautiful. His story spoke to me because it showed so clearly how it isn’t only abuse that can have lasting effects on our lives, but that the words said to us as a child can affect our confidences and how we perceive ourselves and our abilities for the rest of our lives. Another thing I know first hand and struggle with each day myself.
As for Nick, I loved because he’s a vet and fellow dog lover as well as how good he was for Owen. How he showed him acceptance and helped him to find out he was a worthwhile person with no reason to hide away. But being one who isn’t a fan of secrets, his keeping one did bother me, especially in how long he let it go on despite his obvious attraction to Owen. Yes, he should have shared sooner, but none of us are perfect, and so I forgave him.
The secondary characters were well done and have made me interested in reading more of this series to learn their stories. But when I realized that all of the books are narrated by Iggy Toma, who narrated this one, I’ve decided that it’s the audios format I want to experience. He definitely brought another level to the experience. His voice is extremely easy to listen to, and he did an exceptional job of creating the sense of the various characters as well as putting emotion into the words he read.
If there was one thing that kept it from being a full on five stars for me, it was the ending of the epilogue. It just seemed so out of character to me, and what I believe was supposed to be humor, fell flat for me.
Nice cover by L.C. Chase with subdued pleasant colors and enough of the story woven into it through the images while at the same time consistent to the style of the series.
Published April 29th 2016 by Riptide Publishing (first published May 13th 2013)
Original TitleNever a Hero
SeriesTucker Springs #5
CharactersOwen Meade, Nick Reynolds settingTucker Springs, Colorado (United States)