Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ARC Review: Love is Heartless (Love Can't Series, #2) by Kim Fielding

Small but mighty—that could be Detective Nevin Ng’s motto. Now a dedicated member of the Portland Police Bureau, he didn’t let a tough start in life stop him from protecting those in need. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, and he doesn’t do relationships. Until he responds to the severe beating of a senior citizen and meets the victim’s bow-tied, wealthy landlord.

Property manager and developer Colin Westwood grew up with all the things Nevin never had, like plenty of money and a supportive, loving family. Too supportive, perhaps, since his childhood illness has left his parents unwilling to admit he’s a strong, grown man. Colin does do relationships, but they never work out. Now he’s thinking maybe he won’t just go with the flow. Maybe it’s time to try something more exciting. But being a witness to a terrible crime—or two—was more than he bargained for.

Despite their differences, Colin and Nevin discover that sparks fly when they’re together. But sparks are short-lived, dampened by the advent of brutal crimes, and Colin and Nevin have seemingly little in common. The question is whether they have the heart to build something lasting.

Jewel's rating:

I loved Love is Heartless even more than I did Love Can't Conquer. I love flawed and damaged characters and Kim Fielding not only delivers on that, but also on the promised happy ending.

There are character crossovers from the first book, but I think you can read this one standalone, if you wish. I do recommend both books, though, and they each are distinct in their feel. The timelines for both Love is Heartless and Love Can't Conquer run fairly concurrent, as well. I did enjoy seeing Jeremy again, from another POV and I really loved getting to know Nevin more. I loved him in book 1, prickly, sweary attitude and all. I thought it might have been a cover to keep people from getting too close, and I was right.

Detective Nevin Ng is someone we met in Love Can't Conquer. He's 5' 4" of attitude. He's a friend of Jeremy Cox and is as prickly as a hedgehog, and pretty much as stubborn. I really liked him in book 1 and was rather looking forward to seeing him laid low by love. You see, Nevin isn't cut out for relationships. Love only leads to broken hearts and, well, Nevin isn't interested in any of that. And to prove it, he has a rule - never sleep with the same person twice. He's up front about it and isn't actually an asshole to his sexual partners, considering that many of them do want a second go.

Nevin grew up in the system and he didn't have an easy time of it. By the time he was 15, he was an angry young man and probably would have ended up in prison had it not been for one very caring cop. She made him see that he wasn't powerless and that he could aspire to help others. And so he did. He worked his ass off to get his degree and became a cop. Now, he's a detective in the Family Services division of the Portland Police Bureau. It's Nevin's job to protect and help the most helpless among us. The elderly, the physically or mentally impaired, and children. And inside that prickly exterior is the gooey center of a very caring man.

Colin Westwood, by contrast, comes from a wealthy and privileged family. He's never really wanted for anything. But his family is remarkably down to earth and very supportive of him, though his mom can be rather overbearing sometimes, and Colin takes nothing for granted. Colin knows just how fragile life can be, considering he spent a fair amount of his childhood in and out of hospitals for a heart condition he was born with. So Colin never really rocks the boat. He tends to go with the flow. Sadly, that tendency has gotten him into some relationships with men who weren't worthy. But he still had dreams of finding his Prince Charming and living happily ever after.

Colin works for his father's property development firm, and when one of their elderly rental tenants calls almost weekly to report something broken, Colin always goes, even though he knows that there is probably nothing really wrong, except a little bit of loneliness on the part of the tenant. And Colin never acts like it's an inconvenience, because he really is a nice guy and he genuinely cares.

Nevin and Colin are in many ways, opposites. Nevin is prickly and Colin laid back. Nevin wears bespoke suits (off the rack doesn't fit him) and Colin loves plaids and bow ties. Nevin is more of a tom cat where sex is concerned and Colin is a relationship kind of guy. Their backgrounds could not be more different, but they just worked. And I absolutely loved when Colin would get all toppy during sex, even when he was bottoming. It was hawt.

And there was no magic cure for Nevin's fear of commitment, which I appreciated. Nevin was always up front about what he felt he could give and Colin gave him the time and space to figure things out. And Nevin made efforts to talk himself off the ledge when he started to get freaked out by everything. They just complimented each other so well, it was inevitable that they would end up together.

There was a bit of a mystery plot that ran throughout the book, as well, that I am happy didn't overtake things. Someone is killing elderly people and the one thing they all have in common in Colin. But he's never a suspect, thankfully. This plot was pretty minor, though, and so even though the big reveal of the bad guy kind of made me scratch my head, I just let it go. The real story is about Nevin and Colin, and I loved every second of that.


ARC of Love is Heartless was generously provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

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