Title: Reckless Heart
Author: Amanda Young
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: Short Novel
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Jenre
The final book in the Reckless series sees bratty Milo being brought to his knees by the serious Cam, and a HEA that will appeal greatly to the fans of this series.
Cast out of the family home for being gay, Milo Santiago considers himself lucky to have a soft place to land. However, crashing with his older brother isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Desperate for an escape from his dismal reality, he turns to work and casual hookups to take his mind off his troubles.
He isn’t prepared for the Campbell Brooks or being rejected in front of all his coworkers. Another run in with the older, enigmatic man is serendipitous, but not entirely unwelcome once he gets a gander at Cam in a pair of tiny swim shorts. One hot night leads to a weekend of debauchery. Long before the weekend is through, Milo finds himself falling for the mysterious man who insists on keeping things casual. Milo doesn’t want to let Campbell go, but there doesn’t seem to be any other option.
Afterward, Milo isn’t sure if they’ve parted ways as friends or lovers. Cam’s eventual return leaves Milo with a hard choice. A little persistence could go a long way toward landing the man of his dreams. Or it could alienate Cam and send him running right back to New York for good.
I’ve enjoyed all the books in Amanda Young’s Reckless series and I’ve been looking forward to Milo’s story. He’s always come across as a bit of a bratty hot-head and so I was interested to see whether he could be a sympathetic hero. I needn’t have worried because there’s a good reason why Milo is as he is and I thought that part was handled well by the author.
The story begins with a dare. Milo works as a waiter, trying to scrape enough money together for college. He lives with his brother Dante, who was the hero of the first two Reckless books, but finds his brother’s overbearing nature wearing on his nerves. A fellow workmate dares Milo to chat up a gorgeous man who is eating alone at the restaurant and who has caught Milo’s eye. Milo is rejected by the man, Cam, but later bumps into him at a hotel swimming pool. There’s an attraction between them, but there’s a lot of problems in their way. Milo is younger and much poorer than Cam. Cam also lives and works in New York, miles and miles away from Milo’s Virginian town. A wedding and a funeral bring them together again, but they have to decide whether what they are feeling for each other is just lust, or something more.
As I said earlier, Milo is a bit of a brat. He’s 18, very conscious of his good looks and charm, but also has a habit of jumping to conclusions, losing his temper and sulking. In other words he’s a typical teenage boy! I wasn’t sure I was going to like him at first, but Milo has a lot of problems, many of which he faces with resignation and maturity. His brother Dante is much older than him and although they love each other, they tend to clash. Milo worries about this because he cannot afford to move out on his own, as well as slightly resents the fact he has to rely on his brother’s generosity. Milo (like Dante) has also been rejected by his family, and he finds it hard to cope with the loss of the family love he once took for granted. These problems combined to make Milo much more than the spoiled child he appeared in other books, and I found myself warming to him a great deal.
Cam too has family problems, which added to his characterisation. Having said that, Cam was not as well defined as he could have been. He acts like a much older man, and in fact when I discovered his age, I was very surprised as I thought he was about 10 years older than he is – probably because he is often referred to as “the older man”. I really wanted to know more about Cam, especially about his business, as this is only addressed slightly. We know that he runs his own company and that he spends a lot of time socialising with rich, influential people, but not much about the day to day side of his company and the specifics of what they do. I think this is partly because the book is mainly focused on Milo and their growing feelings for each other, plus Cam’s relationship with his father, but I would have still liked a little more about Cam, as he was an interesting character.
The problems that the heroes face in the story were realistic, as they cope with uncertainty over their feelings for each other and the logistics of a long distance relationship. I liked that there was no real impediment to their relationship, no big misunderstanding or falling out, just two men trying to work things out, much of which is done through fairly sensible conversation – in and amongst the hot sex. Milo is still very young but I felt that as a couple they complemented each other and was happy with the HEA.
As well as the relationship between Cam and Milo, this book also focuses on some of the other couples we have grown to love during the series. So, as is fitting for a final book in a series, we see Dante and Cody, Beau and Adam all carrying on with their HEAs. There’s also a ‘7 years later’ epilogue which I found a little too sweet, but many fans will adore.
Overall, I felt that this was a fitting end to the Reckless series. The book could be read as a stand-a-lone, but I would recommend you read the other books in the series first which are well worth reading anyway. As for Reckless Heart, it is a well written romance with engaging characters which I liked a great deal.