Title: Hero
Author: Jessica Freely
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: Novella
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A guest review by Jenre

Summary Review
This sort of prequel to Rust Belt is a delightful revisiting of the characters of David and Seth.


David is lonely, bored, and a virgin. He lives through books, but fears life is passing him by. Then one night he’s attacked by a gang and rescued by a real-life hero. Sexy, mysterious Seth seems to have stepped right off the pages of an adventure novel. Yet he has no place to call home. When David invites him in, a thank you dinner escalates into passion, and Seth makes all David’s pent-up fantasies come true.

Seth wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life loving and protecting David, but his brutal past makes that impossible. Just being around Seth puts David at risk and Seth will stop at nothing to keep him safe, even if it means breaking his heart.

David is determined to keep Seth off the streets and in his bed, but all is not as it seems. Seth has terrible scars he won’t talk about, and sometimes, he wakes up in the night screaming. When David discovers Seth is linked to a murder, he’s determined to learn the truth, but he may find out more than he wants to know. How far is David willing to go to rescue his hero?


Hero is an amalgamation of three short stories previously released by Torquere Books, but now redrafted to make a novella. I takes place within the same time frame as Rust Belt, a previous book by this author which I reviewed here, and shares some similar scenes. In fact the first part of this book covers the same plot as the first 10-15 pages of Rust Belt, but takes it from the point of view of David, whereas Rust Belt is from Seth’s point of view. I actually found this very interesting and went back and re-read the beginning of the two books together to compare how the two characters were feeling during the events that happen at the beginning of both books which was strangely pleasing!

David works long hours in a bookstore and has to walk home late at night through an unsavoury part of town. One night he is followed and attacked by a group of three men who, when they discover that David has no cash, attempt to rape him. Before anything too serious can happen, David is rescued by Seth, the homeless guy who lives on the streets near the bookstore. David invites Seth back to his apartment, thus beginning a relationship which is both pleasurable but also full of secrets.

Those readers, like me, who enjoyed Rust belt will enjoy this book too as much of what I liked about Rust Belt is present in this story. David is just such a lovely guy. He’s lonely and looking for someone to love and take care of him. Seth fits that gap perfectly as he’s a natural protector but also a gentle man who longs for somewhere safe from all the bad things which have happened to him. The fact that I really liked both men and was genuinely interested in their feelings for each other went a long way to my enjoyment of this book.

As I said earlier the story follows the same path as Rust Belt, but adds more detail, filling in a space in Rust Belt between the meeting of the heroes and a section which moves the plot forward by a few weeks. It’s those few weeks that we get to read about in Hero, as we follow the two men as they learn to love each other, explore their sexual relationship and overcome some problems which crop up as a result of the attack on David and Seth’s feelings of inadequacy. This meant that the story was focused solely on the two men and their developing feelings which led to there being several tender and beautifully written sex scenes, but also a number of times where the men talk, laugh and just enjoy each other’s company – something I found quite charming.

You don’t need to have read Rust Belt to read Hero, as this novella works well on its own. However, you may find yourself wanting to read Rust Belt afterwards as Hero, despite having a perfectly satisfying conclusion, leaves a few parts open ended which are then addressed in Rust Belt.

If you’re looking for a sweet and charming romance with a touch of emotion, then Hero will be ideal. I liked it, and would recommend it to those who are looking for a romance with a pair of very likeable heroes.


  • Jen
    I seem to be liking a few angsty books (not too many) and this one and Rust Belt might be good in between my more action oriented stories. LOL Great job linking both books and I’ll definitely read them together since that’s what you’re recommending.

    I’ll be interested in your answer to A Note In The Margin since the plots of the two books seem quite different except for Seth living on the streets.

    • Hi Wave

      Yes, these books work best when read as a pair. I didn’t think either of the books were too heavy on the angst, more emotional than angsty, if you get what I mean.

      As I said to Feliz, these books only have the homeless theme as link. They are quite different books.

  • Thanks for the review, Jen, both books sound like something I’d want to read. Am I mistaken or is there a certain likeness to “A Note in the Margin”?

    • Hi Feliz
      The only similarity between Hero and A Note in the Margin is that Seth has lived on the streets for a while and that he’s got some self-esteem issues, linked with that, but it’s nowhere near the serious problems that David from ANITM copes with. This book contains a lot less emotional drama that ANITM.

    • Hi Chris
      I think that it would possibly work best if you read Hero before Rust Belt because Rust Belt takes the relationship on from the plot of Hero, if you see what I mean.

  • I am so glad you wrote this review, I have read Rust Belt and liked it but when I read the blurb about Hero I was a little confused about it in relation to Rust Belt. Now that you have cleared it up I will put it on my buy list.

    • Hi Amanda
      I was a bit confused too because the blurb for Hero sounded so similar to the plot of Rust Belt. I ended up contacting the author and she explained how the books fitted together.

      Hope you enjoy it :).

  • Ooh, I haven’t read either of them, but will do now. Thanks, Jen. (As for Rust Belt? Holy Hot Coverguys!)

  • Whoo-hoo! I have Internet again and can comment instead of just read from my Blackberry! The withdrawals were fierce, let me tell you. No more unpacking will take place until I’ve caught up with reviews. Great review, Jenre, and this sounds like one of those lovely, angsty stories that I so love.

    • Hi Eden
      I was wondering why you hadn’t been commenting. Glad to know you’re back in internet land :).

      This was a little but angsty and a lot lovely, so should be just your thing :).

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