Title: A Heart’s Desire
Author: Kris Michaels
Publisher: Troll River Publications
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Page Count: 188
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Agent McKenzie is nobody’s ‘yes’ boy and has the letters of reprimand to prove it.
He smells the stink of political maneuvering in this case and he can see the handwriting on the wall. Hell, the words are three feet high and written in crayon. Someone in his own agency wants a target on Liam Mercier’s back but McKenzie would be damned if he’d put one there. The damaged man currently in his custody needs his protection, not manipulation. That’s why he’d agreed to use a safe house that was off the grid. Throwing away his rarely used FBI procedure book had nothing to do with the protective urges he felt around Liam. Nope, not a damn thing to do with heavy doses of desire, or spikes of lust. He was just doing his job, after all, he has a killer to catch and a victim to keep alive. Protecting his best bet of taking that sick bastard down was his civic duty.
Forced to face the nightmares of his past or lose his pension, Liam Mercier did the only thing he could do. He walked back into his personal hell. The man assigned to protect him is everything Liam wanted and needed—four years ago. Leaving the small island of sanity he’d been existing on could cost him everything. But being hunted by a genius, sadistic killer without the protection of the sexy, intense, agent was a guaranteed death sentence. Fate had dictated Liam’s course four years ago. The only thing he questioned was when his killer going to finish his work.
This is a M/M detective romance with high energy same sex relationships. Trigger warnings for physical and sexual violence.
How much do I enjoy emotionally and physically broken men in my books? Probably a lot more than I should admit in public.
There is just something about a vulnerable man and his knight-in-shining-armor that gets the butterflies going in my gut.
A Heart’s Desire has the kind of broken man I love in Liam Mercier. Ex-FBI, gay, outed and then ostracized by his former co-workers, healing from physical trauma after a run-in with a serial killer and not healing at all emotionally after a run-in with a serial killer. He has completely shut himself off from the world, living alone with his giant therapy Maine Coon cat Phil.
I mean, could it be any more perfect? Um, yep! Because then big, hot hunky Special Agent Steele McKenzie enters the picture and he has a nurturing streak a mile wide. When he sets his sights on Liam, he turns into a protective alpha male with a gooey middle. I absolutely loved the way Steele comforted Liam. Here is some nightmare angst:
Strong, solid warmth enveloped him and Liam dove toward the source. Wrapped securely in Steele’s arms, pulled between his muscular thighs, gripped firmly into a hard, muscled chest, Liam burrowed closer.
Nightmares are a particular weakness of mine.
While everything was just peachy and I was in my happy place, I have to say that once the sex started, it killed my buzz. The sex started and I lost the hurt/healing/comfort vibe that had my heart racing. Maybe it happened too fast? Maybe Liam wasn’t as broken as I thought he was? Maybe Steele wasn’t as respectful as he should have been given Liam’s demons? Maybe because the pet names started as soon as they both came? I’m not sure. Probably all four. And that was a bummer.
The mystery side of the story was interesting and held my attention, but mystery/suspense almost always takes a backseat to the romance in any book I read. Be sure to heed the trigger warnings, because this book is quite graphic. The serial killer is a sadistic maniac and Ms. Michaels left no gory detail unturned. There is a twist at the end that surprised me, and that is always a good thing.
While I enjoyed the first half of this book very much, I did not like the second half. Yes, the sex was hot and plentiful, but I missed the emotional connection once the boys hit the sheets. I wouldn’t say is was “sexual healing” (I usually eat that shit up) but Steele lost some of his knight-in-shining-armor characteristics once he started fucking the man he was supposed to be comforting.
Side note: I’m a freak when it comes to dogs and sort-of a freak when it comes to cats. Steele was an asshole to Liam’s cat, so that is why I rounded this one down a star on GoodReads.
Determination won over the spike of adrenaline Phil induced, because it wasn’t fear. Nope, he was not afraid of the fur ball. At all. If the rat bastard so much as hissed at him, he’d dropkick it or shoot it—if he could catch it. The vermin was surprisingly fast.