Unlikely Hero (NeRdyWYRM’s Review)


review master
Title: Unlikely Hero
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: (2009) Re-release November 20, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romancw
Page Count: 210 pages
Reviewed by: NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Blurb:

Eric doesn’t know where else to turn when his daughter is kidnapped, so he calls on his powerful ex-lover, Brock. Brock never expected to hear from Eric again, but he never got over the man, either. When Eric comes to him to help find the three-year-old Josie, there’s no way Brock can turn him down. He has the money and the contacts Eric needs, and he can’t let Eric walk out of his life again. Not after all these years.

Brock has no idea what he’s letting himself in for. Together, Eric and Josie turn Brock’s world upside down while they work with police and private security to find the people who took Josie, and to keep Eric and Josie safe while they do. Even as they get to know each other again, Brock has to fight the feelings he still has for Eric, at least for time being, which just makes it all that much harder. Can Eric and Brock find out who wants to hurt them before it’s too late, or will Brock fall off his pedestal as Eric’s hero?


Well Whaddya Know?

I’ve read some of this author’s more recent works and always came away with the thought, “One-trick pony.” The things I’ve read by Sean Michael lately have basically been PWP. Imagine my surprise when I discovered this re-release of a 2009 publication was not that. Was it spectacular? No. Was it a compulsive page-turner? No. Was it an improvement on everything else I’ve read by this author? Yes. It begs the question: What happened? But really, that’s academic and not really the point of this review.

The writing here was still a little drama-llama OTT, I must admit, but by the gods, there was a PLOT! Call the presses. And as plots go, it wasn’t bad. I really don’t have too much to say on this one except don’t rule it out based on more recent books by Sean Michael. If PWP isn’t your thing, that’s a plus in this case. I dinged this one for too-frequent use of sappy endearments and an oddly easy slide into a second-chance theme with one of the MCs being oddly on the fence for some very, very shallow reasons which I didn’t appreciate.

unamused dean

I’m a firm believer that a child or children should not be the thread that binds or the glue that holds a relationship together. It seemed that was the case with this book, at least to a point. If nothing else, Eric’s little girl was a catalyst for the MCs reconciliation. That’s a lot of weight for a 4-year old recent kidnap victim to carry even if the burden was only hers alone for a finite period of time. Little Lily was like a magical love magnet drawing supposedly latent potential for change out of our Unlikely Hero.

Things just don’t work that way as far as my experience goes, not with high-powered, self-centered types anyway. Stranger things have happened I guess, and if nothing else, I did believe that the MCs really loved each other and circumstances or personalities or differing values were what tore them apart before. All in all, the resolution and subsequent 180 on the part of Brock in terms of his beliefs about hearth and home and family weren’t completely outside of the realms of possibility, just … well, unlikely.

unlikely

That said, this was a cutesy, fluffy read with some angsty external influences but (thankfully) there was very little back-and-forth or miscommunication and misunderstanding within the actual relationship. Undeserved hero complexes aren’t really my thing and Brock had that in spades. He was also a little Richard Gere, throwing money at every-damned-thing just because he could. I couldn’t fault him for helping with ransom money and keeping Eric and Lily, etc. safe, but everything else? Sigh.

I liked watching Brock’s turnaround and found his terror of all things small human both humorous and endearing even though his personality overall wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. Same thing goes for Eric’s overly … homemakerish, crybaby crapola. He was a little too needy for my tastes and came across as weak sometimes. I guess it was a good foil for Brocks assertiveness, but I felt those personality characteristics could have been conveyed more effectively and believably without emasculating Eric and turning Brock into kind of an overtly assholish closet softy. It was … a little perplexing and slightly contradictory.

alternate reality

Overall, I enjoyed this book mainly because it was nice to see that Sean Michael is capable of more than erotica masquerading as romance. I’d like to see an evolution back in that direction in the future, but who knows why that hasn’t already been the case in recent years. I wouldn’t read this title again, but I would recommend it as a relatively stress-free read with a decent plot, okay characters, and some steamy bedroom scenes.

If you need a break from higher-octane reads, this one would be a good, pressure-free choice. No pressure to keep track for a sequel, no pressure to expect more than what the blurb implies, and no pressure to be overly invested after you turn the last page. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need that kind of read and this one certainly fits the bill.

This review cross-posted at Goodreads.
Other reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be read here.

Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.


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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Unlikely Hero provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

Author

I am a life-long reader and an avid learner. I remember reading books without pictures when I was about four, and raided every title on my parents’ full and intimidating book shelves—well, the ones they would let me read, anyway—from then on. Characters written by authors like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, and Anne McCaffrey were my childhood playmates.

Back then, I went nowhere unless I had a book in my hand. While the rest of my generation was shifting from cassettes to CDs and from Atari to Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation, I spent my allowance on Myth & Magic pewter figurines and on books at the Stars and Stripes bookstore. These days I don’t have a book in my hand anymore, at least not the printed variety. Instead, it’s any device with a Kindle app.

I stubbornly held on to the printed page until a military move weighed my book collection in at over a ton. Oops. Sorry-not-sorry, but I did have to exercise some pragmatism in that area, unfortunately. Now I only buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, the classics, or long-running series. Otherwise, I’ve surrendered to the times and our weight allowance and have gone all digital.

I stay strictly on the fiction side of the fence because non-fiction is generally too dry to hold my interest. I was always a scholar, and so have read enough textbook-like titles and required reading for school and college to last me a lifetime, thank you very much. So, non-fiction? No, thanks. However, barring non-fiction and biographies (ewww people), there’s not much out there I won’t read.

I have loved romance novels since I was prepubescent. Something about historicals and anything with horses, i.e., Native American inspired romances just did it for me. My grandmother was appalled that my parents let me read that ‘smut’ as she called it. I’d already justified my position on being allowed to read those controversial titles with a logical argument that there were a lot of historical facts in those books that couldn’t be learned in the classroom alone. And to this day, I maintain that stance. I have learned more from books, specifically romance and fantasy novels, than I ever did in a classroom.

~~wink-wink~~

My dad always said I was too smart for my own good. Looking back, he was probably right! I could logically talk my way into and out of just about anything. It’s served me well, but caused me no end of problems, too. That said, despite my love for the romance genre in general and the m/m romance genre in particular, there is little chance that a decent book of any kind will fail to catch my interest, and there’s nothing at all I’m unwilling to learn. So bring it on. I hope you enjoy my reviews.

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