Title: Strength of His Heart (Enhanced #4)
Author: Victoria Sue
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 11, 2018
Page Count: 214
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Enhanced World: Book Four
To protect and serve…. All Vance Connelly ever wanted to do was continue his family’s tradition and join the Tampa Police Department, but his dreams were crushed the day he woke with the enhanced mark on his face. After years of struggling to adjust to life as an enhanced human, by a stroke of luck, he met Talon Valdez and became a proud member of the FBI’s Human Enhanced Rescue Organization.
Samuel “Angel” Piper is eager to leave his DEA undercover work behind as he joins the HERO team as Vance’s regular human partner. But Sam’s painful past is ever present, just below the surface of the life he has built for himself as an ambitious young agent. When the team investigates rumors of a new drug using enhanced blood, the case’s mysterious connection to Sam threatens not just his life but Vance’s.
Trust doesn’t come easy for Sam, but Vance is willing to fight to convince his partner that the strength of his heart might be the salvation they both need.
Not recommended as a stand-alone. Please read Five Minutes Longer, Who We Truly Are, and Beneath this Mask to establish the characters and background.
Trigger warning: if references to sexual abuse cause you any kind of discomfort, you might want to take a pass on this. I was somewhat uncomfortable by just how much child abuse is mentioned and discussed in this installment.
As this series unrolls, I’ve come to realize nearly everyone is coping with issues of abandonment, neglect, abuse, lack of self-worth and poor self-esteem to various degrees. And this book was no exception.
Sam, aka “Angel”, carries his past close to his chest as he tries to leave it behind. Abused by his father, pimped out by his mother, and being abandoned define who he is and his lack of trust issues. He’s determined to climb the ranks in whatever alphabet agency will accept him.
Vance is part of the Connelly clan, known through the police department and beyond. An enhanced with tremendous size and strength, he’s hyper aware of his bulk and ability to inadvertently hurt people. At heart, he’s a gentle giant who’s been quietly crushing on Sam ever since there were paired together.
Despite my misgivings about the aforementioned abuse, I enjoyed this story more so than the last two. I enjoyed the emotional dynamic between Sam and Vance. It felt balanced to me, a mutual understanding of what each man is coping with and what they each have to offer to a relationship. While they are entirely capable of being independent, together they are so much stronger. I loved watching them come to the realization as to what they meant to each other.
All our favorite (and not so favorite characters) make an appearance in book #4. Here too, I liked how the team offered their support but it wasn’t so…in your face. The group felt like a bunch of brothers – they make you angry, they annoy you, but they always have your back. I like that dynamic.
I got the impression there might be another installment – I certainly hope so because I would read it.