Title: Never a Hero (Tucker Springs #5)
Author: Marie Sexton
Release Date: July 5, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 149
Reviewed by: Bob-O-Link
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A Tucker Springs Novel
Owen Meade is in need of a hero. Sheltered, ashamed, and ridiculed by his own mother for his sexuality, his stutter, and his congenital arm amputation, Owen lives like a hermit, rarely leaving his apartment. He hardly dares to hope for more… until veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.
Charming, handsome Nick steals past Owen’s defenses and makes him feel almost normal. Meeting his fiery, determined little sister, June, who was born with a similar amputation, helps too. June always seems to get her way—she even convinces Owen to sign up for piano lessons with her. Suddenly the only thing standing between Owen and his perfect life is Nick. No matter how much he flirts, how attracted to Owen he seems to be, or how much time they spend together, Nick always pulls away.
Caught between his mother’s contempt and Nick’s stubbornness, Owen makes a decision. It’s time to be the hero of his own story, and that means going after what he wants: not just Nick, but the full life he deserves.
First, the reader should take note that this novel is but one in a related series by some of today’s best M/M writers. If you enjoy this story, reward yourself by reading Books 1 – 4.
Second, about halfway through, this review will contain a spoiler alert. So, if you worry that it may affect your possible enjoyment, be prepared to quit reading!
Notwithstanding the Blurb, above, when the reader first meets Owen – a virgin at 28 – his sexuality is “still to be decided,” as he did have some teenage attractions to men. Unhappy in life – and with acutely poor timing, he fantasizes about his downstairs neighbor, just as she is moving out! That is offset with an unexpected attraction to Nick, his handsome “replacement” neighbor, whom he observes just as Nick is moving in.
Over the years, Owen has responded to his personal insecurities through self-isolation, in his work as well the balance of his daily life. Nonetheless, slowly, Mark and his sister June begin eroding those walls that Owen has built until Owen becomes besotted. (See, some Victoriana lives on!) Owen revels in Nick’s touch, and, despite his physical impairments, finally acknowledging to himself that humans don’t just want to be touched, they need it.
- Spoiler Alert:
- What’s a romance novel without the fillip of plot disruptions? The second half of Never a Hero has Owen and Nick dealing with the challenges of HIV and also the full blossoming of the poison ivy that is Owen’s mother. As to the former, this is a present situation with which too many readers may have familiarity. Ms. Sexton treats it realistically and with proper sensitivity. Also, for those who need it, the relevant facts are presented in an educational way.
As to “Mama Dearest,” what’s not to enjoy in a book where the evil parent is brought to heel?
Never a Hero always presents a genuine world, and the problems are also likely. Our main characters grow with these and they proceed to face them in a manner which will satisfy the time and effort we put into reading this moving story.