Never A Hero (CrabbyPatty’s Review)

Title: Never a Hero (Tucker Springs #5)
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: July 5, 2019
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 149
Reviewed by: CrabbyPatty
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.

PLEASE NOTE: This is the first Tucker Springs series book I’ve read, and it works very well as a stand-alone, although characters from other books make brief cameos.

Owen has burrowed himself into a life revolving around his duplex apartment – he works from home, has his groceries delivered, and has no close personal relationships. He listens to his downstairs neighbor play the piano at night and wishes he could marry her. Not because he’s attracted to her, but it would make his mother happy and he wouldn’t be so lonely.

Owens’ mother is a stone-cold b@tch, easily edging out Joan Crawford for The Worse Mother EVER. Owen’s left lower arm is missing due to an congenital amputation / amniotic band restriction before birth and all his life, Owen’s mother has belittled, demeaned and bullied him, resulting in his childhood stutter and low self-esteem. Owen thinks of himself as “a one-armed shut-in with borderline social anxiety.” You basically want to shelter Owen and protect him from the world, while gently nudging him out of the nest and into a nice relationship.

Friendly, charming and smokin’ hot Nick moves into the lower duplex apartment with his “girls” – his three dogs – and it soon becomes apparent Nick is that nice guy that Owen deserves. Nick’s sister had an amniotic band restriction as well (her right arm rather than Owen’s left) and Nick truly understands. And Owen likes Nick for so many reasons: “Because he was patient. Because he was direct yet not insensitive. Because he never laughed at me, and he made me feel safe.” But … Nick has a secret …

Nick describes himself as dying of HIV and has decided to never again have an intimate relationship. Knowing this book is a reissue, I first checked to see if the book was originally printed many years ago, but it first published in 2013. Nick’s attitude seems a bit …. archaic given the incredible advances in treatment and longevity.
… and I should have trusted in Marie Sexton because she resolves the secret and its impact on Nick’s life quite perfectly as Owen confronts him:

[…] I’m tired of watching you act like some kind of martyr. This is about you. […] You choose to let it define you. […] It’s about your issues … your determination to let it dictate how you spend the rest of your life.

And Sexton uses this moment to illustrate how Owen used to do the same thing with his life, letting his missing arm define his life. This ties the whole love story together with a big red HEA ribbon. Well done! 4 strong stars for “Never a Hero.”

Tucker Springs Series

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Galley copy of Never a Hero provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader