Title ~ Wounded Hearts
Authors ~ Remmy Duchene & BLMorticia
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 17th July 2015
Genre ~ Contemporary M/M Romance
Zane Ashford’s stint in the NYPD comes to an abrupt halt when he is injured in the line of duty. After waking up partially blind in one eye, all he wants to do is crawl into a hole, but his friends and family won’t leave him alone. Reluctantly, he lets his best friend talk him into time away on a ranch in Montana. But the moment he gets there and meets Cyrus Abrams, Zane begins to contemplate murder.
Cyrus Abrams is vulgar, ornery, stuck in his ways, and not about to change for anyone, no matter how good Zane Ashford looks in those jeans. The more they lock horns, the more Cyrus begins to see Zane in a whole new light. But Cyrus has a past, one that left him in big trouble and more broken than he cares to admit—a past no one told Zane about. Cyrus fears that when Zane finds out, everything will come to a screeching halt.
Wounded NYPD officer Zane “Ash” Ashford goes to Montana to heal, get some peace and quiet and concentrate on something other than his future in law enforcement on the ranch owned by the sexy, older Cyrus Abrams, friend of his best friend Ren. The two men are opposites in every way. Cy is an ornery, crass, loner, still mourning the death of his lover Danny who was killed five years ago. Cy spent some time in prison after being wrongly accused of the killing and even though Danny was a criminal, Cy knows nobody could ever replace him in his heart so one-nighters it is. Zane is planning to concentrate on his health and his drawing and photography. The two men quickly butt heads, and though they both have a physical attraction, Zane is not someone who does casual sex.
The story started off well. Zane is an immediately likeable character in a bad situation. His whole life is changed in one moment. Although he has great support from his sister, his best friend and his work partner, he needs to come to terms with losing most of the sight in one eye and possibly never being able to work on the streets again. Time away from the city seems like the perfect thing. We get points of view from both men but still, Cy was a bit harder for me to connect with. He comes off as a real jerk and has a way of talking that seems to always come out as obnoxious. They have a strong physical attraction and though Cy is so hung up on his dead lover, he is finally feeling something for someone else almost from the moment they meet. Zane lays down the law pretty early on that he is looking for a husband not a quickie, Cy lets it be known that he isn’t that kind of man, but soon that all goes out the window.
After they first hook up, they fall out again and there is a lot of back and forth. Cy starts thinking maybe he can do long term with Zane, but Zane is thinking maybe Cy is just saying it to get him back in bed. The relationship runs hot and cold for the entire story. The big problem is, these two never seem to discuss much beyond sex and how they need to talk more, for a good part of the story. The few times they actually do talk, I did see a spark of something between them, but even by the end of the book, I’m still not sure what they have in common besides the physical. I wanted to learn more about Cy and Danny so I could understand why the man had such a hold on Cy, but we don’t get much more than the surface facts of their history.
For all the waffling and dragging their feet, and Cy’s vows never to love another man again, the relationship moves surprisingly fast. There is some drama at the end as the two men find out secrets the other has been hiding, but their reactions each came off as somewhat childish and overly dramatic. It was nice to see that Cy did step up and take a risk for Zane at the end.
I applaud the authors for the diversity of the characters in this interracial romance. African-American, Native American, mixed race, are all represented as either main or supporting characters. This is definitely a May-December romance, but we never are told just how old Cy was. He is constantly referred to as an old man, he has gray hair and sometimes has a hard time keeping up with Zane (whose age appears to be late 20s early 30s), but knowing that many M/M writers portray 45 as “old” I could only guess he is somewhere between late 40’s to 60.
One last thing I wanted to mention was the sex. Not the sex that is in the book which works well, but the sex that isn’t. Twice, where I expected a sex scene that would really add to feeling the connection between Cy and Zane, there was an abrupt fade to black. The first time is after they had sex. There is a big misunderstanding, then they talk and decide to give a relationship a real try. There is a heated kiss and the final lines of the chapter Cy thinks, “Time to show his lover he meant business and it wasn’t just lip service. And it would be the bed, not the dang couch in the guesthouse.” The next chapter opens up with Zane on a phone call. Just a few chapters later the men go on their first date, they can’t even get through dinner, they want each other so bad. Cy has planned to romance Zane, make love under the stars in the truck bed, there’s a little dancing under the stars, a striptease, some foreplay and then, cut to Zane on the phone. We find out later that this was a pivotal scene as Cyrus says “the night we made love under the stars… everything changed for the better, Ash. You made me believe in love again.” Unfortunately we missed out on that scene and another opportunity to really see the two connect.
The story ends with more than a HFN but not quite HEA. I got the impression that this is the first of a series since there was plenty of hints dropped and future story left open for the main and secondary characters, including the murder case Zane’s partner Michael has been working on, which coincides with the time of Danny’s murder and Ren’s recognizing that he might not be as straight as he thought thanks to Cy’s sexy ranch hand Brian.
Connect with the Authors
Remmy Duchene is a Canadian-hockey-watching-baseball-playing kind of guy. He loves walking in the rain and bugging his friends about his latest story ideas. Remmy believes that true love comes in all shapes, sizes, and sexualities. He is always saying "I'd rather see two gay people in love get married than two straight people that hate each other."
BLMorticia entertains her readers with hot and smexy sex, humor, and lots of swear words. She attempts to incorporate metal music or the military in most of her works. Nothin’ sexier than metalheads or military servicemen and women!