Author: K.M. Neuhold
Book: Shattered Pieces
Series: Heathens Ink #4
Page/Word Count: 181
Categories: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 31, 2017
|Blurb: “I was sure my heart had withered away years ago, but then you smiled at me, and I felt it beat again.” ~Gage
Years ago, I fell in love with my best friend’s little brother. Then, he took his own life, leaving me shattered and unable to piece my heart back together. I’ve been a zombie for nine long years. Until a crazy, gorgeous man walked into Heathens Ink and injected color back into my world of gray. No matter how hard I try to resist Beck, he just won’t give up on me. I would need steel willpower to withstand his gorgeous long legs in those high heels and his drawer full of lacy lingerie. But is this just a kinky hook up or does it have the possibility for more?
“We’re both broken, but our jagged edges fit together well” ~ Beck
When you’re half of a whole you never contemplate what life would be like without your matching piece. Since my twin sister, Brianna, died last year, nothing I do seems to quiet my soul. I know there has to be some way for me to feel happy and whole again. And, when I look into the pained eyes of the tattoo artist at Heathens Ink, I feel like I have a purpose. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I have to find a way to put him back together.
**Shattered Pieces is the fourth book in the Heathens Ink series, each book in the series CAN be read as a standalone.
“Dance with me.” Beck holds his hand out to me. His eyes spark with amusement at what I’m sure is the obvious horror in my expression.
“I don’t dance.”
“Come on, you’re supposed to be trying fun, new things. I’m not expecting Fred Astaire, just stand in my general vicinity and nod your head to the beat.”
I sigh in resignation and take Beck’s hand, refusing to notice how soft his skin is or how good it feels to touch someone, however casually.
Still clutching my hand, Beck starts to dance. He starts out tame, simply swaying to the music. But, before long he’s spinning and shimmying like a ballerina on crack. Even being goofy and over the top he’s utterly graceful. And the joy in his expression is heartbreaking in its beauty.
When he spins out and then into my arms like a tango dancer, a laugh escapes from my chest, too full of a warmth to contain it.
“You have a really nice laugh,” Beck says, smiling up at me.
My heart thuds violently against my ribcage. Some long-forgotten place in my brain wakes up from its long slumber and starts to make irrational demands like kiss him and make Beck mine.
I pull my arms back, forcing a smile as blood rushes in my ears. Beck isn’t mine. He can never be mine. I had someone who was mine and I broke him beyond repair.
“I’m afraid I’m a bit rusty,” I admit with chagrin.
“Never too late to pick it back up again,” Beck reasons, stepping close again but not so close to warrant another retreat on my part.
His lips are rosy pink and so soft, slightly parted and unbelievably tempting. I can’t remember if we were discussing laughing or kissing and I don’t really care.
“For the first time in a long time I’m starting to wonder if that’s true.” The hope my statement sparks in Beck’s eyes forces me to backpedal as guilt washes over me. “It feels wrong to imagine happiness is possible, even in some vague, future way.”
“I’m not going to give you any trite bullshit like saying Johnny would’ve wanted you to be happy. I didn’t know Johnny and even if I had there’s no way to know what he would’ve wanted because he’s gone. But you’re still here. You still have a life, a heart, and the right to be happy whether now or in a vague future.”
The way Beck holds my gaze is like a cobra ensnaring a mouse. “You don’t need Johnny’s permission to move on and be happy. You only need to give yourself permission.”
4.5✨s – I had only read the first book of this series, which was good, but this book was even better! It’s a very touching hurt/comfort story, told in 1st person with alternating POV’s. 1st person can often put me off of a story but it was a smooth narrative and kept me engaged with the characters. Gage is still mourning 10 years after losing his young boyfriend and carries a lot of guilt. I often have trouble with that concept, a young man closing himself off for long periods of time, but the context here made it easier for me to accept.
I enjoyed Beck’s character being someone who enjoys “feminine” expression as part of who he is. That also appeals to some fetishes of Gage’s and makes for very hot scenes! The sex happened quickly but relationship development was at a measured pace, and that slower evolution supported both men also making positive life changes for themselves. Drama is minimal with only a brief period of emotional self-protection, and the maturity factor is refreshing. I did think Gage’s mental monologues were a little repetitive at times. I also don’t care for dream imagery with the deceased, but that’s just me.
I really want to go back and read the two books I missed in this series. There’s some good writing here, with sensitive themes that aren’t turned into gratuitous melodrama. I would recommend this book gladly!
Teasers: Click to enlarge
Author K.M.Neuhold is a complete romance junkie, a total sap in every way. She started her journey as an author in new adult, MF romance, but after a chance reading of an MM book she was completely hooked on everything about lovely- and sometimes damaged- men finding their Happily Ever After together. She has a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well. And she fully admits that her OCD tendencies of making sure every side character has a full backstory will likely always lead to every book having a spin-off or series. When she’s not writing she’s a lion tamer, an astronaut, and a superhero…just kidding, she’s likely watching Netflix and snuggling with her husky while her amazing husband brings her coffee.
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