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Jim Carney has a full time job—running from himself. Since he walked out on his wealthy family at sixteen because he’d wrecked his best friend’s life over some yaoi graphic novels, Jim has lived a macho, blue-collar existence of too much booze and too little responsibility. Then Billy Ballew, the man Jim most admires, gives Jim a chance to come through as his construction supervisor. For once, Jim is determined to make someone proud. Then Jim goes in for a physical for his new job and his yaoi dream comes to life in the form of cardiologist Ken Tanaka. Jim discovers he has two heart problems—a wonky mitral valve and a serious attraction to his doctor. But Ken is a major player, and Jim might be just a notch on the doc’s stethoscope. To Ken, Jim is unforgettable—but the living embodiment of his traditional family’s worst nightmares.
How come the minute Jim decides to be responsible, he finds himself taking care of his kid brother, getting a proposal from a wealthy woman, making a deal with the devil, and winding up in the hospital—when all he really wants is the Knave of Broken Hearts?
Jim, who’s had a bit of experience with gay sexual exploration in his past, is trying very, very hard to be straight – but he just can’t… well get hard – if you catch my drift.
He drowns his true feelings and only with a healthy dose of alcohol can he bring himself to be attracted to women. Of course, he’s gorgeous so he has no lack of women willing to give him a try.
When his friend Billy Balew (From Knight of Ocean Avenue) asks him to keep an eye on his new company while he and Shaz go on their honeymoon, he takes a bit to sober up. He also gets the required physical to be on the company insurance and finds out he has a mitral defect in his heart which might or might not be serious.
Unfortunately, stress is a trigger for his disease, and after having met Ken (his cardiologist) at Shaz and Billy’s wedding and falling instantly in lust with the man, stress is his pretty constant companion. No woman can compete with the man who looks like every fantasy he’s ever had.
Ken, meanwhile, is trying to keep his family happy by finding himself a proper Japanese boy to marry. But he can’t help but be attracted to everyone but the men his mother finds for him.
There is a bit of drama with Ken’s most recent dating companion and Jim also struggles with his orientation and desire to do the right thing by getting involved with a woman who makes his dad happy, can help Billy’s business grow, and who he likes but still can never be attracted to more than a friend.
Finally, when Jim’s health takes a turn for the worse, Jim is forced to be true to himself and to Ken. Ken, when faced with losing Jim also realizes he can’t be who his mother wants – not if he wants to be happy.
Tara Lain is an amazingly gifted writer. She manages to create these wonderfully developed and engaging characters that just pull you into the story from the get-go.
It’s always hard to follow up a well-received book (like Knight of Ocean Avenue) and not have it compared less favorably.
While I enjoyed this book very much, I found the lack of time spent together (Jim and Ken are only together sporadically throughout the book) and the other people dating our MCs were a turn off for me. Though the sex we read about happens between Ken and Jim, the fact that Constance and Miki got so much page time was hard to read at times.
Though I really, really loved Ken and Jim as a couple and I absolutely saw the attraction from Jim’s eyes, I didn’t feel nearly as connected to Ken or fully understand his attraction to Jim nearly as well.
I appreciated the happy place everyone ended, but I wish there had been a bit more between Jim’s deciding to be truthful, Ken deciding to brave his family and the “ILY” at the end.
Still and all, it was a fantastic book and I really enjoyed it. I cannot wait for the next in the series, Ru is a great character and I know he’ll get a great book!
(Giant Kudos for the cover – super hot!)
4.5 of 5 hearts