Title: The Heart As He Hears It
Author: A.M. Arthur
My Rating: A-
Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Perspectives #3
Main Characters: Jon and Isaac
Release Date: April 2016
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot
While most of his friends have moved on to “real” careers, Jon Buchanan is content skating through life as a part-time waiter and gay porn star. Firmly single thanks to a previous relationship disaster, he focuses his spare time on Henry, a dear friend dying of cancer.
And with Henry’s happiness paramount, Jon is on a mission to help Henry meet his recently discovered grandson.
Isaac Gregory hasn’t set foot outside for the past year. He has everything he needs delivered, and his remaining family knows better than to visit. When a complete stranger shows up claiming to be his grandfather—with a distractingly handsome younger man in tow—his carefully structured routines are shaken.
Despite his instant attraction, Jon senses Isaac is too fragile for a relationship. Yet tentative friendship grows into genuine companionship. And when Henry’s health begins to fail, they realize Fate brought them together for a reason.
Warning: Product contains a neurotic porn star with body image issues, a virgin hero with severe agoraphobia, and a fluffy ball of gray cuteness you’ll want to take home and cuddle. Also contains references to past abuse some readers might find disturbing.
This was an unusual romance just in that these are not your typical romance heroes...one is an unapologetic porn star; the other hasn't left his house in a year. But what they have in common is that they've both been left traumatized.
Isaac grew up in an abusive household which has left deep scars...both mental and physical. His father threw him up against a wall and that left him almost completely deaf. Then later, things at home got even worse...he spent years not talking through his adolescence. But since his grandparents died, he withdrew more and more into himself and his home...where he's safe. He's so scared of not being safe. It's heartbreaking and his entire situation is made even more difficult by the fact that he really can't hear. I loved how Bear, the kitten, played into his recovery.
Then there's Jon. On the surface, he has everything going for him. He's a confident, sexy pornstar...but that's all an act, a skin he puts on when he goes on camera. He's truly a mess. A former boyfriend mentally abused him for years leaving him so messed up, he ended up in the hospital because his anorexia got so bad. But he's clawed his way back and that experience has enabled him to be empathetic for Isaac's situation. And it's still a daily challenge for Jon to stay on top of his eating habits. It's very easy to slide down that pit.
I really enjoyed this story. The man who brought these two men together is Henry, and he's dying throughout the book. So that emotional angst is playing out in the background of the story...lurking, because you know from the very start he isn't going to make it. There's nothing for these men that isn't heartbreaking...except for their beautiful romantic story that slowly evolves. I wanted that happy place for the two of them so badly because they both need it.
And Bear...I already mentioned him once already, but gah...he added so much to this story. Isaac continually needs pushing and I loved how the kitten provided most of that. As a reader, you couldn't get upset about his character being pushed by that sweet little bundle of fluff.
Overall, I just really liked this one. The whole series has been phenomenal and continues to be so. There were a couple of characters with some great emotional baggage in this story that would make great heroes in upcoming books. I hope we get to see more of them in future installments.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.