How I got this book: NetGalley
Owen Meade is desperately in need of a hero. Raised by a mother who made him ashamed of his stutter, his sexual orientation, and his congenitally amputated arm, Owen lives like a hermit in his Tucker Springs apartment. But then hunky veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.
Nick is sexy and confident, and makes Owen comfortable with himself in a way nobody ever has. He also introduces Owen to his firecracker of a little sister, who was born with a similar congenital amputation but never let it stand in her way. When she signs the two of them up for piano lessons—and insists that they play together in a recital—Owen can’t find a way to say no. Especially since it gives him a good excuse to spend more time with Nick.
Owen knows he’s falling hard for his neighbor, but every time he gets close, Nick inexplicably pulls away. Battling his mother’s scorn and Nick’s secrets, Owen soon realizes that instead of waiting for a hero, it’s time to be one—for himself and for Nick.
*Blurb from Goodreads*
Given the fact that I can be a bit of a recluse myself, I’m always a fan of books that deal with people who like being on their own, hiding away from the world and learning how to find their place within it. Certain aspects of this story were so wonderful, and others fell somewhat flat for me.
Owen lives a very simple life, he hides himself away in his apartment, afraid to venture into the world that has been cruel and nasty to him his whole life. When he meets his new downstairs neighbor, the sexy vet Nick, Owen is dragged very reluctantly into living an actual life. Nick does everything he can to pull Owen out of his shell.
Nick has his own secrets, and in the process of pulling Owen back into the land of the living, finds himself in a predicament he never expected. Between his litter sister and Owen’s growing friendship, and Owen’s transformation into a whole other person, Nick finds himself bombarded by feelings he never expected.
I’m a big fan of Sexton, and yet this book really didn’t do it for me. The one saving grace for me in this was Owen. He was the sweetest, most tortured hero, and yet he had a zest for life that just came off the page. Despite the fact that he had to have his arm amputated, and the most horrific mother ever written, he still had such faith in others. Although he was shy, he was also curious enough to make friends, and for that strength alone I adored him.
Nick was very wishy-washy for me. He started off so strong as a character, and then as the story progressed, he starting falling more and more flat for me. He had a big secret to hide, and that secret pretty much ruined it for me. The reasons for keeping his secret were ridiculous, and I hated the fact that he was somewhat blase about telling Owen. I don’t want to give too much away, but if anyone is interested in hearing me rant more, let me know and I’ll add in some spoiler tags later. 🙂
The romance between Nick and Owen definitely progressed slowly throughout the book. They started as neighbors, then friends, then there was an obvious attraction between them. The sexual tension was high, and while I enjoyed that aspect, some of Nick and Owen’s reactions toward one another brought my enjoyment of their relationship down a few notches.
The only other bright spot for me was the relationship between Owen and Nick’s sister, June. She was a firecracker! She never once let her amputation keep her from doing something she loved, and she pushed Owen to not only accept his situation, but to also find the positives, to live life despite it, and to enjoy every moment.
All in all I was actually somewhat disappointed by this Sexton book. I usually love her writing, but this story just didn’t work for me. Nick was too much of a jerk, and even my love for Owen couldn’t make up for his douchy behavior.
I give Never a Hero a C-
[spoiler]I absolutely HATED the fact that Nick kept his HIV+ status from Owen. Hated. I get the fear, I really do. But as Nick and Owen were headed on the path to a relationship, and were starting to get physical, Nick should have quit being a chicken and dealt with the issue at hand. This is the one issue I have HUGE HUGE problems with in books, and the mean reason I tend to steer clear on any and all books dealing with HIV and AIDS.[/spoiler]