Review: Heart of a Hero by James Cox

Heart of a Hero by James CoxRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

I have seen the name James Cox many times—often attached to yet another sultry, sexy installment on one of his series that many fans eagerly await. When the opportunity to read an author who would be new to me arose in our Reading Challenge Month, I jumped at the chance to select something by this author and I am so glad I did! Heart of a Hero by James Cox is a sexy, fast-paced novella that sets itself up to be continued in with what I hope are future installments. For me, it was just enough of a taste of the work of an author that I must admit I am now adding to my TBR list asap!

Kallen lives in a dystopian society that lives with war and poverty. Those who are deemed less than fit to breathe the pure air of the tower dwelling society are referred to as “wastrels,” often characterized by their rough, gauche style of speech and desperate circumstances. Their life expectancy is short, exiled to a desert wasteland where survival can mean anything from selling themselves to the highest bidder for sexual satisfaction, to joining the armed forces in order to at least have a chance to one day become a hero and gain access to the palatial living that is the three towers.

challenge monthWhile out on patrol, Kallen is set upon by the enemy and mistaken for the spy that is wreaking havoc selling government secrets. When a young soldier jumps the wall to help him, the man is shot and James manages to escape, only to be rescued by the government’s elite forces who brand him a hero. Being such, he is granted a place to live in the three towers and life as he knows it changes dramatically. However, when Kallen is questioned about his mysterious rescuer, he allows the President to believe that the man was indeed the spy they had been seeking. Little did Kallen know that he would be confronted for his misleading falsehood by the man’s brother, Lorn, and be drawn into the search to clear his brother’s name.

Cheeky, outlandish, sexy, and fierce are words I would most definitely use to describe this author’s work. These are hard men who play rough and enjoy sex wherever they can find it. Living in a world where death can be just around the corner, Kallen revels in the newfound sexual party that hero status affords him. Not realizing that Lorn is angry and gunning for him due to his little lie, when Kallen meets the man he is immediately drawn to him and vice versa. The spark between these two is palpable and so very believable. They are kindred spirits in many ways, from their hellish bringing up to their instinct for survival. What neither counted on was falling in love—rapidly and with each other.

There is at its core, a solid sci-fi story beneath the gorgeously irreverent sex that flows throughout this novella. Along with a bit of BDSM and voracious, admittedly fun sex scenes, the mystery surrounding whom the actual spy could be keeps you engaged in this delightful romp. The ending sets up a potential sequel quite nicely and was also a bit of a shocker to boot. All in all, I have definitely had my appetite whetted for more of this author’s work. James Cox produces fun, sexy stories that have a bite to them. Heart of a Hero is definitely a worthy addition to the sci-fi m/m genre.

This review is part of our September Reading Challenge Month for New-to-Me Author Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win this week’s fabulous prize sponsored by Samhain Publishing, as well as our amazing grand prize sponsored by Riptide Publishing. You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on New-to-Me Author week here. And be sure to check out our prize post for more about the awesome prizes! 

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  1. Oh boy – sci fi with a mystery and some fun sexy scenes – that sounds great!  I have not read anything by James Cox yet but will have to check this one out.

    Thanks for the great review!

  2. Like you I have noticed James Cox’s name on stories before, but for preconceived ideas about what kind of story it could be I have avoided it. Now that I have read the review I am about to revise someo of those ideas. For one I like the idea of what you call a solid sci-fi story, and from what I’m told about the setting and the plot it sounds interesting enough for me to try it out. Then there’s that comment about the “gorgeously irreverent sex that flows throughout this novella” – the number one reason I have stayed away this far. Would you say it is more erotica than romance, more erotica than sci-fi and plot oriented story telling? Because if it is, then I fear I may tire of the sex before the end of book, but if it isn’t …

  3. Sounds really good. I’ve been wanting to read any James Cox’ for a while as well, but was a bit taken aback by the disparity in reviews (some people seem to love him while some people seem to loathe him). Anyhow, enemies to lovers is a favourite topic of mine, and Heart of a Hero seems the sort of dystopian fantasy I would utterly enjoy. Thank you for a great review, Sammy

  4. Waxapplelover says:

    I’m not a huge dystopia reader, and I’m not a fan of stories that are predicated on a lie, but the premise does sound interesting. I’ll probablu keep this in mind. Thanks for a great review.

  5. I haven’t read anything by James Cox, but I may have to add him to my list. This sounds like it’s a fun action story, if there’s not so much sex that’s it’s overwhelming. I skim a lot of sex scenes these days, so if there’s too much, I just don’t enjoy the book as much.

  6. Melissa S. says:

    I love James Cox!  I have read several of his books although I am way behind.  I have not been disappointed in anything I have read. He also seems to produce his series in a very timely manner which is nice when you are desperate for the next fix!  

  7. I’ve been curious about James Cox, but could never tell where to start from the blurbs…this one might be good to start with!

  8. I think I’ve read one James Cox story before, and I was impressed (if I’m thinking of the right author – so many to remember, but it’s a memorable name!), so I’m glad to have a new rec. I like that it has a solid story underneath it because I just haven’t been in the mood for just well-written sex scenes holding the book together.

  9. Elizabeth Gray says:

    I have not read many dystopian society books. But, this ones does sound like it would be a good book to read.  The review was very informative.

  10. This sounds like a book I might enjoy. The set up of the haves and the have nots is of interest as is the fact that one of the leads is dishonest about his rescue. This is a world I’d far rather read about than inhabit! Thanks for the review.

  11. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this author but with descriptions like cheeky, outlandish, fun sex scenes and mystery it definitely sounds like something I would love.  I couldn’t  find it on Amazon though. 

    • Yes, for some reason it is not for sale there. I actually checked with the publisher to try to find out why but there is no answer. It is for sale on ARe and you can get mobi there (and on sale on Evernight’s site). And many of the author’s other works are on Amazon. Just not sure why not this one.

  12. Sci-fi is not a genre I tend to read.  But I might just give this one a try.  I do have a couple of short stories by this author languishing on my TBR “shelf”.  Looks like I’ll be moving them up in the queue.  Thanks for the review.

  13. Thanks for the review! I like sci-fi, but I don’t generally read dystopian stories. It sounds interesting though so I’ll keep it in mind.

  14. I love sci-fi. It doesn’t hurt that there is mystery/intrigue in it along with fun sex scenes =)

  15. “Cheeky, outlandish, sexy, and fierce” – this sounds awesome! Definitely going to check this one out.

  16. It’s been a long time since my last sci-fi read so I’m trusting your words and adding this series in my TBR list. I do have his Outlaw MC series (which covers are pretty sexy) but I never find the time to start it.

  17. Sci-fi + mystery+ sex= fun read. I’ll definitely check this one out!

  18. Definitely adding this to my wishlist, thanks for the review!

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