Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
When construction worker Hal Porter spots a bar in a vacant lot where one had not been moments before, his life is forever changed. Nothing ever happens to Hal, not even of his own doing, as is evident by the fact that he’s in his thirties and has yet to come out to his devoutly Catholic mother. But when Hal is tasked to save Morgan, his life is given new purpose.
The bar in the middle of the vacant lot is filled with strange beings, shifters, who would rather play games with Hal than give him what he wants. And then there’s Morgan—strangely beautiful, and female. Although Hal has never been attracted to women, he finds himself quickly drawn to Morgan and is confused by it. He soon learns that everything in the bar is not as it seems—the bar is an illusion of sorts, Morgan is a prisoner in need of a hero, and most important is that Morgan is in fact male. A spell placed on Hal before he walked into the building had him seeing Morgan in a different form.
Playing along with the crowd’s game, Morgan’s situation pulls at Hal’s heartstrings and without thought, Hal breaks the chains that bind him to the bar, but that doesn’t free him. Morgan’s only concern is getting Hal, a human, out of the bar and to safety before the goons around them figure out that he is human. Chancing another game, Morgan escapes to his room with Hal where they spend an unforgettable night. But then Hal wakes up alone. Outside. No bar in sight. Determined to save the man he loves, Hal goes in search of Shinju and a way back into the bar. Regardless of what happens, Hal refuses to leave the bar without Morgan. He will be Morgan’s hero, even if he has to die trying.
Heidi Cullinan is and will forever be one of my favorites for reasons like this book. It’s a fantasy, which she doesn’t do a lot of but maybe she should. But it’s not your run-of-the-mill fantasy. Cullinan reached deep with this one. For the foundation of this story, the author pulls from Japanese mythology, which is both unique and refreshing.
This world is a new a world of shifters and other beings, and evil lurking in the shadows. What attracted me to both Hal and Morgan was the hurt and sorrow that surrounds them. Hal has his own issues, firmly planted in the closet afraid to tell his mother who he is. And it’s real fear to Hal—enough for him to remain a virgin after thirty-seven years. And Morgan, bless his heart, is a slave of his own making. Misunderstood and rebellious in his youth, he turned his back on his family and his clan and trusted a man he thought loved him only to be held prisoner for his power. After a while, Morgan lost hope of the hero who would save him and gave in to the hopelessness of his situation. In Morgan, Hal finds a purpose and a confidence he never knew existed in himself, not to mention a love. And in Hal, Morgan finds what he’d given up on—hope and love.
And then there’s the story. The story—the romance, the journey, the action, the mystery. Whereas the characters are wonderful and fantastically drawn, this story is very much plot-focused. The balance of all of the above is well worked in this book. There are plenty of action-packed, heart-pounding sequences followed by mystery and fact-finding missions. Then there are the sweet lovey moments and the passionate, scorching, lust-filled lovemaking moments. This story is a fight between good and evil with a side of the prince finding his one true love and along the way discovering the true meaning of a hero. It’s beautiful and sexy and exciting.
As a lover of romantic fantasy and of Heidi Cullinan romances, I definitely recommend Hero. It’s imaginative and fun and takes readers on a journey of discovery and fulfillment.