It’s been almost a year since Mark Smith and Trevor Hayes moved to Boston so that Trevor could take a job with a cardiothoracic practice, and six months since they married. Mark is unhappy with the Boston weather, having lived his entire life in Atlanta, and less than satisfied with his job. More than that, he misses Trevor, who works long, hard hours. Mark doesn’t complain much, but he’s worried about the toll the job is taking on his husband.
When Mark and Trevor take a cruise vacation with Trevor’s family, the two men spend a lot of time with Trevor’s nephews. They both enjoy the temporary parenting and are good at it, so they begin to talk seriously about expanding their family. A trip to a surrogacy clinic sets the wheels in motion and gives the men a lot to think about. But it isn’t until Trevor’s sister Camille offers to be their surrogate that they take that step. Mark donates his sperm on a trip back to Trevor’s home town, and it isn’t too long after that they discover that Camille is carrying triplets.
Back in Boston, Trevor and Mark begin to make preparations for their expanding family. But Trevor’s work hours increase even more and on the way home one night he gets into a car accident from lack of sleep. It’s the impetus they need to make some serious changes and Mark and Trevor decide to move back to Atlanta. Shortly after they arrive, Camille is admitted to the hospital and the babies are born by emergency caesarean. While Walter and Wesley are bigger and healthier, their sister Willow is in trouble. Mark and Trevor are on the verge of getting everything they want, and fate might just take it away from them with a tragedy.
Sharing Heart is the sequel to Stubborn Heart, and the second in this author’s Atlanta Hearts series. I’m going to say that it can probably be read as a standalone, as the author does a great job of filling in the backstory without it feeling like an info dump, but having read them in order, I’d urge you to do the same. I really enjoyed watching these guys fall in love in the first book and getting the continuation of the story was wonderful.
I have to give a nod to the consistencies between the stories and how the characters remained the same while still managing to grow. Sometimes this doesn’t happen and I was really glad to see it here. I loved seeing these guys again, and having them feel so familiar, but also seeing how they were continuing to change and adapt with their lives. Trevor still has a voracious appetite for food and sex, but he’s even more dedicated to the job than he was previously. Except when it became obvious that the job he had was no longer good for him, or for his husband, he was willing to pull up stakes immediately. This was both in keeping with the character we already knew, but showed how he had grown as well.
After how reluctant Mark was to commit, it was so wonderful to see him all in with his relationship. While the first book ended by showing us that he was committed, seeing it here was great. It made me happy to see him thriving despite his problems with the weather and with his own job, and I loved the sense of compromise that it brought. These two men continue to work so well together, and yet, it didn’t feel stagnate or stale. I loved seeing them working towards their goals and doing what they could to keep their relationship healthy.
I did have an issue with the pacing of the story, though. We spent a lot of time on the cruise with Trevor’s family, and it was really wonderful, but I thought that some of it could be condensed. It felt a little bit like we were getting the same information in different scenes. It was great to see Trevor and Mark so loving and caring with their nephews, but we didn’t need to see it quite so many different ways. This part dragged for me just a bit towards the end of it, and I was glad when we finally got off the boat and the story moved along. In the same vein, the end of the book moved a little too fast for me. I would have liked to see that part explored a little more and drawn out just a bit so the emotions could feel more real.
Spoiler… [spoiler] What I mean in particular is after the birth of their babies, it’s clear that Willow is very sick. When the baby seizes, they know that she doesn’t have long to live. The death of this baby was tragic and heart breaking, but the aftermath is barely dealt with. There are two scenes, really, where we see the heartbreak of her fathers. And then it jumps to the future and we get to see the boys thriving. While I appreciated that, it didn’t feel like enough time was spent on the page with the mourning and that hurt the story for me. [/spoiler]
Overall, this was a good sequel and a good story. And while I had a few issues, I definitely enjoyed it. I hope this author intends to give us more in this series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.