Rating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
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.
While 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!