Joseph Ford is good at his job as a trauma nurse and after his last relationship with a closeted, manipulative man, he’s keeping himself focused on work. Another man, another relationship, is the last thing on Joseph’s mind until he sees paramedic Ridley Nash looking sexy in his uniform.
Nash has just transferred to a new station and it looks to be everything he wanted. His last station wasn’t overly tolerant and here he has found the work family he always desired. While at the hospital, the sight of Ford has Nash nearly undone and he feels a pull and a need to comfort the wary nurse.
The attraction is most certainly there, but Ford is running scared of getting too close. To make it even more complicated, a serial killer is still on the loose with teenage boys his target, and Ford and Nash find themselves too close to the only survivor. If Ford can realize there are good men in the world, he could have his chance at true love.
A Fallen Heart is the follow up to A Forced Silence and this book focuses on Nash, who is now Adam’s work partner, and Ford, who is Sam’s best friend. The story also follows the serial killer plot from the first book and this book works best when read in order.
Ford is all kinds of turned around after he finally left his closeted and manipulative boyfriend. His relationship had to be so secretive that even those closest to him didn’t know who he was dating. He’s left feeling that a relationship won’t ever work out for him and he’s scared to even think about dating anyone.
Nash is growly and assertive and demanding, yet he’s also patient and kind and tender. He wants Ford and he’ll wait with open arms of comfort until Ford is ready. But the closer they get, the farther Ford wants to run. Nash was an easy guy to like. He has Ford’s best interests at heart and although their relationship moves fast, he’s all in and his intentions are clear. Ford was a little harder to understand. He’s confident in his job, yet he’s more on the submissive side in private and is constantly running scared and the two sides of his personality weren’t explored well. Ford had stuff to work out and he was clearly hesitant to get involved, but everyone kept discounting his feelings saying he just needed to move on. He wasn’t fine, but everyone kept telling him that he was. But Ashwood writes these guys together well and their chemistry is intense. Nash knows what he wants and he makes Ford’s brain short circuit.
“If you don’t want this, you’d better speak up now,” Nash growled, “because six seconds from now all bets are off, and thirty-two seconds from now, I’m going to have your cock buried in my throat.”
This book is primarily character and relationship driven. But running alongside is the same serial killer storyline from the first book. It starts out when Nash picks up a bloody and battered boy named Joel. Joel had little page time and even fewer words, but his character made quite an impression. Yet the serial killer line stalled out here and there was little movement with it. The killer remains elusive throughout two books, it’s not finished yet, and my feelings were that it wasn’t a compelling enough story line or a strong enough plot line to continue carrying this series. Then there’s an epilogue. So an epilogue’s job is designed to round out a literary work. This epilogue here continues the story line with a new discovery and then adds an unresolved ending. Sure I’m intrigued now to continue and I don’t have issues with cliffhangers, but then calling it an epilogue was completely misleading.
Ashwood did a good job with the paramedic world and the camaraderie of the group and Ford and Nash had great chemistry. Their story had some good moments, but was a bit slow overall with little relationship conflict to push it forward. There was a little something missing in this one for me, but there was also much to like as a follow up to the Zero Hour series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.