When Blake Williamson, the Duke of Shelby, broke Niall Cristofori’s heart ten years ago, Niall swore to never love again. And despite all his successes as a playwright, Niall can’t forget what he and Blake had when they were young. They haven’t seen one another in ten years, but when Blake comes to Niall in trouble, it’s like no time has passed at all. Blake’s wife has disappeared with their children and Blake is frantic to get them back and the only friend he ever had was Niall.
With so many years and hurt between them, Niall is reluctant to help, but he realizes Blake is on his own. Together, they begin the process of tracking down Blake’s wife and of renewing their affair. Niall doesn’t want to be hurt again, but he can’t resist his attraction to Blake. With so much on the line and everything to lose, Niall must risk it all to finally be with the man who holds his heart.
I struggled with Just a Little Heartache almost from the start. Normally, I love historical romances, but aside from committing the cardinal sin of being rather boring, Just a Little Heartache didn’t make much sense.
The book has pacing issues and tends to meander rather than move with purpose. The story isn’t very engaging and I found I myself struggling to connect with either character or their tribulations. Both Blake and Niall read like surface characters, aside from their devotion to one another, and they didn’t feel like real, fleshed out people. This only added to the book’s overall lack of intent. The story just felt boring and a lot of that came from the fact I wasn’t invested in the action on page.
So the crux of the story is that Blake’s children have been kidnapped by his wife who is having an affair. But historically, children belonged to the father, not the mother, so legally it doesn’t make sense that she thinks she could take them. Blake tells the police, but there doesn’t seem to be any kind of investigation going on? Really? A woman absconds with three children, one of whom is the heir to a dukedom, and nobody can help except an ex lover who has no skills as an investigator? Also, we’re told that Blake is utterly distraught over his missing children, but apparently he’s not too distraught to bone down with Niall more than once. And given that the story isn’t actually resolved, it’s frustrating to see Blake and Niall acting like they’ve achieved some magical happy ever after.
Just a Little Heartache didn’t work for me. The story was slow and the plot felt too stretched and silly to take seriously. This book is a part of a wider series and, while we’re told the books can be read as standalones, it was obvious that series events carry over as Blake and Niall’s story isn’t fully resolved by the end of this volume. I’d have to recommend giving this one a pass, unless you’re already a fan of the series.