Putting Out for a Hero coverRating: 4 stars
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Length:Novel

 

Putting Out for a Hero is the third book in C. Rochelle’s Villainous Things series, which features an overarching series plot. This review will have some spoilers for events/revelations from the prior books, so check out my review for book one, Not All Himbos Wear Capes, to get started with this series.

After it became clear how much his brother, Wolfy, is doing as head of the Suarez family, Baltasar knows it’s time to step up and contribute more. Wolfy and Simon have been looking to consolidate power by aligning with a strong hero family and, as the only straight sibling, Balthasar has agreed to an arranged marriage and making some super babies with Dahlia Salah. It doesn’t take long for Balthasar to realize he really doesn’t want to marry Dahlia (nor does she actually want to marry him), but he agrees to stick it out for a month at the Salah mansion until Wolfy and Simon figure out an exit strategy. In the meantime, Baltasar’s job is getting intel on the powerful Salah clan while he is there.

Zion Salah knows Baltasar as his rival in Deathball, a high-stakes supe sport, and he can’t believe the guy is marrying his sister. Zion can admit, if only to himself, that he has long had a crush on Baltasar and now he has the guy living in the family home. Something about Baltasar makes Zion’s inner beast clamor to own him, and the fact that neither Baltasar nor Dahlia have the slightest interest in each other or the wedding is making it difficult for Zion to disguise his attraction. While Baltasar may have always considered himself straight, he can’t deny that he is far more into to Zion than he is to his bride-to-be. Zion is also the only one who even bothers to talk to Baltasar in the Salah home, and the two end up spending more time together than they ever expected.

It doesn’t take long before Baltasar realizes that while he has never been interested in a man before, he is definitely interested in Zion. Even Zion’s lizard man superhero persona does it for Baltasar. He also finds himself opening his heart to Zion’s daughter, Daisy — a daughter that no one in the supe community even knows exists. Soon, not only are Zion and Baltasar burning up the sheets, but they are forming a little family along with Daisy. But Baltasar’s brother is expecting intel and power grabs from Baltasar, not falling for Zion. And Zion’s family is up to something shady that he is determined to uncover. The men have unexpectedly fallen hard for one another and neither is interested in letting the other go. Now, they have to figure out the truth behind the Salah family secrets, plus find a way to appease Wolfy and Simon, so they have a chance to be together.

This third book in the Villainous Things series focuses on the third Suarez brother, Baltasar. Based on what we have seen of him so far, Baltasar is considered sort of a dumb jock by his family and his role is mostly to get intel on other supes with his charming and easy-going personality. We see here that Baltasar doesn’t have a lot of self-confidence about his worth to the family, so he agrees to this scheme to marry Dahlia as a way to step up and contribute. Baltasar is this sweet, golden retriever of a guy, with a “baby Hulk” (as dubbed by Simon) super alter ego. When he arrives at the Salah’s mansion, he is out of his element with the rich and snooty family, and Zion is the only one with an olive branch. Of course, Zion mostly wants to bang him at first, as Baltasar has long been the subject of his fantasies. But both of these guys are outsiders with the Salah family and they find a connection quickly with each other. The fact that Baltasar warms immediately to Zion’s daughter, Daisy — and that she surprisingly adores him in return — just validates for Zion how right they are together.

Baltasar has never been with a man before or considered himself gay, so the early portion of the book is him recognizing and accepting that he is, in fact, totally into Zion. Like with the other books, the sex side has a bit of a dark and intense edge, with lots of claiming and owning and dirty talk. As always, Rochelle is clear to establish consent and we see that Zion is careful about pushing Baltasar too far. But when he gets the go ahead, things are hard and intense and raw between them. Zion’s super power involves turning into a big sort of lizard man and Baltasar is hot for him in both forms. These guys feel like a good match and I liked how even as Zion is generally the dominant partner, he makes clear how much he trusts Baltasar and believes in him.

As a side note, Baltasar and Zion’s relationship begins while he is still engaged to Dahlia. As I said, the pair have no feelings for each other, no interest in marrying each other, and Dahlia doesn’t seem to care at all when she learns what is going on. The two of them have barely even exchanged words with one another when things heat up between Baltasar and Zion. So while this could be considered “cheating” from a letter-of-the-law standpoint, I personally wasn’t bothered in the least by their relationship. However, I like to mention it so readers are aware.

I found this story had somewhat of a slower start than the first two books, perhaps because I read this right after Gentlemen Prefer Villains and no one is ever going to compete with Simon and Wolfy for magnetism. While the story clearly picks up in the same series world, a lot of the early portion is focused more on Baltasar’s bi awakening and figuring out that he wants a relationship with Zion. But we do get a continuation of the larger series arc here toward the later part of the book that I thought was well done. We get some revelations that I think will be really interesting to see progress into the next book and that play nicely into what we have already learned.

The twins’ book is up next and releasing later this week, and this book sets things up really nicely for their story. I am so excited to continue, as well as to learn more about the brothers and their powers.

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