Title: Knave of Broken Hearts (Love in Laguna #2)
Author: Tara Lain
Publisher/GR Link: Dreamspinner, GR
Genre: MM Contemporary
Vice: OFY, interracial, construction workers
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Lock this book up: 4 keys...This book is hot and so sweet its like a delicious S'mores.
Cover Impressions: Adorable...and "Sir, can I please have some more?"
Best Line: "I think its pretty sad when two gay guys owe their love life to a woman."
Synopsis: Jim Carney has a full time job—running from himself. Since he walked out on his wealthy family at sixteen because he’d wrecked his best friend’s life over some yaoi graphic novels, Jim has lived a macho, blue-collar existence of too much booze and too little responsibility. Then Billy Ballew, the man Jim most admires, gives Jim a chance to come through as his construction supervisor. For once, Jim is determined to make someone proud. Then Jim goes in for a physical for his new job and his yaoi dream comes to life in the form of cardiologist Ken Tanaka. Jim discovers he has two heart problems—a wonky mitral valve and a serious attraction to his doctor. But Ken is a major player, and Jim might be just a notch on the doc’s stethoscope. To Ken, Jim is unforgettable—but the living embodiment of his traditional family’s worst nightmares.
How come the minute Jim decides to be responsible, he finds himself taking care of his kid brother, getting a proposal from a wealthy woman, making a deal with the devil, and winding up in the hospital—when all he really wants is the Knave of Broken Hearts?
Impressions: I have been EAGERLY awaiting this book, and I was like a chubby kid on a diet who was handed a giant snickers bar when I finally was able to settle in and open this treat. (Full disclosure: I *AM* a chubby kid on a diet, so I know this analogy to be accurate. Please note the excessive food imagery for further evidence of this fact.) It was every bit as delicious and fulfilling as I had hoped. This book takes place right at the end of book one, and there is a slight overlap as we get Jim's POV at Billy and Shaz's wedding.
Lain is a master at creating heroes who capture our attention and melt our hearts. Billy accomplished this in book one, and Jim is certainly up for the task in this novel. Jim seems like the life of the party and a real "man's man," but he struggles with feels of self worthlessness from an instant of poor judgement as a teenager. This, and his worries about his sexuality, have made him into his own worst critic, and he is fraught with fears that others will realize that his current life is just a thin veneer of masculine respectability. He drinks too much and keeps everyone at arm's distant. Symbolically, he keeps his fantasy yaoi material locked in a metal box under his bed.
Ken Tanaka, like Shaz from book one, at first seems to have it all. He is gorgeous, successful, and can (and does) have any man he wants. Yet underneath this calm and collected exterior is a man who struggles to reconcile his own desires with those of his traditional Japanese parents, and who wanders from one conquest to the next, and yet remains alone.
When they meet, sparks fly, and flies fall.
The romance between these two was wonderful. I loved watching both of them realize that they had a right to their own happiness, and that it wouldn't come at the expense of everything they cared about. The secondary characters were completely developed, and Jim's brother, boss lady, and co workers added great depth to an already strong romance.
I loved the title of this addition to the Laguna series, and upon completion of the novel, I loved it even more. This story is engaging and the plot is perfectly paced. You will not be able to stop reading until Ken and Jim get their HEA, and it is the cherry on top of this delectable treat!
Now I begin the countdown to book 3. With only two books so far, this is already shaping up to be a favorite series from 2015.