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Cement Heart (Viper's Heart Duet Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 311 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Viper is a man of THREE RULES:
Rule Number One: - always wear a condom. Always.
Rule Number Two: - never go down on one-night stands. Ever.
Rule Number Three: - if I brought them back to my place, as opposed to my car, an alley, or the bar bathroom, we did not have sex in my bedroom. Always the guest room.
As the defender on his hockey team he is known for his manwhoring ways. Those ways have kept him from deeply connecting with any lady on a “I want to have a relationship with you” kind of way. As one of his teammate points out to him->he has a cement heart.
As the story progressed I did something I never do- I read the blurb. The reason I stopped to look at the blurb was because I had no clue who the heroine was going to be in this story. To my surprise the blurb did not indicate who was going to shatter his cement heart. Early on in the story there were several women that seemed to have Viper’s attention and I wondered if they would ultimately end up with him. But in the end who he unexpectedly falls for made sense.
Gam (Viper’s grandma) was one of my favorite characters. She lived life like the saying, Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present. Gam lived in the moment and had no qualms sharing wisdom she learned over the years with her grandson.
Cement Heart deals with a heavier subject matter than the former books in the series. The situation that lead to Viper letting his guard down was grim but it transformed him from the man he was to the man he became.
Even though we meet Viper in the Cranberry Inn series this can be read as a standalone.
**Complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.**
As the story unfolded I wanted to high five this author so hard. Seriously. This story evolved in the most perfect, most unexpected manner and it was so necessary and so right for everyone involved. This story didn't begin as a romance because these characters weren't ready for that. They weren't those people and anything other than the path Beth Ehemann took them on would have felt forced, artificial, wrong. This is a story about finding hope when hope is lost. Finding joy and meaningful relationships after life shatters the ground beneath your feet. Why did this story catch me so off guard? Because the romance in this story took a backseat to a man's healing and growth and self discovery and it evolved in a realistic believable way, not the contrived, overly perfect way most romances do.
The chemistry between Viper and his love interest is a lot different than that of Kacie and Brody. It's almost impossible to even compare the two storylines because they're so very different. While Kacie and Brody's love story was lighter and sweeter and more obvious, Viper's romance is much more subtle, more emotional, more intense, more unpredictable. Their chemistry exists (eventually), but it's a much slower journey for these two.
There was a period of time in this book where I actually felt that the connection between "her" and Viper wasn't as deep as it had been between Kacie and Brody, not as deep as it "should have felt." I felt their chemistry was not quite as obvious as it had been between the other couple and I saw that as a flaw in the story. I expected to feel the same deep attraction I had felt in the other books and it wasn't until I finished Cement Heart that I realized how WRONG I WAS.... how absolutely right everything about this relationship truly is. What made me an instant fan of this author was that she consistently crafts authentic, believable relationships between her characters and what she did with Viper's was precisely that. Considering the timeline of events in this story, considering the characters themselves and everything that lead them to this point, the level of commitment and attraction between them when this book ended was spot on. Had Ehemann done what most romance authors do, force-feeding the reader a sudden insta-love relationship where everything is flowery and fluffy and sugary sweet would have felt so manufactured, so artificial, so inconsistent with everything that lead up to that point. Instead, what this author did with her characters was pure and beautiful and honest and respectful. What she did, yet again, was brilliant.
Her eyes turned sad as she shook her head, “Don’t.”
I stared back at her, not saying a word. Selfishly, I wanted to know the answer… I needed to know the answer.
Finally, she took a shaky breath and let it out slowly. “I have thought about it and it kills me every single time because while I can’t imagine my past without him, I don’t want to imagine my future without you.”
Like anyone who’s read the Cranberry Inn series, I totally loved Viper in those books and was pumped to hear he was getting his own book. When I thought of what a book about Viper might entail, never did I ever imagine it would take me on the journey that this book took me on! I imagined Viper in all his man-whoring ways, full of his playful and carefree attitude, and having him finally meet the woman who could tame him. Oh, don’t worry, all of that was there but there was also a whole lot of tragedy, guilt, heartache and self-discovery thrown in there too! I have to say, Beth totally took a risk with this one (once you read it I think you’ll understand) but I think it totally paid off and the end result was an amazing, heavy, heartfelt book that I absolutely loved!
I am not going to say anything to spoil the story because truly this is one that’s best if you go in blind, so much happens and your heart is going to shatter long before you even realize who the heroine in the story is going to be. I don’t think I’ve ever had a book make me cry at only a quarter of the way in before, but this one certainly did. My heart was broken and I mourned for the situation but I also found myself mourning for the Viper we knew because there’s no way that a situation like that doesn’t change a person. Lucky for us, Beth is a wonderful author and the journey that Viper went on after this point was nothing short of amazing. We saw him opening up in ways he never had before and find out things about himself that he never knew. Putting the pieces back together after that fateful day really helps put the reader’s heart back together again too. I really wish I could say more because there was so much about this book that I loved, but I fear that any more than that will give something away!
I did love seeing more of Brody and Kacie and seeing what was going on in their lives now and I’ve always loved Brody and Viper’s friendship so it was great seeing Brody be there for him throughout this book. We also got a few new characters who were both amazing. I LOVED Gam! She was a spitfire and totally perfect for how I would imagine Viper’s grandmother to be! I also really loved Dr. Roberts, another character who played a pivotal role in helping us get back and even better version of the Viper we knew and loved!
Thank you Beth for taking this risk and for giving Viper such an incredible journey! It definitely isn’t one I will soon forget and I look forward to seeing what’s in store for Andy!