I got sucked into this story on the first page and stayed up late devouring the book in one sitting. The story is narrated in third person from Mark’s perspective, and I really liked him as a character. Despite an accident in his teens putting him in a wheelchair, he has moved forward and made a life for himself. Although in a wheelchair, that is not what defines him and nor does it stop him from living his life to the fullest.
His relationship with his husband, Starr, is very sweet, and it’s obvious that the two men are very much in love. I enjoyed their interactions, and their family life with their two boys Jory and Jarrett. It felt very realistic, and made me smile. The supporting cast of friends and family added to the storyline and gave the impression of the story being a slice of a complete world.
However, as with life, this story is not all sweetness and light. I really liked the way in which Mark—who is married to an African American and is raising African American sons—realises that being black brings with it bigotry that he hasn’t experienced before, despite being in a wheelchair and being gay. With his job as a 911 call centre operative, he listens to a lot of people at the other end of his phone, not all of whom share his perspective of the world. Heroes don’t all fight crime out in the field wearing a cape.
Mark and Starr also do fight on occasion, and like with most couples, the reason behind it is not always totally rational. This also added realism to the story, and when Starr is involved in a callout which goes quickly south I was on the edge of my seat needing to know that he would be okay.
The author’s writing style makes for a very easy read, and I’d been reading for some time, needing to see what happens next, without realising how late it was. It’s not the first novella I’ve read of Michael P. Thomas’s and hopefully it won’t be the last.
I’d recommend You Had Me At Hero to readers who enjoy a contemporary romance with interesting likeable characters which tackles some big issues but without shoving it in the reader’s face. 5 out of 5 stars.
Title: You Had Me at Hero
Author: Michael P. Thomas
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary, Interracial
Publisher: JMS Books
When seventeen-year-old Mark Potts fell from a balcony, he lost both the use of his legs and any faith in heroes. Now twenty-nine, he’s long-since come to terms with his injury. His job provides more opportunities for eye-rolling than for riding to anybody’s rescue, but with two kids to bring up, he barely has time for his husband, much less for heroics. Besides, Starr Bradford is a policeman — how many heroes does one family need?
Mark and Starr love each other madly, but stress management is a load-bearing pillar of their happiness. When Mark’s coping skills fail him at exactly the wrong moment, he’s left hanging by a thread of words he should’ve kept in his mouth. He has the power to repair their relationship, but when Starr’s workday suddenly goes south, will he get to wield it? Keeping it together long enough to find out is a job worthy of any superhero!
JMS Books: http://www.jms-books.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=29_94&products_id=2008
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6XBBMF/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N6XBBMF/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N6XBBMF/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01N6XBBMF/
The 911 call center was tucked into a park in the middle of town. Mark and Starr lived in a neighborhood of post-World War II brick ranch houses east of the park, barely a five-minute drive at three in the morning. Even after being corralled by Coretta, Mark was out of his clothes, out of his chair, and into the bed by three-thirty, with his arms around his husband at three-thirty and about two seconds. Geeze but it felt good to cuddle up next to Starr. Any trace of a world that might exist outside their bed fizzled away as soon as they were in it together. Even if he tried, which he had long given up doing, he couldn’t focus on a worry, couldn’t retain the residue from even the most stressful call. With Starr in his arms, there was no room left for fear, no way to also hold on to doubt. With Starr in a patrol car and two sons careening through life in America while being black, these things were easy enough to find during the day, but in the quiet dark, Starr’s body throwing heat like rocks in a sauna, Mark’s defenses—which Starr assured him were more finely tuned than most people’s—melted away.
When Starr rolled over with the whoosh of a contented sigh to take Mark in his own arms, Mark knew he was safe. He knew he was loved. And when his hand followed a hunch along the ridge of Starr’s muscled belly, he knew he was desired. He took a great handful of Starr’s warm, heavy balls and watched a sleepy grin spread across his face.
This mumbled verification always made Mark laugh. As opposed to…? “No. It’s a jewel thief,” he said, gathering Starr’s balls and giving his sac a tug. “I just struck it rich.”
The grin grew and Starr rolled onto his back. “Take whatever you want, just please don’t hurt me.”
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About the author
Michael P. Thomas is a flight attendant whose writing is continually inspired by his work with the flying public, who flatly refuse to be boring. The author of three novel-length gay romances and a number of romantic and erotic shorts, he writes gay fiction because when he was coming out he sure was glad to have it to read. After misspending his youth in San Francisco, he now lives in his native Colorado with his husband.