Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Heart's Desire: Kris Michaels

by - Monday, July 04, 2016

A Heart's Desire
Kris Michaels
Add to Goodreads

Released June 21, 2016
Buy Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Print | Publisher

Agent McKenzie is nobody’s ‘yes’ boy and has the letters of reprimand to prove it.

He smells the stink of political maneuvering in this case and he can see the handwriting on the wall. Hell, the words are three feet high and written in crayon. Someone in his own agency wants a target on Liam Mercier’s back but McKenzie would be damned if he’d put one there. The damaged man currently in his custody needs his protection, not manipulation. That’s why he’d agreed to use a safe house that was off the grid. Throwing away his rarely used FBI procedure book had nothing to do with the protective urges he felt around Liam. Nope, not a damn thing to do with heavy doses of desire, or spikes of lust. He was just doing his job, after all, he has a killer to catch and a victim to keep alive. Protecting his best bet of taking that sick bastard down was his civic duty.

Forced to face the nightmares of his past or lose his pension, Liam Mercier did the only thing he could do. He walked back into his personal hell. The man assigned to protect him is everything Liam wanted and needed—four years ago. Leaving the small island of sanity he’d been existing on could cost him everything. But being hunted by a genius, sadistic killer without the protection of the sexy, intense, agent was a guaranteed death sentence. Fate had dictated Liam’s course four years ago. The only thing he questioned was when his killer going to finish his work.

This is a M/M detective romance with high energy same sex relationships. 

Read an Excerpt

It’s my lucky week: my second review of a M/M romance set in a murder/thriller story. This time, it’s A Heart’s Desire, my first exposure to author Kris Michaels. Before I start the review, let me first state that if you don’t like graphic violence and gore in your novels, this novel won’t be for you. If your stomach is a little stronger—and if you happen to be a man who doesn’t mind a little “pity pain” mixed with your gore *shudder*—the thriller story makes this novel worth the read.

Former FBI agent Liam Mercier is the only man to have escaped and survived the rampage of serial killer Stuart Miller. His wounds are many: the external ones have become constant reminders as scars, but the mental ones continue to haunt him four years later. And now Miller has escaped custody, and Liam remembers Miller’s promise that he will finish what “they” started. Agent Steele McKenzie leads the task force to recapture him. McKenzie has a history of getting the job done and isn’t afraid to toss out the rule book to do it. But when the brass instruct him to use Liam as bait to draw Miller out in the open, it’s more than he can stand. Despite every fiber of his being screaming at him to stay hidden, Liam reluctantly agrees to help, because he knows that doing nothing is akin to a death sentence, for Miller will find him.

As with other novels I have reviewed that have a romance tucked into a secondary genre, there are really three things to consider: the two story arcs individually and how well they blend together to make the novel enjoyable. In this case, I enjoyed the thriller story a good deal. I’ve read enough non-romance thrillers where this was a little predictable for me, but even so, the story line worked for me, particularly since the novel’s short length precluded it from being terribly convoluted. I only have one small issue with it, and it has to do with the resolution of McKenzie butting heads with the higher-ups for how to go about recapturing Miller. It fixed things too easily in my opinion. But again, that’s just a small issue. No harm.

On the other hand, I wish the romantic arc had worked as well for me. Things started off really well. Liam’s a broken man from the trauma he suffered while in Miller’s captivity. Enter his white knight, Steele, who, instead of trying to bully Liam into doing the FBI’s bidding, does his homework to realize Liam needs to feel safe in order to cooperate. Steele essentially wraps Liam up in his protective hugeness—and at 6’6” and amazingly built, it’s an image that feels like a living warm blanket. It’s a quality that started out really endearing, and I was really looking forward to seeing how it played out. And then they had sex for the first time… and suddenly everything just felt really different to me. Instead of two men exploring their mutual attraction, I got the impression that this was a damsel-in-distress story with the damsel having a Lee Press-On Penis™. I need men in M/M romances to be convincingly male—they don’t all have to be big, butch, alpha types, but I prefer even the most effeminate or emasculated of them to be male enough so that it would take more than a name, pronoun, and genitalia change for him to be equally convincing as a woman. So this impression irked me to the point where it colored the remaining intimate interactions between them, even making the sex scenes that followed seem forced, as if the author was trying too hard to make it hot. As the story progressed, there were additional issues brought into the mix that I failed to see a reason for, even upon completing the novel. All of this made the pairing difficult for me to feel the bond and heat between them.

Blending the two story arcs didn’t really happen so much as having the romantic plot couched between the start and finish of the thriller story. While this works fine, it’s a missed opportunity for the romantic arc to gain some tension as the thriller arc plays its course. Beyond this, there are plenty of secondary characters and plot lines that are hinted at that could make good future books, though this novel is not billed as being part of a series, so I’m not entirely sure whether that will happen or not. For the most part, though, even if these other stories don’t become additional books, they work well enough as peripheral story lines in this novel to keep it from being too narrowly focused. Structurally, the novel is also very easy to follow. Only once do I recall having to reread a passage because I was unclear whose perspective I was reading, so this should not be an issue for most readers.

As a whole, A Heart’s Desire is a decent work but with a romantic arc that was written in a manner that didn’t appeal to me as much as I had hoped it would. Despite my reservations, I do recommend giving this novel a try, as it’s unclear to me whether my issues were simply a product of the particular characters the author developed here or if it’s something more integral to her writing style in general. I am curious to read another M/M novel when she writes one in order to find out.

The author generously provided me a complimentary copy of A Heart's Desire in exchange for this fair and honest review.

Kris Michaels 
Website | Facebook | Twitter | RSS Feed | Pinterest

Kris Michaels is the alter ego of a happily married wife and mother who loves to write erotic romance with a twist of military flavor. A chance meeting and immediate friendship with an established author propelled Kris into a world where her lifelong fantasy of publishing romance novels came true! Her vivid imagination and erotic fantasies evolved into the Kings of Guardian Series now under contract to be published with Troll River Publishing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You May Also Like