Book Reviews

Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons 3) by Heidi Cullinan

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Disability / New Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 14-June-2017

Book Blurb

Even hot messes need a happily ever after.

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill. With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.

Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

First Edition published by Samhain Publishing, 2015.

Book Review

"I’m never going to have this. Not this kind of family. Not these kinds of friends. Not with an Aaron or Kelly or Walter or Baz or anyone. No one’s ever going to love me this way. I wouldn’t know what to do with it, even if they did."

I knew, deep down inside, that Baz and Elijah's story was going to hurt. I wasn't wrong. Two deeply troubled train wrecks of emotion, these guys could keep a therapist in business for years. Instead they batter against each other, coming together and smashing apart, over and over again. Cheaper than therapy, and far more intense.

Sebastian 'Baz' Acker comes from money. The kind of money where you don't actually have to earn any more, you just tend what you have. His mother's family is sort of the Kennedys of Illinois, with his uncle being a US Senator and various other members of the family in politics. When he was sixteen he was bashed very severely outside a club in Boystown, leaving Baz with damaged retinas causing massive photophobia, and multiple broken bones. His boyfriend was killed right beside him.

Elijah Prince was raised in a strict, fundamentalist home. He ran away when he was sixteen but returned when living on the streets became too much. He lied and told his parents Jesus had brought him home, and then spent ten months in reparative therapy. His parents found out he lied after Elijah had been at St. Timothy's, and his father came looking to kill his son. Instead of harming Elijah, however, Baz got in front of the bullet and took it in the shoulder.

In a nutshell - two emotional train wrecks. Guilt, fear, shame, insecurity, loneliness, and a monstrous inability to deal with their feelings is only the beginning. Miraculously, for all the differences in their social upbringing, Baz and Elijah are so alike it's almost frightening. They understand the things about the other that they hide, because they've spent years hiding the same things. Oh, but how I empathized with Elijah when he goes home with Baz to Chicago. It was very Julia Roberts, right down to the store clerk looking down his nose at him until he spotted Baz, of course.

“We don’t know how to boyfriend. We can barely friend.”

I could really go on and on and on about Baz and Elijah, what makes them tick, what makes them right together, but there is so much more going on in this book. Granted, they're the focus, but so many underlying subplots are woven so beautifully into their romance, it makes it very hard to put this book down.

A gorgeous story with an emotional wallop. One that will take me a while to process fully. Thank you, Heidi, it was everything I hoped it would be, and way more.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 312 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 15-April-2017
Price $3.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback
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