Book Reviews

How to Heal (Lovestrong 5) by Susan Hawke

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Law Enforcement / BDSM / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by ParisDude on 03-July-2020

Book Blurb

Take one former bully, unable to forgive himself for the sins of his past…

Clark Danvers is a wild twenty-one year old who’s trying to prove he’s an adult. With a two-year degree in hand, he manages the family car dealership and seemingly parties by night. Given the amount of times he’s been pulled over for speeding by Deputy Rick Matthews, public opinion seems to be right. But what people don’t see are the scars he carries both inside and out. Scars from a past he can’t run away from and will never be able to atone for, no matter how many times he beats himself over it.

Add one no-nonsense cop who longs to be a Daddy for the right boy…

Jericho “Rick” Matthews never expects the bratty kid who gets on his last nerve to pull at his heartstrings. When he finds Clark battered and fighting for his life in a motel room, Rick’s Daddy mode is instantly engaged. Before he can think of anything else, he must first comfort this hurting boy.

To equal a pair of men who might just be what the other needs.

The two men who thought they couldn’t stand each other are drawn together after a date gone wrong. While Rick tenderly cares for Clark, he decides what this brat needs is a Daddy… someone to help him break free from the past and embrace the promise of many happy tomorrows.


Book Review

I knew it! When I had finished book four of the ‘Lovestrong’ series, I had that gut feeling that someone had been… well, not really left out but somehow built to such an extent, as a character, that he deserved more attention. In book one he appeared as a secondary character—homo-bashing college bully Clark Danvers. He has turned from odious to intriguing, hurting young man in book three (because secretly gay himself), and that’s when I first thought he might become the central character of another installment. Lo and behold, here he is, reformed and redeemed. Aged twenty-one, manager of the family business, still struggling with anger issues and self-esteem below zero, self-loathing, self-punishing, but somehow endearing in his battles with his old demons. What I had not expected was the person with whom Susan Hawke would pair him up (even though that, too, could have been foreseeable): police deputy Jericho “Rick” Mathews, Shaw’s muscular and self-confident ex-boyfriend.


The story starts with Clark hooking up with a man he has met on a dating site for what he hopes will be a weekend of hot spanking and BDSM sessions. But the man is a creep (light spoiler: readers of the series have already encountered him previously, too). Instead of delivering what has been agreed on, he ties up Clark, forces him to do oral sex, then leaves him still bound up on the hotel bed. As Clark has instructed the hotel management he doesn’t want to be disturbed until Monday, he barely survives the two days until two cleaning ladies find him half-starved, severely dehydrated, soiled, on the brink of death. By the way, the ladies do believe he is dead already and call the police. Thus, Rick arrives on the scene. He is devastated when he sees the state the young man is in whom he only knows as a reckless, snotty youngster. When Clark is released from hospital, Rick drives him home and takes care of him until Clark’s mother, currently absent, comes back.


What follows is a heartwarming story of how to tame and heal the hurt boy Clark still is. I wasn’t really interested in Rick when he appeared as a secondary character in the previous books of this series, go figure why; but he really comes into his own in this one. He turns out to be a stubborn, but caring, intuitive, brave, and intelligent man. Clark has special needs, and Rick is the right guy to provide them. All right, the book made me discover some kinks I had never read about in such detail before (BDSM, spanking, and “daddy-ing” have never been on my to-do-list, I admit), but things were presented so naturally that I wasn’t even that surprised, let alone shocked. I found the dynamics rather interesting, to be honest. Well, for my taste, Clark and Rick discussed their blossoming relationship a tad too much; maybe it’s an American thing, maybe it was what the author thought Clark needed at that point, I couldn’t say. But all in all, it was a sweet, slightly different romance with bits of suspense and some scenes where I was even allowed to giggle (Rick’s family is a roar).





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 396 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 14-April-2019
Price $3.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $17.99 audiobook
Buy Link