Radical Hearts (Deviant Hearts, Book 2) by A.E. Ryecart #Audiobook #Review #MMRomance #LGBT #Contemporary

Erryn reviews ‘Radical Hearts (Deviant Hearts Book 2)’ by A.E. Ryecart. This book was released  on June 20, 2018, and is 360 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Dan Calley.  It was released on February 27, 2020 and is 8 hrs and 33 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Why I read this book: I loved book 1 and wanted to know more about Lee.

How far would you go to protect the one you love?

Allowing a man into his life would be one distraction too many for security consultant Lee Adams, especially when the ink’s still wet on the career-defining deal he’s just signed with a high-profile property tycoon. 

Dominic Russell can’t help but notice the out of place, moodily good looking guy in the sharp, corporate suit who’s sheltering from the rain in the radical bookshop where he works. Just like he can’t help flirting with him.

With strands of bright dye running through Dominic’s dark hair, and his rainbow wristbands, Lee tells himself there’s nothing the two of them could have in common. Yet when Dominic asks him to a campaign meeting to save an iconic LGBTQ venue from being bulldozed out of existence, Lee says yes when everything tells him he should be saying no.

Against the background of Lee and Dominic’s unlikely love story, the Save Charlie campaign is falling apart. Nobody’s interested and nobody cares. When a stranger with vision, passion, and conviction arrives on the scene he’s the shot in the arm the campaign needs, and he’s come with a full syringe. 

But something about Charlie’s savior doesn’t add up. Lee’s determined to find out what, and why. 

As the disturbing, sinister truth is unearthed, it’s not only Lee and Dominic’s future together that’s in danger, it’s their very lives.

Radical Hearts is a tense, grip the edge of your seat opposites attract romantic suspense novel. No cliff hangers, guaranteed.

Buy Links: Audible  | Amazon  | Add to Goodreads 

Erryn’s Review:

I listened to Captive Hearts, not knowing what I was getting into.  The book was violent, heartbreaking, and emotional.  I loved it, and it’s up there on my really enjoyed list.  When this second book in the series came out on audio, I nabbed it, and I’m so glad I did.  I think I was expecting violence, and there was some, to be sure, but it was more unexpected and therefore had just as much emotional impact on me as the last book did.

Lee Adams was in the last book as a grizzled undercover police detective.  He was critical in rescuing Billy Grace.  He became friends with Billy and Dash, even visiting the B&B they opened.  He intrigued me, and I was thrilled to see that his book was to be next in the series.  Billy and Dash make a cameo in this book, and it’s nice to see the progress Billy is making in his recovery.  Not always easy, but with Dash’s support, he’s making improvements.

Back to Lee.  He’s left the police department and has moved into private security.  He’s got a couple of lucrative contracts but his personal life is on the downslide.  He broke up with his long-time partner and has moved into a crappy little flat, unwilling to sell the joint property, more to spite his ex than any worry about getting the highest market price.  Bitter?  Just a bit.  And rightly so.  One day he enters a bookstore to get out of the rain.  There’s a café serving healthy food, but that’s not what draws him in.  He meets a young man who snags his attention.  There’s a bit of flirting, but Lee perceives a rival for the man’s attention and he’s not into playing games.  He doesn’t fish in anyone else’s pond.

Dominic Russell is intrigued by the stranger, and annoyed his ex-boyfriend won’t let up in his pursuit.  Dom literally found the slimebag in their bed with someone else, and he has no interest in going there again.  The ex swears he’s changed, but I’m glad Dom recognizes he got lucky.  Now, though, the stranger has disappeared and there’s no chance they’ll ever meet up again, right?

Lee’s curiosity brings him back to the bookshop.  There’s a local LGBTQ pub that is about to be demolished, and the owners of the bookstore are leading a campaign to save it.  Lee’s wary of activists and becomes concerned when he sees Dom is involved.  By then he’s becoming involved with Dom himself.  This sets up the conflict nicely – Dom wants to save the old pub by whatever means necessary (short of violence), while Lee wants Dom safe and sound and at home in bed.

Part of me was torn.  Activism is often the best way to accomplish goals, but I always wonder just how much difference these acts of defiance make.  I drive past a group every weekend who are protesting the treatment of chickens at a processing plant.  I admire their determination.  I feel guilty about not being a vegan.  Then I move on.  I have a friend who was arrested for that activism (he broke into a processing plant).  Do I admire him?  Yes.  Would I join him?  Uh, no.  I’ll sign a petition, but I know that doesn’t really make a difference.  Should I be more active?  Do more when I see wrongs?  I’m quite sure the answer is yes.  I’ll continue to donate money strategically, sign petitions, and share stories, but that’s as far as I’m able to go.  Will I ever be a radical?  Doubt it.

Did this book push me?  Yes, it did.  I wanted Lee and Dom to get their happy ending and they did, but man it was a rough ride.  Like I said, there was violence in this book.  Should I have seen it coming?  Possibly, but if I had I think that might have lessened the effect.  In the end, I loved this book almost as much as I loved the first one.

Dan Calley is quickly becoming one of my favorite British narrators.  He helms this series as well as Jack L. Pyke’s Don’t books.  He’s got gruff and grizzled down pat, but he also has a surprisingly lighter voice for Dom.  The differentiation with the different voices worked, and this was another great performance by this talented narrator.  I hope to see more of him in the future.  And I can’t wait for the final book to come out on audio.

Erryn’s Rating:

10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars

Website | Goodreads | Twitter @aeryecart

A born and bred Londoner, she may have moved to someplace more leafy but the city is still very much part of her DNA, which is why her books are set in and around present-day London, providing a thrilling, metropolitan backdrop to the main action.

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