I like the Tarnished Soul series because it features unconventional heroes. There’s always something different to look forward to because Dev Bentham writes heroes who are real people, who are a little screwed up, who make mistakes and hopefully make amends. In Sacred Hearts we have a hero who is a recovering alcoholic and in a relationship with a compulsive gambler. When his boyfriend gambles all their money away and completely wipes out their business accounts David Schwartz is forced to shut down his thriving restaurant, default on his credit accounts and move in with his father. When he is offered work as a caterer on a movie set Puerto Vallarta he hesitates. He desperately needs the extra cash the job will provide but Mexico is where David hit rock bottom when he was drinking. Deciding he can handle it and he needs the work he heads to Puerto Vallarta. While in Puerto Vallarta he has a brief sexual encounter with a mysterious stranger. One encounter leads to another and eventually a relationship begins. But David’s gig in Mexico is only temporary and he eventually must make a decision about his future.
This is David’s journey, a chance for healing and a fresh start. Although he has a past history of alcohol abuse and he’s allowed himself to become financially ruined due to a bad relationship, he is not necessarily a broken man. David is strong and when faced with the reality of his situation he does not wallow in self-pity. He does his best to tie up loose ends and he moves on. I kept waiting for him to break under the pressure and back-slide but he doesn’t. While in Mexico he seeks out AA meetings, focuses on work and is open to what may come. While his future is uncertain, he doesn’t behave as though there is no hope and I really liked this about him.
His love interest is John, a man he “meets” on the beach. Their relationship starts out as strictly sexual and impersonal. Their encounters are brief and intense and John doesn’t hang around after, leaving David to wonder about this mysterious stranger. Eventually we find out that John has his reasons for his mysterious behavior. David is at first taken aback but despite their different backgrounds a romance begins. Although there was not a lot of focus on John and his back story, we know enough to get a basic understanding of him and who he is and why David falls for him. Together they find love, acceptance and a new beginning.
Sacred Hearts is my favorite book in the Tarnished Souls series so far. Dev Bentham has a way of making unconventional romance heroes loveable, sexy and deserving of a happily ever after.
“Fuck it. I’ll get to know you later,” I whispered into his mouth, hauling him down on top of me.