Author: Angelia Sparrow, Naomi Brooks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short Story (35 pages)
Publisher: Storm Moon Press (September 6th, 2013)
Heat Level: Moderate
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥2.5~3 Hearts
Blurb: After enduring a brutal assault, IRA explosive expert Seosamh O’Brien, fled his war-torn homeland for America. Now Joe Colson, he wears his scarred face like armor and keeps out the whole world, protecting the meager little life he’s carved out for himself as an illegal immigrant in the Boston slums. But a night programmer with a face like an angel and an elfin grin full of mischief gets past the armor and scars, and into the softer places of Joe’s heart, before he quite realizes what is happening.
Previously released as part of the Carved in Flesh Anthology.
Review: This story has a very melancholy feel to from start to finish. Even as it has a HEA, it still struck me as a melancholic one. Joe is an Irish man living in the states working night shifts as a security guard. The night job suits him as his face is deeply scarred and he hates the look on people’s faces when they see him. From the very beginning, you get the idea that Joe is merely going through routine functions in life and not actually living. His depression is glaring and thing only start changing when a young programmer, Ryan, joins him in his breaks. Ryan is different from most people, he doesn’t stare, doesn’t comment on his scars and certainly doesn’t feel or act awkward around Joe. An attraction hovers and finally both act upon it, even as Joe believes, it’ll not lead anywhere.
The fact that the main character doesn’t expect anything from life and/or doesn’t believe anything good will happen to him, makes this read peculiar. This behavior/belief accompanies Joe from start to end and with good reason. He is not your average character. Joe is in fact a former terrorist, a man who has committed murders and the scars on his face are a result of revenge from anti-IRA people. While having nightmares about his crimes Joe is also set upon his deeds. He acknowledges them and knows he’ll eventually pay for them.
The romance to his life is unexpected. Ryan is young and drop dead gorgeous. A guy like him I’d find hard to believe would go for an old man like Joe that has not only twice his years but is deeply deformed, and so does Joe. I half expected Ryan to drop him in the end, through the entire read I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. However, this was the only thing that kept my attention for the story is nice, sweet, smooth, and quite transparent.
As a non-Irish reader, I found it a nice read even as I knew that the main character was not the hero type but actually a criminal. However, I read a review from an Irish reader and according to it, the story has many false facts and not proper research. So heads up if you’re Irish, this might cause you so discomfort.