Owen Meade is desperately in need of a hero. Raised by a mother who made him ashamed of his stutter, his sexual orientation, and his congenitally amputated arm, Owen lives like a hermit in his Tucker Springs apartment. But then hunky veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.
Nick is sexy and confident, and makes Owen comfortable with himself in a way nobody ever has. He also introduces Owen to his firecracker of a little sister, who was born with a similar congenital amputation but never let it stand in her way. When she signs the two of them up for piano lessons—and insists that they play together in a recital—Owen can’t find a way to say no. Especially since it gives him a good excuse to spend more time with Nick.
Owen knows he’s falling hard for his neighbor, but every time he gets close, Nick inexplicably pulls away. Battling his mother’s scorn and Nick’s secrets, Owen soon realizes that instead of waiting for a hero, it’s time to be one—for himself and for Nick.
Each book in this series gives me one more reason to love it. This is also going to be a tough review to write, because I don’t want to give anything away. So in other words, forgive me for being vague, but there really isn’t any other way around it. Both Owen and Nick have shadows and secrets in their past, but they are their secrets to share so you’ll just have to read Never a Hero for yourself to find out what they are. I’m not going to leave potential readers totally in the dark though, honest.
This story was told completely in Owen’s POV. I was kind of surprised by that, but near the middle of the story it becomes pretty evident why. It actually makes sense from more than one aspect. Owen has a lot of hurdles to cross. He has absolutely no self confidence, self worth or friends for that matter. He has totally shut himself off and it’s not until Nick forces him out of his self imposed seclusion that he really starts to live and stand up for himself.
Nick is strong and self confident on the surface, but on the inside he’s a mess. He’s built a wall around himself that Owen is determined to break through, but he has no idea where to start and the mixed signals that he gets from him are enough to push him back into hiding. Turns out that Owen is a lot stronger than he thinks he is and seeing how much he grows from the beginning of Never a Hero until the end is an amazing journey.
There has been a wealth of emotion in each of the Tucker Springs stories, but this one was heart wrenching. There were people I wanted to shake, scream at and hug all at the same time. Yet, regardless of the heart break… and yes there is plenty, I loved this story. It was so much more than a romance. It covered prejudice, mental abuse, depression and so much more. It’s a story that a lot of people could learn something from.
Once again, the supporting characters added as much to the story as the main couple. Nick’s sister is a welcome addition and handles their shared congenital birth condition to the opposite extreme that Owen does. Previous characters also make a welcome appearance and offer their own brand of support. Nick’s parents were amazing as well. On the flip side, if there was ever a character in a contemporary romance worth hating it would have to be Owen’s mother. I wondered until the very end of the story why his father put up with her, but I forgave him. He was as much a victim as Owen in a way. I truly believe that there are some people who should never have children and that woman is definitely one of them. Okay, I think I’m done now… *sigh*
Now that I’ve gotten through all of the books up to this point in the Tucker Springs world, I can go back and actually read Where Nerves End, the first book in the series. I know, I didn’t start at the beginning, but to be fair I didn’t know that this world existed until I picked up Second Hand and I’ve been hooked ever since.