Open Hearts by Eve Dangerfield
Released: April 25, 2017
Reviewed by Mandi
This is my first time reading Eve Dangerfield and it won’t be my last. Tori reviewed the first book in this series for Smexy and enjoyed it – Open Hearts reads fine as a stand alone although the previous hero and heroine do have a big part in this book. I’m curious to find out just how their HEA unfolded in book one, but I followed along just fine in book two.
I’ll say upfront that this book started out super strong for me but I did have an issue I couldn’t overlook by the end. I have a rule that I won’t recommend a book or go on a twitter swoon-fest about a book until I’m at least halfway done. And I broke that rule (I always break that rule) and started drooling all over this book on social media, but then ended up having an issue with it.
This book starts out fabulously and had me in tears of laughter (I seriously laughed so hard my nose started running). Ash and her sister Jules had a shit life growing up and they aim for better things. Growing up very poor with neglectful parents, Ash went through a period of modeling (sometimes scantily clad) and sleeping around until she matured and decided she wanted to lead a more productive life. She went to school and is now a midwife, delivering babies to happy mamas. She is thirty-five (I think) and just got out of a terrible relationship where she realized she is sick of taking care of men – picking up after them, and paying for everything etc… She wants to have a baby, on her own, and for eight months stops smoking, stops dating, and gets her life ready to be impregnated by donor sperm.
Ash wasn’t afraid of being alone, but she was so, so afraid of never becoming a mother.
Then she meets Dean at a party for her sister’s video game launch. Dean is her sister’s boyfriend’s best friend. He is a big, bearded ginger and they have very hot and dirty sex in the bathroom at the party. Dean is a roofer, also a footballer and is known to ramble a lot. And forget things a lot. Some may call him ditzy. Others may call him stupid.
Red [Dean] was a genuine Aussie larrikin. The kid of careless, fun-loving guy who was useless at anything other than stupid dares and drinking forty-two cans of beer without dying. The kind of rogue that could carry off a man’s wife and have the bloke say, ‘oh, go on then, scamp!’ Larrikins were fun at parties and bad at life, they also made terrible, terrible boyfriends. As Max and Dean snarfed prawns, Ash allowed herself a small moment of despair. Red was gorgeous. Why was the universe always making gorgeous men and giving them the brains of iguanas?
His previous girlfriend used him and called him these names, leaving his self-esteem quite low. He also came from a shit-family, who are still using him.
He falls for Ash hard and fast – but Ash reallllly doesn’t want to have a serious boyfriend. So she pushes him away. And he begs, and begs for her. He will give her anything – and she goes back to him for sex, and more sex. AND more sex. Dean thinks if he keeps giving her orgasms, she will eventually fall in love. But she is super set on having a baby on her own. She also thinks Dean’s life isn’t in a place where he could care for a family. He is bad with money. He is thirty-five and doesn’t have his stuff together. However, all Dean wants is a family and to love Ash and give her babies.
And this is where my problem comes in. There is a fine line between making Dean ditzy and treating him without respect. He gets made fun of in this book and it made me feel bad sometimes. I mean – your best friend can make fun of you – sure. But, the woman who is supposedly falling in love with you – does Ash truly love him and accept him for who he is by the end? I just don’t know. I think she loves his body and his orgasms, but I also think she takes advantage of his extremely kind, patient, giving attitude. And I’m not sure she genuinely loved 100% of Dean by the end. I wish I could have seen her passion towards him more, rather than just the epilogue. I feel like she put up with his “ditzy” moments but didn’t fully embrace all of him.
Otherwise, I really did love this author’s voice. She made me laugh. I like how outspoken her heroines are. They really don’t give a shit about being judged. Ash and Jules (sisters) love for each other far outweighed their love for their men. But they were all they had growing up so I can see how strong that love would be. Max and Dean were great together as well – best friends and roomies, they fight but also have each other’s backs:
“You and Jules are like, the best couple ever. You make single people want to kill themselves.”
Max perked up a bit. “We do?”
“Fuck yeah. I’ve never seen you happier, and I once saw you pat a dolphin while you were on ecstasy.”
I’ll definitely be reading more Eve Dangerfield. But Dean’s portrayal leaves me a bit uneasy in this one.