I love that we (finally) have a sensitive, well-researched romance novel starring a heroine living a relatively normal life with HIV. Honestly, it’s about time. Brava Karen Rose for giving this book the love, research, and tone it deserves. This is the second romance novel I’ve read this year where one of the main characters has a sexually transmitted disease; both were published by Berkley Romance. So, thank you to them for leaning into serious topics in romance novels.
Okay, onto my review. Is it weird to say that a romantic suspense novel covering topics like HIV, child abuse, and murder is cute? Because it is. Well, at least the romance between Diesel and Dani is freaking adorable. Diesel has been in love with Dani for years, and their whole friend group is aware. Dani herself is aware but has reservations for many valid reasons. Dani is a fierce survivor and I admired her as a character, even when I occasionally wanted to shake her for ignoring her feelings.
Now, onto Diesel. My sexy, bald, mountain of a beta hero. I love him. How can you not? He’s a hacker with a heart of gold and a mile-wide soft spot for kids in need. I would recommend reading this book for him alone! His emotional vulnerability and gentleness with the traumatized children in his care turned my heart to mush. New book boyfriend alert for sure.
This sweet push and pull love story was contrasted by a truly dark thriller. This book isn’t for the faint of heart. The child trafficking and child abuse are explored in-depth and could be triggering for some readers. As I mentioned, Ms. Rose handles tough topics with grace and sensitivity, but that doesn’t make it any easier to read.
I did knock off a star because I felt Diesel and Dani’s love story got repetitive at times. I also felt the many, many, MANY characters were a little overwhelming. I’m sure it will be a treat for series devotees, but the book didn’t stand alone as well as I would have preferred.
Overall, I read this 500+ page book in two days. Find a comfy chair and hot beverage because this book is the perfect companion.
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**