Reviewed by Donna
TITLE: The Half of Us
SERIES: Family Collection #4
AUTHOR: Cardeno C
PUBLISHER: The Romance Authors
LENGTH: 224 Pages
Short-tempered, arrogant heart surgeon Jason Garcia grew up wanting a close-knit family, but believes he ruined those dreams when he broke up his marriage. The benefit of divorce is having as much random sex as he wants, and it’s a benefit Jason is exploiting when he meets a sweet, shy man at a bar and convinces him to go home for a no-strings-attached night of fun.
Eight years living in Las Vegas hasn’t dimmed Abe Green’s optimism, earnestness, or desire to find the one. When a sexy man with lonely eyes propositions him, Abe decides to give himself a birthday present—one night of spontaneous fun with no thoughts of the future. But one night turns into two and then three, and Abe realizes his heart is involved.
For the first time, Abe feels safe enough with someone he respects and adores to let go of his inhibitions in the bedroom. If Jason can get past his own inhibitions and open his heart and his life to Abe, he might finally find the family he craves.
It’s fair to say that Cardeno C. is a favourite of mine. In my opinion, this author can write pretty much anything and make it shine. This fourth book in the Family Collection, The Half of Us, is a brilliant combination of sappy sweetness and absolutely raunchy sex. It’s like a modern fairytale on Viagra, and while I’m not normally a fan of such frequent sex scenes, I can’t deny that this book worked for me.
Jason Garcia’s life is in a bit of a mess, although he doesn’t quite grasp the fact that he’s not actually happy. He repeatedly cheated on his wife, until she’d had enough and left his skanky ass, and he only sees his teenaged children a couple of days a fortnight. His job as a cardiothoracic surgeon is fulfilling yet high-pressured and his love life consists of trolling bars and hookup apps. In his mind, the fact that he’s having nameless sex with strangers several times a week should make him happy, but it doesn’t seem to work out that way. Jason really wants a family, his perfect ideal of a family, and in his mind he can’t grasp that that’s possible with another man by his side.
In perfect contrast to Jason, Abe Green doesn’t do random hookups and sex with strangers. Until the night he meets Jason, and he does. He knows that it’s only a one time deal, but he finds the older man irresistible and decides that a night with Jason is his birthday present to himself. Abe wants to find his forever guy, but can’t help saying “yes” to Jason each time they bump into each other.
I love the way that these two sort of accidently end up in a relationship. What starts out as a series of hookups continues on until they finally have the guts to face up to the fact that they’re dating. If you can get past the fact that Jason is a bit of a dick, then these two men are perfect for each other. Once again, Cardeno C. delivers a character driven romance, no murders, vampires or hate groups necessary to liven up the plot. And what a brilliant bunch of characters they are. The whole cast consists of Jason, Abe, Jason’s ex-wife Angela, and Jason’s two teenaged children. Because there were so few people involved in this story, each one was important and well developed. I particularly liked Angela, the wronged ex-wife who was determined to see the best in Jason and genuinely wanted him to have a happy life. Such a character could easily have been written as a doormat, actually the same could be said of Abe, but instead they come across as stronger than Jason because they’re confident in who they are.
So, I mentioned the sex, right!? Jason was really into the filthy sex talk, and often in stories that can come across as cheesy and awkward, but not this time. It was damn hot and perfectly balanced out the mushy sweetness that these men occasionally slid into.
Though this book is numbered #4 in the Family collection, all of these stories are definite standalones, with only vague references or appearances by past characters.
Recommended for readers who enjoy some sexy, and I mean sexy, with their sweet.