Saturday, March 2, 2019

Release Blitz: Rapid Response (Hearts & Health #8) by DJ Jamison (Review+Excerpt+Giveaway)

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK - Exclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited

Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design

Length: 92,000 words approx.

Hearts & Health Series

Book #1 - Heart Trouble - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 - Bedside Manner - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 - Urgent Care - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 - Room For Recovery - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #5 - Surprise Delivery - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #6 - Orderly Affair - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #7 - Operation Makeover - Amazon US | Amazon UK


A confused straight guy and a gay hookup artist walk into a bar ...

Firefighter Sean Connolly is straight -- until one impulsive night changes everything. He tries to dismiss it as a fluke, but when a fire rescue leads him back to the guy who blew his mind, he's thrown into a chaos of confusion and want. He gives in to curiosity, exploring a new side to himself -- not just his attraction to a man, but his desperate need to please.

Paramedic Jace Gillespie is a hookup pro, never letting anyone get too close. When he meets Sean, though, he feels a connection right away. An ill-advised threesome seems to kill a friendship in the making, but when they're thrown together by work, it doesn't take long for passion to reignite. Sean calls to something in Jace he never knew was there, and together, they explore a dynamic that fulfills them both.

But as feelings deepen, doubts surface. Sean is in the closet, and Jace struggles to trust his promise that it won't last forever. With family conflict and his career in the balance, Sean finds it difficult to picture his life without secrecy, but if he doesn't find a way, he may lose the one person he most wants to please.

Rapid Response is the longest novel of the Hearts and Health series at approximately 92,000 words! It can be read as a standalone.


Sean glanced into the mirror, and though he looked like the same guy on the outside — dark hair, dark eyes, unremarkable face — he didn’t recognize the one on the inside. And that was scary.

“I’m sorry,” he scraped out.

“For what? Staring at my mouth, or for hiding from yourself?” Jace asked caustically.

Sean swallowed hard. His traitorous eyes found Jace in the mirror, locking on the mouth in question. Pink, full lips. Jace had been a good kisser. A good … sucker.

“Yeah, just like that,” Jace said.

Sean jerked his gaze to Jace’s eyes, which bored into him, their power not diluted in the slightest by the mirror acting as their go-between. Could Jace see what was inside? If he could...

“Sorry,” Sean whispered. “I didn’t realize I...”

“What, Sean? What didn’t you realize?”

“That I, um. That I...” He couldn’t get the words out.

“That you like my mouth? That you want it on you again? That you—”

Sean spun around. “Shut up.”

“Make me.”

His breath caught. “What?”

“You heard me,” Jace said. “Make me shut up. You know exactly how to do it.”

Sean hesitated, and Jace smirked. “Yeah, I didn’t think so.”

Frustrated and frazzled, Sean acted on instinct, doing exactly what Jace had asked. He grabbed the front of Jace’s shirt, spun him around, and shoved him against the counter containing the row of sinks.

Then he kissed him.


To make him shut up.

It was the only way to get him to stop talking. Gloating. Jace had practically ordered him to do it, the bastard. And Sean needed to shut up the doubts in his head, too.

He closed his eyes, blocking out all thought, and sank into the feeling of Jace’s perfect, hot mouth on his again.

4 Stars!

Pretty good intro to this author, once Sean started to put himself first and found himself.

This is my first book by this author and at first, I thought it was going to be one with a bi character and the whole 'attempting to reverse bi erasure' trope, but refreshingly, it didn't go that way. I'm not even sure this was a 'label tale', just one where a totally unsuspecting until-now-straight/ish guy met a gay guy he was attracted to, and had his mind and his options opened. And, I think, he found himself, his real self.

I did like Sean, but he seemed to always want to please everyone - friends, work, brothers, sister, mum, boss, and Jace - the guy he'd suddenly found himself attracted to. He was just too used to thinking of others and their feelings and not causing any ripples, so he seemed to deny himself. Not that there seemed to be anything until right now that he was passionate about, and he seemed a really passive, fairly easily swayed type, but slowly, over the course of the tale, he learned to put himself first, man up and be a stronger person for speaking his mind and standing up to things. What I liked is that the change in him was all done over the whole course of the book, realistically and slowly, believably, and not in a eureka! moment that would have seemed faux. He was the sweetest guy, but he really didn't have much backbone and had been existing, it seemed, rather than living. Until Jace.

Jace was very different. Strong, because he'd had no choice but to rely on himself and his best friend and best friend's family as a teen, and it made him. The loss of his family and the hate spewed by his brother broke him in one way, but made him in another, and it really felt like Jace needed to come into Sean's life to open his eyes to living and wanting, not just existing in an 'easy listening' kind of way.

There's a fair bit happening in this tale, various minor, low-key angst (angst is a slightly strong word, but I can't think of another one that fits) scenarios that took up Sean's time and attention, but I liked how he started to think about life beyond these things, consider what was important to him and realise that it was OK to put himself first. He was a very human, very sweet character, but at the start of the tale he lacked backbone, until he realised that he could continue his mundane life slightly bored and without anything he loved or enjoyed above all else, and he burned all his boats. It wasn't done with fanfare or drama, but with a quiet kind of knowing he had to, or he'd be living a life of lies through omission. No big drama, no big coming out, just sensible conversations with the conviction of his feelings behind them. And yes, he messed up along the way, and yes, Jace had the right to be annoyed, feel a bit betrayed and want to look after himself, so there was an element of justified angst... just with a little too much stuff that was a bit on the mundane side. I think a bit of streamlining would have helped tighten this tale and make Sean less of a passive type, but I think meeting Jace was the making of him.

I know this is the 8th book in a series, but I had no trouble picking it up and getting into the storyline. I suspect that Sean's bi brother, Ian, has had his tale in the series. I’m sure others may love this book but I’m not sure I was invested enough to read the next one. It was a tale with a couple of decent leads, but there was just a bit too much peripheral stuff happening for me. And, the set-up for the next tale was a little too obvious and glaring - I'd suspected something about a certain character and his ways, but even with the reveal it wasn't enough to make him future lead material for me.

ARC courtesy of the author and Bayou Book Junkie, for my reading pleasure.

Author Bio

DJ Jamison is the author of more than a dozen m/m romances, including the Ashe Sentinel series and the Hearts and Health series. She writes a variety of queer characters, from gay to bisexual to asexual, with a focus on telling love stories that are more about common ground than lust at first sight. DJ grew up in the Midwest in a working-class family, and those influences can be found in her writing through characters coping with real-life problems: money troubles, workplace drama, family conflicts and, of course, falling in love. DJ spent more than a decade in the newspaper industry before chasing her first dream to write fiction. She spent a lifetime reading before that, and continues to avidly devour her fellow authors' books each night. She lives in Kansas with her husband, two sons, two fish and, regrettably, one snake.

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