Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I am an angst whore. Nothing gets me to click buy faster than a hero with ISSUES. And two heroes with issues? I’d have bought this even if she wasn’t an auto-buy for me.
I was one of the fans clamoring for her to turn last year’s freebie with the same title into a full-length novel. I’ll be honest and admit I liked some things about the prior opening better–I think it’s really tough when you go back and edit something that’s already been read and loved, because inevitably the changes leave out a favorite line or beat. BUT, getting a full length book out of truly unforgettable heroes? Totally worth the trade-off. If you read the sample, keep in mind that this was originally a short story–the heroes do get busy quickly, because that was the tenor of the original, bu then the story deepens and becomes more complex and richer as they work their way forward from that hot connection to something real.
This book hit ALL of my personal loves:
1) Nerdy scientist hero who doesn’t look conventionally hot
2) Jacked up, super ripped cowboy hero who doesn’t fit cowboy mold
3) Smexy times in a truck
4) Mental health handled in a realistic, careful, sensitive way. Huge kudos to Cullinan for mentioning medication & therapy and for having characters sane enough to understand their potential benefits.
5)Toppy, dirty talking smexy times
6) BDSM handled in a really sensitive way. Seriously, this book is a great example of the safe-sane-consensual parts of BDSM and the thoughtful way that the heroes approached it was really ,really nice
7) So much sweetness. And caring. These are both genuinely caring heroes and the true affection they felt seemed really real.
8) No magic cure-all. As much as I love angst, I hate the tendency of books to try to wrap everything up in a neat bow and suddenly the heroes have no more issues and everything is cured. That’s not the case here, and I think ultimately the ending is so much stronger because of it.
9) Realistic and supportive secondary characters, including women. There’s the requisite evil ex, but there’s also a lot of neutral, complex secondary characters, including the couples from the first two books of this series.
10) Angst. Angst. Angst.
Riptide prices their books high, but this particular title is well-worth the price–I think I need a new category for my keeper shelf: worth the last $8 in my spending money.