Virtual Tour: Crossed Hearts by K. Vale ~ (ARC Review, Author Interview, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Author Name: K. Vale
Book Name: Crossed Hearts
Book one in the Hearts and Scars series
Release Date: April 27, 2015
Publisher: Kimber Vale
Cover Artist: Dana Priebe
One heart’s been broken. The other is secondhand.
Kory Vansant doesn’t deserve to be alive.
As time sucks him dry of energy, sapping the final ounces of strength from his congenitally enlarged heart, he's forced to end his career as Kory Kent, porn star. Staring down death, he questions his life choices and prays for a miracle. For another chance at life, he vows to change who he is at his core.
His prayers are answered. A perfect heart now beats in his chest, but it comes at a heavy price. The donor is an innocent young man cut down far too prematurely.
Kory's blemished history and his donor's spotless past are far from ideal matches.
As his debts skyrocket, Kory can’t help but think his resolve to walk the high road is being tested. After he meets the adorable Will Squire at the gravesite they both visit, he’s doubly damned because there’s no way he can keep up his end of the bargain. What happens when a man breaks a deal with a higher power?
Will often prefers the company of the dead to that of the living. Following a bad breakup, he pours himself into his two jobs—funeral director at his uncle’s mortuary and part-time paramedic. He’s drawn ever closer to Kory, as if fate sticks her fickle hand in and pushes them together like two unlikely puzzle pieces. But sometimes history can’t be buried, and maybe divine intervention isn’t always right. Will discovers everyone is imperfect, no matter how pretty the outer package, and opening one’s heart is never easy, but can be oh, so worth the pain.
Categories: Contemporary, Fiction, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance
The man scratched the scrub on his chin. “Heart recipient,” he said finally. “I’m Kory—umm…Kory Vansant.” Holding out his hand, he took another step. Will’s fingers were swallowed in warm skin and bone.
“Will Squire.” Again, he couldn’t tear his gaze from the tease of scar tissue jutting from the crotch of Kory’s shirt collar. The urge to reach out and trace a finger over the pink relief of healed tissue was strong. Just like I touched Brandon’s incision. The stark difference between the two—one wound marking the end of a life and the other a salvation—was surreal. Will was nothing but an outsider looking in on a miracle, but somehow he felt he’d come around full circle.
“Want me to get naked so you can see the whole thing?”
Will closed his eyes for a moment and then looked up, his face flaming with a mix of embarrassment and immediate, fierce arousal. “I’m sorry. Totally rude.”
Kory smiled good-naturedly. “No worries. It’s a way to reclaim who I am, or was. Or some crap. I’m not just my medical status, like they keep saying at my support group.”
“No. Of course you’re not.”
He laughed loud and deep, and the warmth in Will’s face drifted down his body. “I’ve adopted it as my little icebreaker whenever people stare,” Kory said.
“Well, ice broken.” Will gulped. Hell, ice melted into a rolling boil.
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*Copy provided by the author/publisher via Pride Promotions in exchange for an honest review*
I really enjoyed reading Kory and Will's story. They are two men who are broken in very different ways. Will has had his heart broken, and Kory has had his replaced. Kory made a deal with God to give up his sorted past if he could just have a second chance at life. Kory isn't sure if that means giving up love too.
This was a good book. I loved the story line and I loved Will and Kory, they were both extremely likable characters. I have a Kidney disease, and although hopefully I will never need a transplant, I have done research on the subject and am familiar with the medications taken and the statistics for transplant patients, and I have to say the author did her research. The medical portion seemed to be pretty accurate. The issues Kory had with the transplant, the guilt he felt was very believable.
The characters had good chemistry and they were both just really sweet. The were both very vulnerable in different ways, and complimented each other. The story was well written and had me turing the pages to see what would happen next.
My problem with the book is I found there were issues left unresolved. Not so much with the main characters, but with a secondary character. I was heartbroken for this character and I wanted to know what happened to him. I see this is book one so hopefully his story will be told. Since it is book one, I am not removing any stars, I am going to give the author the benefit of the doubt, that I'll find out his story in the future.
Initially, I decided to try writing MM because I saw a bunch of submission calls for gay erotic short stories that sounded like fun themes. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to pull it off, though, so I picked up a few K.A. Mitchell books for research. I fell in love with the genre, and that was it.
Did you have to do a lot of research for the subject matter of this book?
I did a fair amount of research into embalming. The medical stuff was easier as I’m an RN. I renewed my Basic Life Support accreditation while writing Crossed Hearts, which came in handy in making sure my opening scene was medically correct. I even asked the paramedic instructor a few questions to be certain Will and Jon were performing emergency care in the proper order of importance. No, I didn’t tell her it was for a book. ;-)
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
My biggest challenge was probably balancing somewhat darker themes (death, guilt) with romance, but I think I managed to pull it off. I was nervous while writing, and wondered if I’d read through the finished product and find it didn’t work. I let Will and Kory’s love develop slowly—that felt right given the circumstances of their meeting, but because of that slower build, it seemed real when all was said and done, and their happily ever after was more believable.
What inspired you to write this book?
I think I’ve always been intrigued with organ transplant as far as how it affects people on both sides of the equation. Recipients must be tremendously relieved, but there also has to be sorrow, possibly guilt, because someone died in order for the recipient to survive. Toss the coin—what must it be like for family members of donors? Yes, they are faced with unimaginable loss, but at the same time, parts of their loved ones are still alive. Would either party be interested in seeking out the other? How would that play out, particularly if the recipient felt utterly undeserving of the gift of life?
At what age did you write your first story and what was it about?
Crud, I’m not sure. I remember writing a sci-fi short for school—probably fourth grade?—about a guy who invented robots that ended up taking over the world and killing everyone. The story was from his point of view as he was barricaded in his lab and the robots were outside working their way in. It ended abruptly when they got to him. I watched too much Twilight Zone and The Dark Room as a kid.
About The Author:K. Vale writes erotic romance of all stripes, from hot hetero to mouthwatering manlove. Find her MF work published under Kimber Vale. Come for the sex. Stay for the story. Stalk Kimber on Facebook and Twitter @KimberVale, and check her site for updates, new releases, and freebies at http://www.authorkimbervale.com.
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Rafflecopter Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card