Review: A Fallen Heart (Zero Hour #2) by Cate Ashwood

After his last disastrous relationship, Joseph Ford has absolutely no interest in getting attached again. Concentrating on working as a trauma nurse and keeping his life as simple as possible are his only goals. Unfortunately, his plans could be derailed by the charming, sexy Nash.

Things are looking up for paramedic Ridley Nash when he transfers to Station 217. He gets along with the crew, likes his partner, and is finally on a team willing to accept him—gay and all. It’s everything he’s always wanted, but when he meets Ford, Nash knows his life is about to get very interesting.

As Ford and Nash find themselves stuck in the middle of a homicide case, things become more complicated. For the last year, the mutilated bodies of teenage boys have been showing up all over downtown. With no leads, the police are getting desperate. One of the victims is found alive, and he’s the best chance the police have to catch the killer—if only they can get him to talk.

Will Nash be able to catch Ford when he falls, or is there too much standing in their way to make it work?

There were things that I liked about this book and up to the last 20% it was looking like a 3 heart read. 

Nash is the best part of this book. He's an EMT with a heart of gold. He's laid back, cares about his job, his patients, does his best to get along with his co-workers, puts others at ease and has a generosity of spirit that's readily apparent. I liked him a lot.

He meets Ford who's an ER nurse and sparks fly. It's clear they're both attracted to each other but Ford keeps putting Nash off. This is where things started to come apart for me.

Ford's previous boyfriend was a dick. Ford's feels were hurt. I get that it's hard to get back in the saddle after getting kicked in the teeth. What I don't get is the globalization that he's defective and unloveable. He keeps making references to repeatedly picking the wrong guys, but never gives specifics. In order for this woe is me I'm too damaged to ever have a relationship trope to work for me I need specificity above and beyond because reasons. I need to feel it. I need the author to make me invest in a pervasive lack of self-worth otherwise I'm going to side eye its triteness.

He and Nash spend virtually all their free time together and things are going SO WELL! The strongest point of the book was their relationship development. The connection between them is clear, the sex was hot enough, Ford even gets along well with Nash's parents. There were any number of great moments and then Nash (very naturally) utters the L word and Ford freaks.

I can actually buy this reaction, because LOVE... WHOA. But when Ford trotted out the whole I can't do a relationship because I'm defective it felt like a lazy plot device that had me looking for the check. 

That coupled with the 180 from I can't to I can that happened at headspinning speed made it seem like an alternative fact of which I am not a fan.

I was surprised by the thriller storyline and I would not have been mad if this plot had been more prominent. A serial killer has been wreaking havoc by carving up homeless kids and Joel somehow escapes. He and Ford form a bond immediately. All of their interactions were heartwarming and had me hanging on Joel's every word for clues. The case isn't solved and there is definitely a to be continued. I have a suspect in mind for who could be the ring leader, though I kind of hope I'm wrong. To be honest, I may read the next one just for the thriller aspect alone.

Also, I didn't read the first one in this series and had no trouble keeping up with who the secondary characters are, all of whom contribute to the narrative to varying degrees. 

I'd still recommend this to MM romance fans despite my lackluster reaction to it since mileage will inevitably vary on the trope I took issue with.

A review copy was provided.

Find out more on Goodreads & Dreamspinner Press.


  1. One of those rare books we have really disparate ratings on. I ate up both books so far in this one, but I get where you lost it.

    1. Thanks Debra! I tried & I would try something else by this author. I was in there & then it went sideways on me.

      ~Cupcake (even though it says the whole blog it's just me!)