Copper Point Medical: The Doctor’s Date – Heidi Cullinan
Sequel to The Doctor’s Secret
Copper Point Medical: Book Two
The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?
Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.
Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.
With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.
This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.
The Doctor’s Date has the kind of intriguing premise that immediately grabs attention. It was almost lost in TBR limbo after my bad experience with Antisocial, my first Heidi Cullinan book. Reading it now, The Doctor’s Date is a mix-bag of feels but definitely, much better than the other book.
The part that got me hooked is Erin Andreas, HR head and wallflower, spending $25,000 on Dr. Owen Gagnon, anesthesiologist, the world’s grouchiest grump, and his infamous nemesis, in the hospital bachelor auction fundraiser. Then Owen asked Erin to move in with him that very night.
This has the makings of a very squee-tastic rom-com. But unlike a rom-com where the prose and events are laced with humor, the writing leans towards misery. Many events go from bad to worse for Erin and Owen, then whiplashes to uber romantic comfort scenes designed to soothe the hurts. I don’t mind some angst and drama, but there were too many miserable moments to wade through just to get to the happier parts.
It’s why I struggled in the opening chapters. Erin’s father, head of the hospital board, was really horrible. He’s a bully who neglects him in private and belittles him in public. The guy is the kind of villain I hate the most, the lawful evil type. He made me drop the book. Owen’s dad was just as horrid, causing serious trauma to his son,. Once a musical prodigy, now Owen couldn’t bear looking at his violin.
But I kept thinking about the premise and was compelled to pick up where I left off, hoping it would get better.
The bachelor auction has some of the swooniest scenes!!! I hated Owen at first. He was drunk and high and a complete asshole. But the way he swooped in to rescue Erin from his dad! And the way he spectacularly misunderstood Erin’s motive for bidding on him, causing the dork to hatch ridiculous but hella sweet plans to protect the gob-smacked but secretly swooning Erin, it was rom-com gold!
The running metaphor here is the fairy tale about the poor prince(ss) in the tower, the ogre and the evil king. It’s fitting but a little too on the nose and repeated too often. I love the childhood connection angle in the prologue. I sensed some BL manga influences, and unlike Antisocial, it was deployed better here.
Owen and Erin as boyfriends is everything!!! It’s their magic that kept me reading because by the third arc, the story slumped. There were the not-so-exciting slice-of-life scenes that took too long reaching key events dealing with the suspected embezzlement of hospital funds, and Owen’s and Erin’s family issues. I got impatient and tuned out.
By the time it got to the climax, I barely cared about the goings-on. I wished the embezzlement issue was played up more, giving the plot a stronger mystery angle. But it was fun to see Owen, Erin and their friends forming their own Scooby Gang and taking down the bad guys. And the epilogue was too cute!!!
The Doctor’s Date holds true to its promise to sweep me off my feet with a charming fairy tale. I rooted hard for the poor little prince and squee-ed with delight to discover the ogre’s golden heart. There were monsters to slay and an evil king to vanquish. Sometimes the villains were too much, but the prince and the ogre stayed strong and true. With the help of their friends, they saved the world and lived happily ever after.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love
The Doctor’s Date is the second book of Copper Point Medical. It can be read as standalone. I haven’t read Book 1 yet.
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I grabbed this series on a whim because I like the word ‘solnyshko.’ I was glad it was the weekend because I ended up reading until 5:00 AM. I finished the first book in one sitting. This duet is just sooo good.
Now this might not be most people’s cup of tea. This comes with a list of warnings, from homophobia to graphic violence and PTSD. Things get nasty, even horrific, at some points. So please do head the TWs.
Beyond all that darkness, this is a story of ‘two broken people who found each other,‘ according to the author’s notes. It all started with a kidnapping…
The Solnyshko Duet: The Kidnapping Of Roan Sinclair – Ashlyn Drewek
Roan Sinclair’s life is perfect, just ask anyone. Set to graduate college and bound for grad school at Georgetown, Roan’s life has been all planned out for him. Except, he doesn’t want it. Dedicated to his music, he dreams of a life free from his parents’ expectations. Those dreams are gone the minute he’s kidnapped by a group of Russians, led by the tall, dark, and broody Sasha — a man ripped straight from Roan’s fantasies. Determined to make it out alive, Roan will do whatever is necessary to secure his freedom, even if that means seducing his captor.
Aleksandr Vassiliev doesn’t care about anything except surviving in a merciless world. Known as the Wolf of Verkhoyansk, Sasha’s reputation for brutality is far-reaching and well-deserved. When a bank robbery goes wrong, he’ll do whatever he can to fix it — including kidnapping the bank owner’s son. Instead of complying like he should, Roan defies Sasha at every turn. Worst of all, he makes Sasha want things he can’t have, things that are a death sentence for men like him. Things like Roan Sinclair.
Content warning: This book contains references to alcohol/drug use, sexual assault, graphic violence, self-harm, ethnic and homosexual slurs, and a lot of profanity. Reader discretion is advised.
Roan Sinclair is a poor little rich boy trapped in a gilded cage. Music is his passion, but his banker dad blackmailed him to take a business major. He has one year to go before he leaves for business school.
Aleksandr ‘Sacha’ Vassiliev is a feared, ruthless killer, not a bank robber and certainly not a kidnapper. But when a bank heist had gone wrong, a heist they didn’t fully understand why they had to do, he and his fellow bratva members were forced to change tactics. They kidnapped the banker’s son instead.
It wasn’t the most ideal meeting, to say the least, but right from the get-go, Roan got under Sacha’s skin. Given his environment, the Russian is deeply in the closet. But he pinged Roan’s gaydar, and our boy used it to his advantage.
One of the things I really loved about the books was the writing. There were no long paragraphs, and it’s very easy to read. The prose is straight to the point. Just 3-4 sentences per paragraph, yet they conveyed everything the reader needs to know. You feel the emotions jumping off the page. The graphic bits were written to show the nastiness without being gratuitous.
Thawing the cold, dead heart of a man like Sacha is an impossible feat. Our boy Roan not only brought it back to life, but he became the center of Sacha’s universe. I was completely riveted to their journey, swept away by a tide of emotions. The story is devastating, painful, and, as mentioned, quite dark. But the lighter moments when they come is as heart-warming and bright as the proverbial solnyshko the duet is named after.
It ends with a HFN but this is one of the best Stockholm Syndrome romances for me!
5 Stars – absolutely perfect
The Solnyshko Duet: The Vengeance Of Roan Sinclair – Ashlyn Drewek
After a lifetime of death and suffering, Aleksandr Vassiliev finally has everything he could ever want — the most important being someone to share his future with. Somehow a spoiled American named Roan gave Sasha a reason to see life could be more. Except, that’s where the fairytale ends. He’s not surprised Roan hasn’t been the same since his attack, but with every day that passes, Sasha sees less and less of the boy he fell in love with. He would do anything to get his Solnyshko back, but old enemies from Sasha’s past might end up costing him everything, even Roan.
Roan Sinclair used to have it all. Now? He’s a shell of his former self. No longer the rich, carefree college guy who brought a Russian criminal to his knees, all he’s trying to do is recover from an assault that nearly killed him. Roan knows he should be grateful to be alive… but he’s not. He’s humiliated. Ashamed. Most of all, he’s angry. He hasn’t forgotten the part his dad played in everything that happened and when he threatens Sasha’s freedom, Roan takes a page from the Russian’s playbook. Maybe vengeance will piece him back together. Maybe then Roan can move on and get to the happily ever after he so desperately wants with the Wolf of Verkhoyansk.
Content warning: This book contains references to alcohol/smoking, ethnic and homosexual slurs, sexual assault, mental health issues including PTSD and depression, on-page torture, and a lot of profanity. Reader discretion is advised.
The second book picks up on the aftermath of the very traumatic events of Book 1. Roan is not in a good place, and Sacha is at his wit’s end. He does everything he thinks would help Roan, but the younger man isn’t taking it well.
Here we have the major presence of Misha, Sacha’s boss, who is also sort of a friend and Misha’s nephew, Ilya. Sacha hired the young man to be Roan’s bodyguard. The easy going man provided a normalcy in Roan’s life during these troubled times.
Misha has intrigued me since Book 1. He offers Sacha advice on his Roan situation. Where Sacha is a grumpy mofo, Misha is all easy smiles. But make no mistake, they are both wolves. I am so thrilled the bratva boss is going to have his own book!
I struggled for a bit in the first part because going through Sacha and Roan’s rocky patch wasn’t a pleasant experience. It was angsty and raw. Communication isn’t their strongest suit, and you can really feel how bad they were struggling. All of these is worth going through just to get to the part where Roan smiles and Sacha declares, his sun is back!
And that’s when we get to the vengeance portion of the story. Roan wants revenge for what his father did, and a ghost from the past is out to get Sacha. I really enjoyed this arc because it felt happier and lighter despite the gruesome bratva business.
Sacha and Roan evolved to become the power couple they were meant to be. The pace here was also smoother and faster, and there was more action. Characters from the author’s other series popped up, the very mysterious Leander and his flamboyant husband, Bennet. I must investigate these two.
Both books go through suspenseful, brutal climaxes where the piper is paid in blood and gore. But this time, the ending is a solid and very satisfying HEA. It was such a sweet and uplifting conclusion that sensation of relief was very palpable. I couldn’t ask for a better one for Sasha and Roan! Sometimes all you need in life is a new lease and some sunshine.
4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
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This is a round up of the books I read on the 1st quarter of this year that I’m too lazy to do a full review.