Read Heart of Timber by Brandon Shire Online


Cold Series Book 2: Heart of TimberTwo years after watching Anderson walk out of the prison gates, Lem has a visitor who informs him that Anderson desperately needs his help. He scoffs at the idea until he is given an offer that he cannot refuse. He doesn’t know if he is finally ready to make peace with himself outside prison, or if he is ready to face the pain he has causCold Series Book 2: Heart of TimberTwo years after watching Anderson walk out of the prison gates, Lem has a visitor who informs him that Anderson desperately needs his help. He scoffs at the idea until he is given an offer that he cannot refuse. He doesn’t know if he is finally ready to make peace with himself outside prison, or if he is ready to face the pain he has caused, but he also understands that he will never get another chance like this.Anderson has tried to push Lem to the back of his heart, but he cannot find anyone who can measure up to the man that Lem was. Letters he meant to send sit on the table, and the dreams he had about rebuilding his life go by the wayside as he pines for a man he cannot have. He doesn’t believe he will ever be happy again and finds it increasingly difficult to keep up the cheerful facade his family expects.But unknown to Anderson, the women in his life have colluded to bring him and Lem back together again. Will he and Lem rekindle their love, or will they burn everyone around them by falling back to their past mistakes?...

Title : Heart of Timber
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781492868750
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 230 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Heart of Timber Reviews

  • Baba
    2019-05-17 13:39

    2 disappointing and I-can't-believe-what-I-just-read stars.**Review posted November 17, 2013I remember when I asked an author to give me some pointers for my first beta read.Focus on the story without trying to make it your own. Does the story speak to you? Why or why not? That one question is what a beta should be able to answer honestly. A very thoughtful and helpful advice and I'm sure that basic rule applies to every book I'm reading.After loving Cold I was so excited for Lem and Anderson when I heard they would get their well deserved HEA. Here I am, at the (possible) end of their journey, and I'm brutally honest when I tell you that I'm shocked how shockingly bad Heart of Timber is. Brandon Shire is one of my favorite authors and I admire his writing. Yet it saddens me tremendously to admit that Heart of Timber did not speak to me at all. I'm not sure if I can explain it reasonably but I missed Brandon's compelling writing in HoT. Vast parts of HoT didn't even read like a Brandon Shire book. Some parts of the story were overly melodramatic and downright cheesy. Many of you know that he's got a distinct voice but unfortunately my search for it was fruitless. Heart of Timber picks up right where Cold left off with Anderson being released from prison. The book is segmented in five different parts. Release Day, Two Years Free, Three Years Free, Four Years Free and Five Years Free. I think the book was too short to provide any significant relationship development, considering they only met at 48 % for the first time after Lem had been released from prison.The positive(s)Gia, Anderson's sister. I really appreciated her very much. And even though (view spoiler)[Michael did not have that much page time, I can say that I liked what I saw of him. He's Gia's husband. (hide spoiler)]Basically I liked Lem very much but he lost a lot of my sympathies at 71 % when I knew why he killed his brother. Seriously? Are you freaking kidding me??? I. Mean. Really? THIS. IS. THE. BIG. SECRET??? Ridiculous. Russell must have been one of the (view spoiler)[most pathetic and selfish assholes whom I've had the displeasure of reading about. Also, I couldn't believe that Lem would have let that stupid jerk manipulate him that way. (hide spoiler)] No. [email protected] Way. Yet it happened nonetheless. It gave me the shivers in a very bad way. Not only because of what happened but mainly what led to that pathetic disaster. I know what (view spoiler)[it means to lose loved ones, either by suffering a long and painful death or suddenly out of the blue. It's not pretty. Yet I can't imagine that my dad would have told me or my mom or my sibling to kill him because he wanted us to spare the pain. (hide spoiler)]The negativesHUGE spoilerRussell (view spoiler)[is Lem's brother. Their father died of cancer when both of them were young. After their father's death Lem took care of his younger brother. Years later, Russell is sick with cancer (an incurable brain tumor). He's got a little son, Gabe. So, to spare his son all the misery Russell requests that Lem kills him. Now here it comes. Russell can't kill himself because the insurance company won't pay for suicide. But the main reason for this tragedy--that's been stated over and over again--was that Russell didn't want his son witnessing his slow and painful death. Hmm…but I think that Russell was a selfish coward and didn't have the guts to off himself. What a pathetic fucker! He knew that Lem's life would be ruined but he pushed and pushed him again. He came across as a little pouting boy. I just waited for him to stamp his feet. What happened between these two brothers left me speechless. (hide spoiler)] That's. Not. Love. It. Is. Not. And how unrealistic, melodramatic and cheesy was that scene? I was so freaking mad, my jaw dropped on the floor.Here's an excerpt of this infamous scene:(view spoiler)["We were fucking kids," Lem shouted, banging his fist on the hood of his pickup. "We were kids," he repeated with less volume but more intensity. "We were in pain and we were hurting."Russell leaned forward, matching Lem's conviction. "Exactly my point. We promised. We fucking promised because we hurt so much. That's what Gabe will have left, because of you."Lem moved without thought. He pulled his hunting knife from his waist and swung it in a clean arc across Russell's throat. He watched Russell's eyes widen in surprise and then he blinked slowly, his eyes softening with gratitude before he fell forward into Lem's arms.(hide spoiler)]I didn't think Lem could be that stupid.(view spoiler)[Lem tilted his head to the sky and howled a long, bellowing roar of agony as he squeezed Russell to his body. He could feel the warmth of Russell's blood soaking into his shirt and lowered him gently to the ground. He sat and turned Russell over in his lap. His tears came hard and without stopping as the warmth of his brother's blood seeped into the folds of his hands while he tried to undo what he had done. "No, don't die, Russ. Please. I'm sorry. Please don't die." (hide spoiler)]Well, it's a little bit too late now…(view spoiler)[The moment he pulled his knife, he knew what he loved, what he was sacrificing, and what animate things meant to him over the pleading reminder of his brother. He had no choice. All the sacrifices he made for Russell meant nothing against those cries, against the memory of watching his father wheeze and wither away. He remembered how he held his brother, how Russell's tears wet his forearms while he remained dry-eyed and stoic; the boy trying so hard to be a man. Now he wanted to take it back. He wanted to undo what he had done.Russell's eyes were still piercing and blue. Even in the darkness, Lem could see the last seconds of life in them. "I love you, Russell. I love you. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry." (hide spoiler)]Wrong. We always have a choice.While I liked the beginning, I soon started to dislike Anderson who was bitchy, whiny and selfish all the time. Let's not beat around the bush, I was never a fan of him in Cold but he really took the cake in HoT. Instead of being grateful to his sister Gia for being so supportive and caring, he was constantly pissed off. Don't interfere with my life blah, blah, blah. Dude, take a reality check. You obviously need someone who's taking care of you because you can't do it on your own, you stubborn jerk.The Dom/sub fantasy was incredibly awkward at best and left me totally cold. Besides, the sex scenes in general didn't do it for me. Mainly because there was a huge lack of chemistry between these two. I'm sorry but I just didn't feel it. Also, when one of the MCs is such a nuisance, it's probably tough to feel an emotional connection anyway. In consequence, a lack of emotion equals the non-existence of chemistry, at least for me.As already indicated, the MCs don't have any page time together up until the 48 % mark. I mean that's already a pretty huge reason for me to dislike this story and all the more so because I needed more relationship development which happened off page due to the time leaps. Still, I was willing to cut HoT and its characters some slack. It is very unfortunate that the story took a further nose dive when they had their first "real" sex scene. Sorry but I wasn't thrilled at all. I don't mind when a couple is fucking each other's brains out but please…let me feel some chemistry, just gimme something. The final sex scene under the stars was all right but to be honest, it wasn't anything to write home about either. Well, at this point of time I was probably so irritated that I couldn't have cared less.By the way, wasn't it incredibly convenient that (view spoiler)[the filthy rich Michael provided for everything? He financed Lem's cool "shack" and Anderson's condo. And finally he paid them half a million dollars to build a new home out in the wilderness. (hide spoiler)] Easy and tidy with a nice little bow.The ending was way too rushed and the phone call (view spoiler)[of Anderson's mom, telling him about her divorce felt totally squeezed in. (hide spoiler)] Like, let's hurry and do it now since I worked up the nerve to tell him. Ugh.Overall Heart of Timber is a huge disappointment and not having been able to enjoy this book is all the worse because it was one of my most anticipated books of the year.Read at your own risk. Good luck!Thanks, Kels, for doing the buddy read with me! You know a problem shared is a problem halved. *mwah*["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Susan
    2019-05-26 15:48

    3.5 stars*sigh*…LEM!!!!!!! Gah…I just…LOVE HIM SO MUCH!This book is Lem & Anderson’s road to HEA. And as you can imagine, that road is bumpy considering they’re both convicted felons trying to get back on their feet. Most of this story, Anderson is insecure, needy, and selfish. Most of this story, Lem is sweet, forgiving, and supportive. But they find a way to love and to make it work. <- and this makes me happy!I do have to say that you almost have to read the story as a fairy tale…which is odd since it’s about convicts reentering into society. But, there’s just a lot of the “no way that could happen” when it comes to the details. Everything was too tidy, situations too convenient, and the “challenges” wrapped up too easily. I might’ve been more frustrated with some of that if it weren’t for…well…Lem. I’m happy when he’s happy. I love what he loves. I'm just in a well-protected Lem bubble and I'm blissfulI’m going 3.5 stars...almost entirely for…*all together now*…Lem. Check the blog next week for Sheri's review:

  • Kelly
    2019-05-20 15:53

    2 1/2 Disappointed StarsI'm not much of a review writer and it's even more difficult for me when I don't like the book, so I'll be brief.I loved Cold and was so excited to read the sequel. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. All the questions that I had were answered in ways that were totally unsatisfying and at times unbelievable. THIS was what Lem went to prison for? THIS was why he killed his brother? I'm still shaking my head as I write this. Brandon Shire's books have a certain feel to them that I've grown to love. It was totally missing here. I don't know what else to say. Instead I'm going to share with you the link to the amazing reviewer, my Buddy Read partner and, of course, my friend, Baba's review. We feel the same way about this book: hate writing negative reviews, especially about a writer that I admire, but I had to be honest. Thanks for reading this with me, B! A problem shared most definitely is a problem halved. *mwah*

  • Sheri
    2019-05-14 17:00

    From Cold to Hot....or is it?I was riveted by Lem and Anderson in ‘Cold’. It was gripping, intense and thrilling. I could NOT wait to see how their impossible ‘ever after’ became possible. It was a breath of fresh air having questions answered. I welcomed their secrets with open arms. And yet, as much as I tried to embrace them, I didn’t feel it was evenly returned. For some reason, I felt detached at times.Maybe my expectations were too high, maybe the daunting mysteries were finally solved, or maybe it was simply more superficial than I anticipated. Big moments didn’t shine for me, nightmares from the past didn’t haunt me and the passion almost came across clinical. Except for the fantasy-come-true under the stars, that was probably one of my favorite scenes.Ultimately what let me down was the subdued passion. The pieces came together, however it was seamless…and perhaps too smoothly?I felt the beginning of their story; ‘Cold’ captured me and never set me free. I am sad to say, ‘Heart of Timber’ ricocheted, barely leaving a mark. Now, don’t get me wrong, I thought it was good, just not exceptional. The story spans over 5 years. I enjoyed this stretch of time. It was lovely watching them grow, rebuild and strengthen. Early on, Lem is tempted with an offer he can’t refuse. He jumps through hoops and finds himself taking a walk down a path he never dreamed he would have the privilege to take. A secluded slice of heaven awaits him. If only it was dinner for two around the campfire, well, life would be good.Anderson is struggling to get his shit together. Working his way through a list of boyfriends, attempting to restore his life, and allowing his sister to clean up his messes….not much has changed. When the mountain man from his dreams appears in front of him, he doesn’t want to know how, he doesn’t want to know why, he just wants. Questions can wait.Anderson’s selfish behavior did not surprise me. The force to be reckoned with, aka Gia, did not surprise me. Lem’s sense of humor shocked the hell out of me. It was refreshing, startling, and…odd. I longed to see his soul put back together again, and I was gratified. His presence was even bigger when liberated. I would have told you it was impossible for me to adore Lem any more, but I’d be wrong.Back in his element he is free; but to truly soar, he needs to finally forgive himself and leave his sins in the past. Can he do so, or will he continue to allow guilt to restrain him?If you are wondering if you will find out the story behind Lem’s tattoo, the reason behind Russell’s death, and what miracles must unfold for Lem to ditch his life sentence for a second chance… then yes, yes and YES!Lem was perfect. Anderson was striving to be perfect. It was almost too good.I just wanted my heart to race, my palms to sweat, my breath to catch…and I’d be lying if I said it did. *3.5 teary-tepid-transforming starsBlog tour coming soon....check it out here~

  • Cory
    2019-05-05 20:59

    I liked Cold better. I remember feeling empty at the end of that book and thinking Anderson would jump through hoops to see Lem by his side. But, some stories don't end the way we want them to, and this is one of those times.Don't get me wrong, I still love Lem, I just don't really like Anderson. It's probably easier to just break it down into what I liked and didn't like:LIKES:LemGia and Michael, the ultimate power coupleLemMs. WhitfieldOffice Jefferson (not really in this book, but liked him from book 1)LemDISLIKES:AndersonAnderson's attitudeAnderson being a whiny bitchAnderson getting mad at Gia for interfering in his life....get a clue!I thought the reason that Lem killed his brother was a little weird. I understand it, but was expecting something else entirely. The ending was also just a little ho-hum for me.I hate being a downer. I did like the book and I wasn't forcing myself to read it just to get through it. Plus, if there was a 3rd book, I would read it to see where Anderson and Lem are headed. I just thought it would be something more than it was. I'm a little wishy washy with this one.

  • Mandapanda
    2019-05-27 20:42

    This was a superficial conclusion to a promising story that started in May 2013 with Cold.The story takes place over 5 years from the day that Anderson is released from prison. The big problem with this novel is that everything that happens is orchestrated by Anderson's sister Gia. Both Lem and Anderson are just passive recipients whose emotional growth - post prison life - is undermined and unexplored because of Gia's influence. Gia has married a billionaire paediatric doctor, Michael, who is a ridiculously unbelievable character. Anderson and Lem are confronted by various threats and setbacks over the 5 years, from getting Lem released from jail, to the evil Mayor Huston who threatens Anderson, to their lack of money and shelter. As soon as these problems occur they are instantly 'fixed' in an unrealistic manner by Gia and Michael's gobs of money and influence.We learn the reason why Lem murdered his brother and it didn't make sense to me. Lem's nephew appears briefly in an inconclusive scene. It was disappointing that this wasn't explored in more depth. Anderson's homophobic father who - with his abusive relationship with Anderson's mum and his secret second family - had such an oppressive presence in book 1, just doesn't exist in book 2. Gia organises Lem's release from prison and sets him up in a forest cabin that Michael owns (eye-roll - you'll get a headache from all the eye-rolling this book induces). But they don't tell Anderson that Lem is out for months! I know a big tearful scene with Anderson waiting for Lem outside of the prison might have been OTT but I WANTED IT, damn it!!! Instead we get an almost accidental meet-up several months later. Anderson is miserable for most of the book. Even in the final scenes he still seems lost and unfulfilled. The chemistry between them is muted. Lem continues to be the strong silent type, very much in tune with the environment and unwilling to live anywhere else or even visit Anderson in the city. One of my pet peeves occurred at around the 30% mark. Anderson has an imagined sex scene with Lem (they don't actually meet again until about halfway). The sex scene is pages long, very detailed in a way that fantasies never are. I hate those imaginary scenes. They always lack sensuality and emotional impact because... well... it's not really happening. It's like the author suddenly feels there should be sex because it's a romance and shoves it in the narrative to keep the readers happy.In the plus column, I liked the title which abbreviates to HoT which is the opposite of the first book's title. A little understated word play always amuses me. The book is set over several years but I like the way the chapters were headed up, 'Two Years', 'Three Years', etc. It was easy to follow chronologically and a good follow on from the first book which was divided into months. I really like the two MC's in 'Cold' so I did enjoy seeing them achieve their HEA.

  • Sunny
    2019-05-19 18:45

    I was so excited to read about Anderson and Lem again, but this story fell short for me. Too often, it felt like it was less about them being together and more about two different men adjusting to life after prison. So much of what happened didn't seem necessary and I didn't understand what the point was. It only made sense if the story was supposed to be more about two men adjusting to their new freedom individually than about a romance. If that was the intent, I wish the blurb had made that clear because I was feeling really let down.I was looking for more romance, and it wasn't there. The time jumps didn't help, either. Out of almost three years together, we only see them together six times, two of them so brief they didn't really count. The other four times included the first time they saw each other after prison and the end. Where was the relationship development? I wanted more together time and those brief glimpses weren't enough. These two were meant to be together! I wanted to see that, and not be told they were basically (view spoiler)[fuck buddies for almost three years (hide spoiler)]. I went from being so happy to being confused to feeling let down. I'm glad they got their HEA, or at least an HFN, but I wanted a romance, and I didn't really get it.Even though I was disappointed in the story, it was worth reading because of Lem and Anderson. I loved seeing Lem in his environment, seeing the peace and happiness he experienced. Anderson wasn't as likeable in this book, but I enjoyed seeing him with Lem. I've mentioned in other threads that if I love the characters, I'll stalk them in any books and be happy just to see them again. This would be a good example of that.Side notes:An MC's fantasies can be hot to read, but when they take up several pages, it feels like a waste of space, keeping me away from the real stuff. I'd rather read about what really happened, not what they'd like to happen. Anderson's fantasy also didn't fit well with the rest of the story. It was like a BDSM element was thrown in and then dropped.Lem's secret was so sad, and I felt his grief like a punch in the gut, but it was also a "huh?" moment for me. I couldn't buy it.The whole thing with Gia and Michael and the money and how they took care of everything was a little ott for me.

  • Allan
    2019-05-25 19:42

    「涙もろい」を通り越して「泣き虫」のアンダーソン、私は好きだよ。そして、レムの殺人の動機。これは Cold のときから、うすうすそうではないかと思っていた(view spoiler)[森鴎外「高瀬舟」 Takasebune (hide spoiler)] で、私はとてもやりきれない気持ちがしたのだけれど、でも、レムの選択はとてもよく理解できる。苦しかったね。アンダーソンが、森の中で彷徨い、レムに見つけてもらって、そしてその後に続く一連のシーンがとてもよかった。そう。馬鹿なことしちゃうアンダーソンを可愛いと思う。だって、Coldでの刑務所のシャワー室で、馬鹿なことしちゃうって思いながらも、第一歩を踏み出したことから、全てが変化したのだから。

  • Brandon Shire
    2019-05-13 13:08

    FROM THE AUTHOR: For those interested, I created a special pinterest board so that you can see what Lem sees in the forest behind his home.

  • Sara
    2019-05-26 20:43

    2,5....3 Este libro está lleno de saltos temporales que matan la narración.Más Anderson que se vuelve bastante idiota y egoísta. Lem lo mejor de la serie.

  • A.B. Gayle
    2019-04-29 21:07

    This is one of those reviews where I feel the need to express my thoughts in terms of why I think bits work that others feel didn’t. Many people who loved the first book "Cold" are critical of this one. Warning, there are spoilers if you haven't read it.To me, this is a story about two gay men making love work. Reality not romance. Gay fiction with a bit of sex thrown in. We see Lem and Anderson struggling to find a common path, a place where they can share what they experienced ever so briefly in prison. I liken it to a shipboard romance trying to survive back on dry land. Any time romance/love/sex starts in a “foreign” environment, the chances of it being able to be safely transplanted are rare. Been there, done that.Some readers have complained that the couple don’t get back together until nearly halfway through the book. I felt that was necessary. Circumstances outside prison are different. They have to discover who they are outside that forced, foreign environment. Put down new roots. There was a good chance that they wouldn’t be the same people as they were inside. Perhaps that’s why Anderson was upset that his sister had manipulated the situation. Perhaps he felt that Lem would then feel obligated.Anderson's resentment of Gia’s help really pissed a few readers off. Believe it or not, some males dislike well meaning people doing things for them. Even Michael felt Gia’s mothering of Anderson had gone too far, which she acknowledged: “It was time to let Anderson go. It was probably well past that time, but Michael would never say that.”Family is very much at the heart of this story. What we do for each other, the sacrifices people are willing to make. The gift of money at the end was felt an easy cop-out to wrap up the story. Would they have been prepared to see the couple part because of the lack of that money? Where would they get it otherwise? If the mother had given it, stating that she would deduct that amount from the will, would that have made it “all right?” I’ve seen instances where that happened. Perhaps it should have been a smaller amount. I’m sure they didn’t need a half a million dollars to build a house. If it had been less and in the form of a loan would that have been more acceptable?If anything, this book was about how Anderson’s going to prison changed everyone. Gia and his mother both had trouble coming to terms with it, but when they did, they came out stronger the other side.Anderson himself changed. He said so early on. “He wanted to be left alone but not be alone if that made sense.” He had had eight years of hiding inside prison. Trying not to draw attention to himself. Prison would make him more introspective, more suspicious of people’s motives, less trusting, more defensive. Later on in the book, his mother said: “You’re too much like me. You never learned to count your blessings. But you also took it a step further.”It’s a shame the author didn’t put into words what she meant by that. Instead his mother goes on to say “Do you really want your life to be that empty.” Which is the result of this flaw in his character rather than spelling out the flaw.Soon after, he says: “I didn’t mean to disappoint you.” And she responds, “That’s not what I meant.” But again she doesn’t really explain what she meant.The way I understand it, he not only didn’t count his blessings he turned things around in his mind and looked for the bad in every situation. He ran himself down, like the drama queen he acknowledges himself to be. He doesn’t just see the glass as half empty, he tips a bit out of a three quarter full glass until it is half empty, saying "See, I told you so!"Another reviewer complained: “This Anderson assumes Lem will replace him with someone else even though Anderson is the only person Lem has been with in 18 years?”In some ways, Lem nearly did replace him with someone. The forest is Anderson’s biggest rival. One could argue that Lem is more committed to it than his relationship. However, because it’s seen as a nobler profession, Anderson is supposed to bow to that fact and give up the only life he knows and feels comfortable with. Funnily enough, I kept visualizing Zathyn Priest as Anderson. The height is about the same, and there is no way Zathyn would willingly give up city life to live in the bush. Perhaps readers disliked Anderson because he wasn’t the strong macho male they have grown so used to in their stories.But that softness was what attracted Lem in the first place. It brought out all his protective instincts and more than anything, Anderson wanted that protection. “I’ve been scared most of my life, and prison only emphasized how weak I am as a person.”It actually takes a strong person to admit that. Just as it takes a strong person to knowingly submit to someone who could kill them. It was interesting that the BDSM angle got introduced in his fantasy. The major difference is that in BDSM, the Dom should respect the person for submitting to him and not see it as being weakness. Submission without respect is being a doormat. Anderson has watched his mother be a doormat all these years. Does he want to be the same?Perhaps deep down, he feels that without that job, without that career, Jem wouldn’t respect him. He keeps repeating how smart Jem is. How he has two degrees. Each time he does that, he’s not only expressing his pride, but subconsciously comparing it to himself. He doesn’t feel worthy of Jem.Some reviewers went “eek” at the fantasy sex scene and the second one when they got back together again. I suspect some of those reviewers aren’t comfortable reading sex on the page, I felt both scenes matched the storyline. Fantasies are often rawer and rougher than real life, and the BDSM angle reflected a subconscious desire to submit physically and safely. Plus sex after being apart is usually pretty desperate. It wasn’t until after they talked about their dreams and hopes that love was added to the mix, making it more romantic.Another sticking point was Russell’s request. So far, I haven’t seen anyone criticize the fact that the US health system is so dire that he felt he had no alternative.There was only a couple of paragraphs but in actual fact, a number of years passed between the father’s death and Russell’s, time for the ten year old to grow up and have a kid, yet in that time, there had been no improvement in the cost or quality of health care. What sucked was that after working for so long, probably saving very little because the basic wage is so paltry, he had nothing put away to care for his son. And the only thing he had to give was an insurance policy??? Why not complain about that! From what I can tell, in the US, there are those who have too much money and those who have too little. Is it wrong to give it away therefore to those that don’t?Lem could have refused Russell's request. This is the story's weakest point, but it could have been tweaked slightly to make it stronger. For example if Russell hadn't left that letter for Gabe but waved it in Lem's face in the diner, telling him to use it. This could have been strengthened if once he reached the age of 18 and could legally look after Russell, his father had also begged Lem, time and time again, to smother him with a pillow, and he had refused until it was too late and he was hospitalised. His father may have even called him weak for not doing so. So, Russell heading along the same track made him crack. He lashed out, regretting it immediately, so he didn't proffer the letter as an excuse, accepting his fate.Ultimately, he took the rap because he felt what he did was wrong. “He moved without thought.”. Lem should have gone away and thought about it. He didn’t. He reacted, just like he did with Carlos. He may be a gentle giant, but when pushed too far, he cracks.Gabe turned up to have it out with the man who killed his father not knowing why. Lem shows him the letter but says it didn't make any difference.But he also loved others despite their faults. Russell was selfish and weak and so is Anderson. But they both needed Lem. He responded to that need. Perhaps this stops Anderson being the hero deemed necessary in an MM romance, but he felt more real because of that. And Lem’s love more real because Anderson wasn’t perfect.Lem is selfish in his own way. He tries to teach Anderson how to survive in the wild, but he “never asked about his desire (to).” At one stage, Lem waves his hand around, indicating the forest, saying he wanted this, but says he needs Anderson, but never why. Then later, he complains: “We’ve been doing it for what, almost three years now? I need you.” My response to that was: Why does he need him? For sex? Lem never articulates what he needs Anderson for. No wonder Anderson is reluctant to give up everything. In fact Anderson asks: “Why would you need a tired old queen like me?” to which Lem replies: “Because you have a really nice ass for a tired old queen.”Maybe that’s all love is. A gut feeling of not being complete without the other person. But to someone who watches people and sees the manipulation going on as Anderson has over the years, he needs a better reason than that. But ultimately he has to accept that as his glass half full.The scene that I really enjoyed was the bit before they had campfire sex. They talked. They joked. They did the little things that will last a long longer than the few minutes of sex do. Talking about the person they had imagined themselves ending up with and the person they get. Loved that conversation: “I think I always pictured myself with a guy and us as that couple. You know? The juvenile idea of the Ken and Ken doll couple that seemed to have everything going for them.”“Until the plastic melts.”Encountering problems, overcoming them and the relationship surviving is what love is all about. Acknowledging the gap between the ideal and reality and accepting what you have. That is real love. When this happens, these responses make sense: “I don’t know why you put up with me.”“I do, and that’s what counts.”

  • ♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣
    2019-04-29 15:06

    This book got and kept me excited. No, not that kind of excited (but, yes, that kind of excited), but the kind of excited that sends me barreling down the tracks, unable to stop reading, while at the same time forcing me to take breaks to remember to breathe or wipe the tears. I don’t care that it isn’t the most structurally sound book around.It bleeds heart. I don’t care that there are flashbacks.One caused my tears to take running leaps down my cheeks. I don’t care that it was a bit indulgent in detail, taking its sweet ole time in getting through some descriptive scenes.Payoff: Bonsai tree. *drops mic*This is what I wanted.This was worth the wait.This is Lem & Anderson. & Russell. & Gia. & Mrs. P. & Maggie. We get to hear the truth behind the stories Lem & Anderson started to share in those precious few times spent together while imprisoned. Those stories of which only the beginnings ever made it past their lips before time interrupted them. Most importantly, this is Lem & Anderson as themselves… together, whatever form that may take. Yes, each has changed unavoidably. Baggage still clutters each of their hearts. The earthshaking desire they share for each other still trembles and roars, screams and claws, whimpers and sighs.They’re trying and I think that’s a surprise to each of them sometimes, causing each to jump back from the flames. Sometime the hardest part is seeing the one person through that fire who can protect you from it. Mr. Shire knows how to rip the bandage right off and expose the ferocity of the emotions pulsing just below the surface. There is nowhere to skulk, no way to slip from the clutches of the heart-splitting desperation, breath-snatching passion and giggle-spitting humor. It’s messy and it’s thoughtful and it’s comforting and it’s sexy. I am purposely staying away from including any spoilers or quotes: go discover them for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be back to gulp from the well once more. I know I will. Oh, and next year, someone remind me to nominate for the M/M awards (view spoiler)[the cabin reunion!!!!!!! (hide spoiler)] for best sex… scene.Drat, so I did include a spoiler. Ooops. So… sue meh. ;)4.5 Bonsai Trees for me.

  • OJ
    2019-05-16 18:55

    After reading Cold and getting to know these two characters, Anderson and Lem, I couldn't wait for the sequel, and I was most definitely not disappointed.This wasn't written with the same grittiness and damp darkness of Cold, but it was the logical progression of their story, told by the master strokes of Brandon Shire. The writing is impeccable and the prose flows evenly, flawlessly, weaving their stories with just the right amount of angst.We get to know the characters better, more intimately and we learn just what selfish, self absorbed brat Anderson is and why he got hooked up with his ex and ended up in jail. His self absorption plays itself out in this sequel and well, I don't want to give up spoilers, but thank goodness for his controlling, strong sister, Gia, who can knock him around when he needs it the most.I had no choice but to fall in love with Lem, you just can't help it. As the older of the two, he realizes that he can't push Anderson. Anderson has to come to the realization that Lem so desperately wants on his own via the 'big M word' - Maturity. You can just feel the love ooze from Lem over Anderson, but his maturity and self knowledge keep him line. Of course Mr. Shire's fantastic description of this towering hunk of man doesn't hurt, either.The sex is smokin' hot! I wouldn't expect anything less form Mr. Shire.If you haven't read Cold yet, go back and read it, fall in love with these characters, and then come back for the next segment in their lives. This isn't a replay of the first book, it's the next chapter in their lives - after all, isn't that he way things really go?

  • Tammy
    2019-05-13 12:54

    This was one book that I was excited to start until I read some of the reviews then I has my hesitations but I knew I needed to read it to get my answers from the first book Cold in the series. I'm glad I was determined to read Heart of Timber because it turned out to be an excellent read. To me it was a pleasure reading how Lem and Anderson learned how to love each other and deal with life outside the walls of prison. I glad also Lem to get the opportunity to enjoy his forest finally and enjoy the things he sacrificed for the love of his brother and a childhood promise. The only thing that could have made things sweeter would have been the forgiveness of Lem's nephew. So in my opinion this was an excellent read and I would actually love to read another addition to this series!!

  • Lisa Arbitrary - AttentionIsArbitrary M/M Blog
    2019-05-01 17:38


  • Nic
    2019-05-21 19:06

    My third Secret Santa gift - I'm a lucky girl!

  •  ~*~Princess Nhya~*~
    2019-04-26 15:44

    This was a decent follow up from book 1, "Cold". Though things seemed a bit lighter, when you consider Anderson & his dilemmas, (and there were times he seemed like a spoiled brat. He kind of got on my nerves in this one.) Totally see why he's a "Bottom" LOL, but in all seriousness it was still a gripping read in many respects. I like how things opened up where Lem was concerned. I only wish the reveals with him & his past were a bit more. Especially when you consider all the mystery surrounding them. In book 1 and for majority of this book. You don't get those answers till you're well past the half way mark here. The reveals were a bit lack luster, IMO, but still very sad at the same time. And I hate how once all was revealed, it was just left there. Like it dropped off. Like it wasn't a complete break/closure. What happened with his Nephew? Nothing was ever said.Overall I think the set up you get in the beginning, with the threats to Anderson etc.. and the reveals concerning Lem while interesting & they hold your attention, get your blood pumping and have you anxious to know what will happen, their potential was just never fully realized as the story progresses well into the second half of the novel.This one had some loving, sexy, intense moments. Even some hilarious ones. I loved seeing Lem's more carefree open side, shine through. As I said I think it's a decent follow up from book 1 and it ends with a solid HFN(Happily For Now)I would recommend this read, but I strongly suggest you read book 1 "Cold" first.

  • Caddy Rowland
    2019-05-01 18:46

    This is a continuation of the story of Anderson and Lem. As such, I was hoping it would have more drama, and perhaps a lot of conflict and struggle. After all, they were both ex-cons. Although the circumstances as to why Lem killed his brother were exposed, I do wish the two weren't given it quite so easy. I was glad to know the "why" of Lem's brother's death. It gave the story some drama and emotion. However,things seemed to be set up too perfectly for them by Anderson's sister and her husband. I liked how Anderson's mother came around. She was an interesting character to watch develop.The sex once again is graphic and well-written. I would recommend this for anyone who enjoys romance.The reason I read this series, and the Afflicted series, was that I read Shire's darker novels first and fell in love with his writing. I'm not generally a romance reader, but when I love an author I read everything they have. There are a handful of authors who have written romance that I do enjoy. Shire is one of them, but I really wish he'd go back to writing what made me addicted to him: dark, deep novels that make me think and feel for days afterward. I need pathos in my books, and he can deliver that like few others can. It's something I really miss.

  • Lori
    2019-05-16 13:05

    Will review at a later date.

  • Shirley Frances
    2019-05-26 17:58

    I'll be starting this in a few minutes, but before I do I'm revisiting this: 12/22/2013Still sitting on my review to see if my opinion improves. I'm so confused! :(

  • Mandie Foxylutely
    2019-05-05 19:55

    Full review at Foxylutely Book Reviews.*ARC provided by the author in exchange for my honest reviewHeart of Timber follows on from where the first book Cold, ended leaving me yearning for more of the amazing character Lem. I just adore him and he is, for me, an all-time best character ever in a book.For those that loved Cold (and to be honest who could not love that book?) this next read could leave them a little perplexed and perturbed as H.O.T is not a typical romance follow up. Well Cold wasn’t a typical romance but I can understand people wanting this book to be a ‘hearts and flowers’ ending for Lem and Anderson. I’m not saying there wasn’t an HEA but more of a HFN.I, for one though was applauding with glee that Mr Shire did not make this a ‘skip off into the sunset and slather me in gushiness’ follow up. Cold was too hard a read to have that thrown at me and give me that cop out. I needed it to be full of angst and frustration, I didn’t want their first meeting to be running into each other’s arms. They needed to go through their own pain of rebuilding their own lives before they could move on to building one together. After all if they didn’t go through that self-revitalisation how could they be in that place of acceptance to feel they had all that they had yearned for, which was to be with each other as free men. The relationship in prison was entirely different in multiple ways to how a relationship would work on the outside.Anderson really struggled with life on his release and there was a whole lot of soul searching and mistakes he had to go through in order to accept his past and move the heck on. This was fabulously aided by his kick-ass sibling Gia, who was the driving force of making things happen for Anderson, ably abetted by her new gorgeous (and rich!) husband. It was wonderful to see Anderson establish a new relationship with his mother and I just loved how his mother took control of her own life due to developments in her children’s lives. Go Mama!But for me the most special and rewarding parts of this book were with Lem. We finally find out the full details of his brother’s murder and Lem’s subsequent imprisonment. I did have a vague idea from Cold why this was but the truthful brutality was hard to read. It was also frustrating and again showed the selflessness of Lem, putting his own sufferance in prominence when all could have been fought and won so much sooner than it finally did, which only came about due to Gia and her husband’s wealth and contacts. Talk about miscarriage of justice! But this beautiful man was finally able to move on with his life with his simple dream of being in the forest. Yes, he wanted his Anderson with him but only if Anderson wanted to be there. It was an angst driven ride to watch the selfish and the selfless entangled in a war of will and wants. Lem was such a joy to read again and I loved to see his character grow even further – his sense of humour was endearing and had me snorting into the kindle.I loved the teaser of Hunter and Dillon making a cameo appearance from Afflicted and how they were seen as a beautiful couple in love (they are and I love and miss those guys!)Heart of Timber was another winner from Brandon Shire for me. Yes Cold was a 5 star plus read, but H.O.T is a well-deserved 5 stars. A wonderful emotive read that is hard-hitting and touches on the harsh world of imprisonment, the fight to re-establish into the heart of society and ultimately for second chances at life and love.

  • Fraz-cat
    2019-05-10 14:00

    I'd say 3.5 because I liked it and enjoyed the reading, but it missed the chemistry I felt in "Cold". I think someone else pointed that out in their reviews. Lem is always a great character, while Anderson sort of lost it a bit and the first fantasy he had about Lem dominating him...well, it left me utterly speechless and not in a nice way. I must admit I skipped few lines of it, because I don't like that genre. I felt it out of place. Completely out of place, especially knowing the Lem from "Cold" and because I don't understand the reason for that element in this story. I would have loved to read more about their relationship and feelings, like a real love confession (sorry for sounding cheesy in this, but love-confessions are something I enjoy to read). So to sum it up, I expected more chemistry and more interaction between Lem and Anderson and I missed it very much. Same for the physical scenes, something wasn't there. Lem is a character you just love and I wanted to have more of him, more of their time together. More of his love and desire for Anderson. More of their emotional connection.I had guessed the reason behind Lem's brother killing from "Cold" and so it wasn't a surprise. I am not sure if there will be a 3rd book, but if not, an epilogue would have been extremely welcomed..

  • Amy
    2019-05-10 13:03

    I really enjoyed Cold and waited to read both books back to back after learning Heart of Timber was the continuation of Lem and Anderson's story. It's always disappointing when a sequel doesn't live up to the potential of the initial story or it's characters and I'm sad to say, this didn't for me on many levels. The story itself felt very thrown together as compared to Cold. Lem and Anderson were not actually together for page time until the halfway point of the book. The first half we were subjected to a miserable, selfish, whiny Anderson and frankly it was exhausting and unsexy. Lem on the other hand found his true love again, and it was NOT Anderson. It was nature. I felt like as Lem was creating his new life in his version of paradise (the forest) he would have been happier if he was not dealing with the spoiled, insecure, taxing behavior of Anderson. With Lem being a wilderness man and Anderson being a city boy, I was not convinced even in the end that these two would ever be happy as a couple or if I even wanted it at that point.I really expected more emotion, a new found maturity in Anderson, a deeper intimacy as a couple and a hopeful outcome in their union once released from prison and I didn't get it.

  • Jilrene ♥
    2019-05-19 18:43

    Beautiful. Amazing. Heart wrenching. Frustrating. All good descriptions. I have to admit I read Heart of Timber as soon as I finished Cold. I knew Cold didn’t have the HEA I crave and planned it this way. I’m a bit surprised that others were disappointed with HoT. For whatever reason, I enjoyed this book just as much as Cold. In the beginning, I grew impatient waiting for Lem to get out and find Anderson. Not the same as UST, but still building it up. When they finally see each other again, the story moves into how they are together. I liked the angst and stupidity of the guys. It seemed so real. (I have sons; I can so see them doing the stupid stuff) I really love Anderson’s family. Granted, we only get to meet his mom, sister and new brother-in-law, but they’re great. There aren’t a lot of secondary characters, and most of those that are mentioned are only passing through quickly. Which makes sense. I am happy with the ending, too. It’s not an outright HEA, but the HFN has the possibility of becoming an HEA. That’s enough for me to rest and not worry about the boys. This is not a simple, fluff read. This is a story you need to set aside time to read and absorb. I loved it and recommend it.

  • Ambre
    2019-05-08 17:41

    I liked the beginning, but as the relationship developed it seemed like Anderson was really a doormat. There was this whole scene in which he was filled with guilt and remorse and falling all over himself with apologies, and Lem had started it by being a jerk in the first place, but nobody would call him on it because he is damaged, poor baby!I really liked Cold, but wussy characters push my buttons. I mean, I don't mind watching characters learn to assert themselves, but just watching people grovel isn't very romantic to me!

  • Seiran
    2019-05-17 20:39

    I loved the first book in the series so very much, and was really looking forward to the sequel. I waited for the more reviews to come in for this book, and was disappointed by the results. But decided to read it non-the-less, and unfortunately I have to agree with others, that this one was lacking something. Whiny, bitchy, and woe is me, are not something I enjoy reading about and this is a book filled with all of it. This is a disappointed read for me.

  • Nijin
    2019-04-28 14:44

    Huge disappointment. First book with all this angst and aggravated suspense promised so mach more. Second book kept it up till about the middle and then it all went down fast. At 85 percent I wasn't interested anymore. The big revelation about Lams past was so anticlimactic and motivation so stupid that I just dropped the book.Such a waste of a good idea. Two stars just for the firs part of it.

  • Nile Princess
    2019-05-26 19:03

    Loved! A fitting sequel to 'Cold'. The thing with this author is that even when the storyline isn't completely focused on Anderson and Lem, even when they're just sitting in the forest with Lem waxing poetic about the beauty of nature, it's all engaging and beautiful. I love this couple. Love all the secondary characters as well. I hope there'll be a book 3. They have a house to build!

  • Natalija
    2019-05-03 21:07

    I enjoyed it almost as much as Cold, the first book in the series. It doesn't stand on its own and picks up right where book #1 left off. Needless to say, it's not your typical romance in any way, yet I couldn't put it down and would recommend it for Lem's character alone.

  • J.P.
    2019-05-22 14:49

    4.5 stars. Was a bit unsure it would stand up to the first book, but overall it did. :) I didn't read it with the same fervor as Cold, as it had a different tone and mood. By the end of the book, I appreciated that. Loved the wee cameo by the boys from Afflicted.