Only true love can free a captive heart.
Landon Jenks, retired four-time Golden Glove-winning shortstop for the Chicago Cubs, is lonely, heartbroken, and in need of simple human contact. Trapped in the sticky fine print of an ironclad contract that forbids him from revealing his very-much-single status until the season finale of his reality show airs, he calls an elite male escort service that caters to the rich and desperate.
Accustomed to servicing his often less than savory clients at more upscale locales, twenty-six-year-old Toby Carmichael is surprised when his handler sends him to a run-down motel off I-55. But “surprise” doesn’t come close to describing the shock that rocks his system when a delightful stuttering mess covered in tattoos and nearly ten years his senior stumbles into the room—and right into his heart.
For the first time since Toby was forced into the life of prostitution, a kiss sparks a desire that has nothing to do with money and everything to do with genuine chemistry and the faintest beginnings of something so much more. But Toby’s dark past and troubled present make it impossible to see a future with Landon. And when the truth comes to light, a horrified and helpless Landon is determined to save Toby at all costs.
Okay folks, this is THE BOOK I’ve been waiting to review publicly. Mostly because I am fairly certain the author has tired of me gushing privately, but I digress.
So I am going to throw my normal disclaimer in case anyone doesn’t know me too well. Evie Drae is my bestie and my person and I love her so my review may carry some bias. That said, a big part of our relationship is writing. It’s where we started. Because of that we are, quite possibly, harder on each other than on anyone else. We absolutely will call each other out for issues we find in things the other has written and are painful levels of honest with each other ESPECIALLY about our stories.
Now, let’s get on to this review because… it’s gonna be a doozy. There is SO MUCH to cover we need to dive in immediately.
He Owns My Heart is a gender bending “Pretty Woman” retelling… if Julia Roberts had an evil pimp and if Richard Gere was a retired baseball player with Daddy issues.
One of Evie’s greatest talents is threading dark, haunting storylines with emotional depth and off the charts steamy sexy times. So, fair warning for anyone who read Beauregard and the Beast, He Owns My Heart dances much closer to the darker themes the author writes so well.
Let’s start off with Landon simply because the book does. He is a retired baseball player, newly released from the closet he stayed locked away in for years thanks to an oppressive and abusive father. He also was just freed from a toxic relationship that played out on national TV thanks to a reality show.
Now, Landon is possibly the sweetest, most genuine character I’ve ever met. Is he perfect? Absolutely not. He screws up at times AND ROYALLY, however his heart is so genuine and pure there isn’t a chance you could walk away from this read and not be in love with him. In a moment of innocent delusion, Landon is desperate for a true connection to someone, anyone, even if the connection is only physical so he hires a prostitute. He wants to be held and at least pretend to be cared for for just a few moments. His naivete is absolutely adorable and charming.
He gets WAY more than he bargains for when Toby is already waiting for Landon in the rundown motel Landon requested they meet in. Toby is a chiseled Adonis with a boatload of swagger and sex appeal that is just slightly (read: majorly) overwhelming to our little Landon. He realizes he is in way over his head and he asks for something Toby never bargained on… essentially a date. Now, don’t go thinking this means that they don’t get their smexy times on because TRUST ME THEY DO! And you need your own personal industrial sized fan to make it through the sex scenes without melting into a puddle of goo.
But first they have some Chinese, watch crappy TV, and… talk. All of which give Toby a serious case of the feels.
Let’s. Talk. Toby. Phew. Okay so, Toby is legit my type of man. One hundred percent. He is also absolutely beautifully broken. Which, okay, if you know me, yeah that is pretty on brand for me too. I love my broken boys. His backstory is one of the most heart wrenching I’ve encountered in a long time. I won’t give it away, but how he landed in his current “situation” (for lack of a better word) as a prostitute not only makes you fall just a little more in love with his character, but is also pretty hecking beautiful.
Let’s revisit the darkness Evie brings to the table. Hir villainous characters aren’t terrifying to the level you’re going to look under your bed for glowing red eyes, but they are much more sinister because they are creepy and slimy and just too frickin’ real. I have about thirteen thousand types of torture I envision for Howard and Garret (and a bit for Joseph). Trust me, you’ll be willing to be my accomplice when you read.
But don’t be deterred at all by the darker themes because Evie has an inexplicable way of weaving in beautiful, heart warming moments of love and connection in between. Which only serves to make the threats feel so much worse and the heartbreak you go through with Toby and Landon that much deeper.
There are a million ups and down in this exquisitely crafted M/M romance that you fully need to experience yourself. And since I am unable to actually fangirl over this piece to my normal person I fangirl over books with (i.e. Mx. Evie Drae herself) feel free to DM or email me with all the gushing and adoration because He Owns My Heart deserves every drop and I am super here for it.