My 5 star review of Cement Heart
I am not even sure where to begin with this. Beth Ehemann has been one of my favorites, because of the Cranberry Inn series. Her cast of characters are written so well, I feel like I am a part of their world. I fell in love with Brody and Kacie from the very start- and the cast of supporting characters were always in the back of my mind. So when I heard she was writing another book, I was elated. I just love the way she writes- so I didn’t even care if it was a brand new character, all I knew was that it was Beth and I couldn’t wait. When I heard it was about Viper- I was doubly excited. Viper is from the CI series, and just a load of fun. He is sexy, snarky, and swoony- if that is at all possible to convey, but he is those things. And while he is, yes indeed a manwhore, he is a totally lovable one, that’s for sure. And I am proud to say, with 100% certainty that Lawrence Finkle is my newest book boyfriend.
Lawrence Finkle, or Viper as everyone knows him, is an enigma. He is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside of an enigma, but I think that is what makes him so interesting. That maybe his sleeping with any woman that breathes is a cover up for something much deeper- and it totally is. This story is one that I won’t soon forget- knowing that even the toughest man, can break down. That even an open book has secrets buried in the pages. And just when you think you have him figured out, he changes. I loved Viper- and I thought I loved him for his cocky assuredness, but even as I read about him, and his cement heart, I grew to know that it’s not just that cockiness that I love. It’s the EVERYTHING.
I am really trying my damndest not to give away who the female heroine is, but WOW- you are really going to love her, trust me. I HATE spoilers with a freaking passion, but just know- they need each other, and I am so glad they found each other! I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
I was absolutely in love with everything about this book. I fell in love with the cast of characters all over (Brody, Kacie, and the twinkies- Ella, Big Mike, Michelle- Matthew and Maura, Darla and the list goes on and on!) I was in love with the voice Beth gave to Viper- it was awe-inspiring. I was dumbstruck with how much I laughed, smiled, and SOBBED. I am telling you this book hits me right in the gut. I felt the gamut of emotions, and I never wanted it to end. The prologue hooked me, and when the prologue hooks you? You absolutely KNOW for certain, this book is going to be a humdinger, a crackerjack, a knockout, a whopper, a doozy- and everything in between from just 114 words! That is talent.
I couldn’t even tell you how many highlights I would have selected, because there were just too many. I found myself highlighting pages and pages of the e-book. Passages that touched me, that tore me apart, and that put me back together. My heart- my poor shattered heart, but then miraculously Beth picked up all those pieces and super glued those suckers back together. ALL the pieces. And while I did NOT see this as how Viper’s story would go (thought there would be lots of doing the nasty, and lewd humor, ha) I am so glad this is how the story went. And even though Viper has “rules,” and he always follows them-it is interesting to see the growth and depth of this man with these superficial rules. And how he breaks the pattern, the mold he has been placed into throughout the other books we got to know him in.
In summation, I thought Beth ruined me for all of her heroes with Brody, and I was wrong. I am pretty sure Lawrence Finkle has ruined me for all of her heroes. Shoot, for all other books at the moment- I am having one heck of a Viper hangover- and I mean that in the best way possible. Buy this book, read this book, love this book. You’ll thank me later. Have I ever steered you wrong before?? Thank you Beth for writing an amazing book and I can’t wait for another one. I received an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
by Beth Ehemann
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Lawrence Finkle, known simply to his die-hard Minnesota Wild fans as Viper, isn’t used to hearing the word no. He lives his whole life just a little on the reckless side. After all, life is just one big game, right?
When what was supposed to be an innocent bet goes horribly wrong, he’s left to deal with the aftermath— and the guilt. In an effort to make things right the best way he can, he ends up falling for the one person on the planet he never should have.
The old saying goes that two wrongs don’t make a right . . . or do they?
I found a bench right outside the door at the very moment my legs decided to give out. Who knew a hard-ass concrete bench could be so comforting? I ran my hands through my hair and rested my elbows on my knees, staring at the concrete slab below me. An ant slowly walked up to my foot and stopped. I wondered what it was like to be an ant. Did they have friends and families? Did they accidentally hurt each other? Did they feel guilt? I’d fought like hell my whole life to keep my feelings in check and never let people see them, but the last two days were testing that more than any other time in my life. I didn’t know how much longer I could keep it together.
Praying was something we never did in my house growing up, but at that moment I felt the overwhelming urge to talk out loud to . . . someone.
Looking around to make sure I was alone, I took a deep breath and puffed my cheeks out, exhaling slowly.
I glanced up at the sky for just a second, quickly deciding I probably looked like a moron and that whoever I was going to talk to would probably hear me no matter where I was looking.
“Hey, whoever’s up there. My name is Lawrence Finkle, but you probably know me as Viper. Anyway—” I cleared my throat, suddenly feeling very stupid that I was talking to myself, but so desperate I was willing to do anything. “—we’ve never had what I would call an active relationship, but right now I’m feeling pretty alone down here. I’ve fucked up a lot in my life, as you probably know, but I’ve always been able to talk myself out of any trouble I got into. Well, I’ve finally done something I can’t fix. It was an accident, but I still can’t fix it, and I could really use it at the moment. I don’t really know how this works, but I’m willing to bargain. I’ll do anything—go to church, donate time and money, stop fucking strangers. I mean it, anything . . . just please . . . save my best friend. He’s a good man with a wife and kids who need him. If you need to take someone, take me. No one gives a shit whether I’m here or not.” My eyes started to feel hot and sting as I took another shaky breath.
Startled at the sound of my name, I stood and turned as a camera flashed in my eyes. Squinting and holding my hand up, I tried to block out another flash. “What the fuck?” I growled.
“Hi, Mr. Finkle. I’m Warren Sanders with the Star Tribune here in Minneapolis.” He held his hand out for me to shake. I glared down at it and then back up at him without saying a word. He quickly pulled his hand back and continued, “We heard about what happened yesterday and we were just wondering if we could ask you a few questions. Like, maybe what exactly happened? What’s his current condition? Anything you’re willing to give us.” He held a microphone in my face as the cameraman lifted a different camera onto his shoulder to film me.
Rage shot through me like a bullet shoots out of a gun.
“You want anything I’m willing to give you?” I asked coldly. “Well, I’m going to give you ten seconds to get that motherfucking camera out of my face before I shove that mic up your ass.”
“Uh . . .” he stammered. “We won’t keep you for long. We just want a quick statement.”
Without hesitation, I took three steps and grabbed the camera from the guy behind him, lifted it above my head, and smashed it on the concrete. They both jumped back, their mouths hanging open as they stared at the ground.
“There!” I pointed to the shattered camera as I walked away. “There’s your fucking statement.”
Beth Ehemann lives in the northern suburbs of Chicago with her husband and four children. When she's not sitting in front of her computer writing, or on Pinterest, she loves reading, photography, martinis and all things Chicago Cubs. She's represented by Jessica Watterson of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.
OTHER BOOKS OF BETH
Room for You
Room for More
Room for Just a Little Bit More