Title: Zahra Owens’ Greatest Hits
Author: Zahra Owens
Length: Novels/Bundle (806 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (29th January 2016)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts (Combined)
Blurb: Don’t miss these four contemporary romances from Zahra Owens:
In Diplomacy, Jack and Lucas start a passionate relationship, which continues long after their partners return. Diplomatic circles are notoriously conservative though, and they each know that the right woman by their side makes a very significant contribution to their success. Will they be able to make the right choices in their professional and personal lives? Or will they need to sacrifice one for the other?
In Façade, Jonas Hunter, high-class body for hire, meets his match in new client Nicky Bryant, an effeminate, tantrum-throwing, attention-seeking bad boy of Paris haute couture, everything he despises in a man. But Jonas soon learns they each carefully maintain a façade.
In The Hand-me-down, Jez pays a visit to his old friend Nick, who introduces his much younger lover, Jaime… and then asks Jex to look after him when Nick is gone.
And in the reader-favorite Western Clouds and Rain, Flynn doesn’t bargain for being captivated gentle, lonely Gable, who captures his heart and moves Flynn to take on an incredible burden: saving Gable’s ranch.
Review: Usually, I have to say that I really have enjoyed Dreamspinner’s Greatest Hits bundles, immensely. I also have enjoyed a couple of Zahra Owens’ books in the past as well. So you might understand why I am feeling rather confused.
However, I do know two of the reasons that meant my enjoyment was diminished. There are two things that I know many readers of MM romance do not like, one, is sex with women happening (even in the minutest detail) on page, and two, I know that there are many of us who do not like to read about cheating couples (or even worse, cheating that never is really addressed, just overlooked).
But each story is enjoyable in its own right, let me go through them:
Diplomacy ♥♥♥♥♥ 4.5 stars
Definitely my favourite of the entire collection. This is about US diplomat Jack, and his life living as a closeted and married man. Then one day while on assignment in Belgium, he meets one of the delegates from the English embassy, Lucas. There are sparks as soon as the pair meets.
This was enjoyable from start to finish. The characters are hot and the sexual tension is explosive. My only major criticism was that the ending could have had subtitles to denote the amount of time that passed instead of making reader calculate in their heads what’s happened. Ok, that might be lazy, but I like to think not.
Façade ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts
This is about male escort Jonas, and his newest client and world famous fashion designer, Nicky.
It’s a pretty basic story, on the whole. It starts a bit like Pretty Woman except that Jonas is headstrong and arrogant, whereas Nicky is insecure with himself – so nothing like Pretty Woman at all. The sex is explosive between the pair but in my mind I can’t get past how selfish Jonas can be towards Nicky, particularly when it comes to his work. As I said, Nicky is an insecure guy so Jonas probably needed to spend more time cultivating his serious relationship before going to work.
Hand-Me-Down ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts
A volcano eruption in Iceland leaves Jez stranded in Barcelona after all the airports shut down. At a bit of a loose end, he visits an old friend, Nick, who introduces Jez to his younger lover, Jamie. Then Jez finds out Nick is dying and in some sort of twisted inheritance, Nick wants Jez to look after Jamie once he’s gone.
An odd start, that’s for sure, but this is a thoroughly enjoyable book, despite the dark tone from the outset.
There was only one main problem after the darkness subsided after the first third of the book – we then go through two thirds of being a vinter, or learning to be a vinter. While the information and research is clearly evident in the writing, I felt sometimes there needed to be a bit pizzazz and just more going on in the plot between Jamie and Jez in general.
Western Clouds and Rain ♥♥♥ 3 Hearts
This and Façade are both competing in my mind for least favourite story of the bundle. By this time I’m quite used to Zahra’s formula by now, which includes MF sex and cheating, which may involve women but in this one it definitely did involve the woman.
The main couple are Gable and Flynn. Gable is lonely because the poor sod put his heart and soul in with one person, Grant, who decided to jump into bed with Gable’s married female best friend, Calley. Ok, that part of the story line has officially pissed me off because clearly Gable is too nice for his own good where those two are concerned. These two, Grant and Calley, take up almost the entirety of the second half of the book with their major plot line. In fact, really it was almost like 2 different books because Calley’s pregnancy takes up so word space. Honestly, I’m not sure how much I like the idea of another friend, Hunter, falling for Grant (because that is book 2).
Yet, at the same time, Gable is also a bit of an arse, because after his experiences his relationship with Flynn started off with Gable blatantly using the guy for sex and as a house keeper. But I can push those reservations aside. On the bright side, I think Gable deserves the gentle touch and love that comes with being with Flynn. The two have great chemistry and Flynn is man enough to heal all Gable’s hurts.