by Beth Ehemann
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 has delivered another incredible read with Cement Heart. I've been excited
to get my hands on Viper's story since meeting him in the Cranberry Inn Series.
There are so many facets to our hero. On the surface he's a promiscuous male who never
sleeps with the same woman twice. At least he's courteous and offers cab fare when
dismissing them. Always a gentleman. He's always a loyal friend who would give
anything for those he's closest to.
After an unexpected turn, Viper finds himself drowning in guilt and regret. He never
thought an innocent bet would have such severe consequences. My heart ached for
him as he muddled through each day. I didn't know if he would ever be able to fully
forgive himself and find closure. When he finally has a moment of clarity and begins
to work towards that closure, a whole new set of concerns arose.
I didn't feel like Viper needed a women to find peace again, but I always root for love
and a happily ever after. Women throw themselves at him, so he has his pick of ladies.
When he began pursuing a certain connection I felt myself fretting. I felt as if he was
picking the worst choice of all the women because there was absolutely no way things
could work out between them in a way that lead to happily ever after. For the first time
in a book, I wasn't completely on board with a love connection. Not because they weren't
perfect for each other but because I feared the fallout. I dreaded the moment these two
couldn't get past their baggage and move forward together. I felt like Beth was setting me
up for heartbreak.
Confused yet? Have I been vague enough? Here's what you need to know -- you're going
to fall in love with Viper. He may be my favorite male from Beth Ehemann. He's fierce and
flawed but you can't help but fall in love with him. You will shatter alongside him and get
immersed in his journey. Cement Heart is beautifully written and can be enjoyed by any reader.
Pick up your copy today! It's a fantastic novel that I loved from start to finish.
I will start off by saying that this book was NOT what I was expecting. Things happened in this story that I never saw coming. Right now to Viper’s love interest.
During the Cranberry Inn Series, we were introduced to Viper as the manwhore friend of my beloved Brody. He was foul mouthed and loved the ladies. One of the opening scenes we see that he didn’t shake those whorish ways. And but the book progressed, we watched Viper evolve. He was always a great friend and would give the shirt off his back to someone but we got to see a deeper Viper.
I don’t want to share his love interest’s name. I want you to have the same experience I did when reading the story. I will tell you that she brought out an amazing man in Viper. Viper was adorably sweet and loving.
One thing that I loved about this book was that we got to see all the characters we feel in love with in The Cranberry Inn series. Brody and Kacie, Darla, Big Mike and Melissa. Having the whole crew together was fun to watch.
You could definitely read this book as a stand alone. However, The Cranberry Inn Series is one of my favorite series so you have to read them!
I look forward to reading more from Beth Ehemann. She has made the short list of automatic one- click authors.
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.
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