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ARC Review: Makes the Heart Grow Fouler by Carrie Aarons

Never meet your hero, because they’ll probably turn out to be a villain.

That thought didn’t even cross my mind when the magazine I work for assigned me to do a feature article on Dane, the greatest country singer of our generation. You know, the kind of celebrity who doesn’t require a last name because they’re that prolific.

Along with being one of my favorite artists, the notoriously private man has never given an interview in his twenty-year career, so this piece could make mine. Unfortunately, from the minute I step foot on his massive Texas compound, Dane is determined to break it.

Between his icy stares, lewd gestures, and mocking comments, the one week time table to ask him my questions comes and goes with zero answers. But for some reason, he won’t pull out of the article. And when he insists I move into his guest house in order to observe him, since he refuses to sit down one-on-one, I have no choice but to suck it up for my job.

After the year I’ve had, and the outside world I no longer want any part of, the seclusion is almost welcome. That is, if it didn’t include a sexy recluse who seems hellbent on messing with me. Working with someone I despise wouldn’t be so hard if it meant going home at the end of the day.

From his checkered past, to the rumors about his love life, to the fact that he vanished from the music scene five years ago, to the teenage daughter he’s raised as a single father her entire life … there is so much to unpack in order to learn the truth about the man buried beneath the ink covering his skin.

But the real danger comes when Dane drops the curtain completely, allowing me to see every side of him. Because it makes me want to show him every damaged part of myself.

Except two such opposite, but equally broken, people can never find a happily ever after. Especially since a villain has no heart. So what do I do when the fallen hero I can’t have wants to give me his?

Dane was a minor – but important – character in Say You Love Me Again, Sophie and Levi’s story, which I absolutely adore. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in the last year. He was mysterious and obviously had a story to tell so I knew this one would be good. Dane channeled his tragic childhood into superstardom as a singer/songwriter but though he bares his soul in his music, he’s an enigma to the world. He’s never done a single interview in his twenty-year career and guards his privacy fiercely. He agreed to do an interview to raise money for a charity close to his heart, but regrets it as soon as the reporter arrives.

Margot can’t believe she’s interviewing Dane – no last name needed – the world’s biggest country star who also happens to be her teenage crush. She’s nervous but thrilled, until she meets him and Dane is a complete jerk. He refuses to give her anything and won’t even really speak to her. His daughter and his best friend encourage Margot to stick it out a little longer, while pushing him to cooperate. This is the piece that will make her career and she refuses to fail, so she gives in.

Their attraction is immediate but she can’t cross that line, it would be career suicide, and he doesn’t let anyone in, especially not reporters. But the more time they spend together, the harder it becomes to fight the pull between them. They finally give in and it’s everything, but then it all blows up in their faces. Dane is gruff but loveable and I liked Margot right away, so I was immediately invested in these characters. They both come from tragedy and know heartache, which brings them together in some ways but pushes them apart in others because they’re both so damaged.

Margot annoyed me towards the end when she did something really thoughtless and I was so disappointed in her, but she redeemed herself. Their story is emotional and raw in places, fun and steamy in others. I really enjoyed this book. I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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