Heart2Heart: A Contemporary Charity Anthology (Collection), Volume 7 - by by Annabeth Albert, Avril Ashton, Jocelynn Drake, Kelly Fox, Hayden Hall, Fearne Hill, E.M. Lindsey, Leslie McAdam, Jackie North, Charlie Novak, Cora Rose, K.C. Wells


Each year, the Heart2Heart Anthology gathers together a group of stories just in time for Valentines Day, all with a common theme of the H2H app - this year upgraded with CUPID - bringing the lonely hearts together. This anthology is for the benefit of LGBTQ+ Charities.

From the blurb:

Once upon a time SIX YEARS AGO, the Heart2Heart app made its first batch of incredibly unlikely (but
oh-so-perfect) love matches. So a fresh, new group of your favorite authors wondered… what happens when the world’s most perceptive dating software gets an upgrade, just in time for Valentine’s Day?

Will the porcelain teacup collector, the shy rugby player, and the bank robber with a heart of gold find their perfect matches? Only fate (and C.U.P.I.D) know.

As always, all proceeds from this anthology will benefit LGBTQ+ charities to ensure that love in all its incarnations will be celebrated and protected every single day of the year!

Stories included in this collection are:
Among Friends, by Annabeth Albert
A New Thrill, by Avril Ashton
Brie Mine, by Charlie Novak
When CUPID Strikes, by Cora Rose
Mixed Signals, by E.M. Lindsey
August’s Thief, by Fearne Hill
Skating After You, by Hayden Hall
Wings of Love, Jackie North
Love in Bloom, by Jocelynn Drake
The Shape of the Heart’s Desire, K.C. Wells
Meat Cute, by Kelly Fox
Mixed Motives, by Leslie McAdam

Sheena's Review:

I received an ARC of one half of this anthology, and this review covers only the stories I've read so far.

A New Thrill by Avril Ashton
This was a new to me author, and I honestly struggled to get on with this story. It just didn't resonate with me, I didn't like either protagonist and I felt Jameson was too controlling and overbearing not letting Paxton get on with his life. This one just wasn't for me, I'm afraid.

Brie Mine by Charlie Novak
I have read some Charlie Novak before, and I did really enjoy this one. The premise is nothing new, two guys start talking on the app, form a connection and then meet without knowing who each other is. What I did like is that they both recognised each other almost instantly and there was zero angst or will-they-won't-they, instead that connection they shared on the app spilled over instantly into real life and it just felt so natural. This was a lovely story, tangentially connected to the Heather Bay series and it was sweet, warm, hot and ultimately satisfying.

When CUPID Strikes by Cora Rose

I don't think I've read a Cora Rose story before, but on the evidence of this I would certainly look out for more. Ara is set up on a blind date with Alastair, and it seems disastrous at first because Alastair is straight (or at least has always thought so) and grumpy while Ara is sunshine personified. It's a real opposites attract with a bi (or gay?) awakening for Alastair. Grumpy/sunshine is my absolute kryptonite and sunshine characters like Ara, even more so. I loved these two and the development of their friendship at first, then relationship felt organic and natural, even in such a short space of time.

August's Thief by Fearne Hill
I love Fearne Hill's writing, she always brings something different to each story and does so again here. I liked the idea that CUPID is a bot, and the interview idea was different too. Nobody does disabled representation quite like Fearne Hill, August has been hurt in the past due to his appearance, yet Dawson just sees the wholly good person that August is. A lot of that is due to him being sole carer for his extremely disabled brother, yet he's struggling too and honestly these two fit together so well, like a lock and key that are meant to be. For a short story, there's a lot going on, I loved these two and loved the story, it's touching, emotional, yet funny in places and everything I've come to expect from a Fearne Hill story.

Wings of Love by Jackie North
Another new to me author, and a story I did enjoy. I love seeing how different authors tackle the same premise of a dating app, and seeing the different way they approach it. Here, Daxel is forced out of his comfort zone by his well meaning mum to start dating and getting out more after a bad break up. Eugene comes from a strict church background and has left all that behind after coming out to his family, and has never even kissed another man before. This is a slow burn as the two are both reluctant participants in the date at the start, but slowly warm up to the idea, and to each other. I love how they take time to build their connection over the course of the story and it never felt rushed or instant, just a natural evolution for two people who find what they're looking for in each other and are willing to work to keep that. I really enjoyed this.

The Shape of the Heart's Desire by K.C. Wells
I was really looking forward to this because K.C. Wells usually brings something different with each story, and I wasn't disappointed. Paisley and Ethan click the blind date option and end up going on a date to a pottery class - neither have done that before so it's new to both. There's a bit of an age gap, Ethan is older than Paisley and it turns out he was a teacher while Paisley was at school, but Paisley is a totally different person now, than he was at school. Ethan is a full time writer now, and Paisley works for the charity that helped him out when he left home after coming out.

Again there's an instant connection between the two, and yes, there is something different here but I will not spoil that, it's a little unexpected but I am here for it, and I loved that Paisley was nervous about revealing his secret, yet Ethan was more than on board for it. We don't get long with these two, that's the nature of a short story but it's enough to see how easy it is for the two of them and it's a genuine HEA, I think. I loved it.

SNik's review:

This review is for the story Skating After You by Hayden Hall. Dual POV.

Former figure skater turned ice ballet performer Jaxon and hockey player Phoenix both sign up for the Cupid dating app to find a blind date for Valentine’s Day. Having met briefly before, Jaxon and Phoenix are both happily surprised, the attraction immediate and finding things in common makes them connect even more so. The date is swoony as both men are sweet, and later their time together turns super spicy. I enjoyed the instant feels, and for a short story felt like I could imagine their relationship turning into something special and forever for Jaxon and Phoenix.

Heather's Review:

This review is for the story Skating After You by Hayden Hall.

Adorable!  Hayden Hall packs a lot into 4 small chapters and gives us a bit of background, a meet cute, a first date and a steamy conclusion to the date that gives us a glimpse into the instant connection between Jaxon and Phoenix. This was a lovely snippet and definitely whet my appetite for more of the Heart2Heart Contemporary anthology - which is sitting on my kindle to devour this weekend...

Heart2Heart Anthology is available for a limited time in paperback and e-book format.  It can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited subscription.