He's Come Undone Cover
Synopsis from the Creator:

For him, control is everything...until it shatters, and now he's come undone.
"Appassionata" by Emma Barry

Piano technician Brennan Connelly lives to control details: the tension on a piano string or the compression of hammer felt. But he's never faced demands like those heaped on him by Kristy Kwong, the diva who's haunted his dreams for two decades. Kristy's got her own secrets--the debilitating stage fright that's kept her from performing publicly for years to start--and this concert is the last chance to save her career. But can he locate her lost passion without losing his precious control?
"Unraveled" by Olivia Dade
Math teacher Simon Burnham--cool, calm, controlled--can't abide problems with no good solution. Which makes his current work assignment, mentoring art teacher Poppy Wick, nothing short of torture. She's warm but sharp. Chaotic but meticulous. Simultaneously the most frustrating and most alluring woman he's ever known. And in her free time, she makes murder dioramas. Murder dioramas, for heaven's sake. But the more tightly wound a man is, the faster he unravels--and despite his best efforts, he soon finds himself attempting to solve three separate mysteries: a murder in miniature, the unexplained disappearance of a colleague...and the unexpected theft of his cold, cold heart.
"Caught Looking" by Adriana Herrera
When best friends Yariel and Hatuey's gaming night turns into an unexpected and intense hook up, Hatuey can't wait to do it again. Yariel is less certain--the major leaguer might seem to all the world like he has a heart of stone, but he's been carrying a torch for his friend for years, and worries this will ruin the most important relationship in his life. That means Hatuey has to do all the work, and he's planning to give it all he's got. Yariel may be the one hitting home runs on the field...but Hatuey is playing a game of seduction, and he knows exactly how to make Yariel crumble.
"Yes, And..." by Ruby Lang
When rheumatologist Darren Zhang accidentally sits in on acting teacher Joan Lacy's improv class, he's unprepared for the attraction that hits him--and he's a man who likes to be prepared. Joan is caring for her ailing mother and barely has time to keep up her art, let alone date. But as the pair play out an unlikely relationship during stolen moments, they both find themselves wanting to say yes, and... much more.
"Tommy Cabot Was Here" by Cat Sebastian
Massachusetts, 1959: Some people might accuse mathematician Everett Sloane of being stuffy, but really he just prefers things a certain way: predictable, quiet, and far away from Tommy Cabot--his former best friend, chaos incarnate, and the man who broke his heart. The youngest son of a prominent political family, Tommy threw away his future by coming out to his powerful brothers. When he runs into Everett, who fifteen years ago walked away from Tommy without an explanation or a backward glance, his old friend's chilliness is just another reminder of how bad a mess Tommy has made of his life. When Everett realizes that his polite formality is hurting Tommy, he needs to decide whether he can unbend enough to let Tommy get close but without letting himself get hurt the way he was all those years ago.

Review: He's Come Undone, an Anthology

[fa icon="calendar"] May 11, 2020 9:54:45 AM / by Melanie

Here’s the thing about anthologies. They usually contain a couple of good stories that anchor the collection and a couple of middling to forgettable stories that might just get skimmed. However, He’s Come Undone features five incredibly strong, nuanced, sweet romances featuring five of the brightest voices in romance today. The connective thread that ties these stories together is that they feature buttoned-up, rather stuffy heroes who embark on unexpected romances with people who help them to, well, become undone.

Take for example, Appassionata by Emma Barry. Kristy is a gifted pianist diva struggling with a rather brutal case of stage fright and trying to ward off an emotional breakdown. Brennan, the piano technician tasked with advising her for her next performance is formal and a bit uptight and harboring a secret long-time crush on Kristy. The meticulous attention to detail would have kept the story from moving along in the hands of a lesser writer, but in the hands of Emma Barry, I got so caught up in the high stakes world of professional piano playing, it left me breathless and aching for more. The characters resonated, the chemistry was intense and the ultimately, every word of this nuanced romance was, well, note perfect.

I never knew I had a great need for heroines who were super into creating murder dioramas until Olivia Dade presented me with one in Unraveled and now, that’s literally all I could ever want. Charming and sweetly sexy, as is her hallmark, math teacher SImon is tasked with mentoring art teacher Poppy, who is a new hire. As bright, fun, and vibrant as her name suggests, Poppy is the perfect juxtaposition to calm, cool, reserved Simon. Watching the sparks fly as they interact with each other proves the point that sometimes, opposites really do attract,

Caught Looking by Adriana Herrera features two of my favorite tropes: friends to lovers and secret pining. Pro baseball player Yariel has been secretly pining after Hatuey for years and when things finally turn steamy between the two, Yariel is convinced he’s wrecked things for good while Hatuey realizes that the very thing he’s been searching for his whole life has been right under his nose the whole time. Yariel is reluctant to push things further and watching Hatuey make it his mission to convince Yariel to take a chance on them is utterly delightful.

A character on the verge of a complete breakdown because of her newfound existence as a caregiver to her mother who is suffering from dementia would not, at first glance, seem like the obvious choice for a romance heroine. But somehow, Ruby Lang manages to craft a sweet, hopeful romance in Yes, And…. Acting teacher Joan, on the precipice of falling apart, proves the perfect counterpoint to calm, steady doctor Darren who finds himself just wanting to take care of her and there’s nothing sexier than a caretaking hero embracing his nurturing side.

Tommy Cabot Was Here by Cat Sebastian is bittersweet, hopeful, and heartbreaking. Everett and Tommy were boyhood friends in prep school whose friendship turned to more. But reality intruded and each went their separate ways before reuniting years later. Watching newly divorced single father Tommy and math teacher Everett navigate family and social constructs in the 1950s while at first ignoring and then finally admitting their feelings for each other was beautiful to watch unfold.

All in all, five strong stories with memorable, captivating characters make up this most excellent anthology.


Content Warnings: Homophobia, parental illness

Melanie received a copy of this book from the authors for review.

Topics: review