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How to Heal

Lovestrong, Book 5
Narrated by: Michael Pauley
Series: Lovestrong, Book 5
Length: 7 hrs and 26 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Summary

Take one former bully, unable to forgive himself for the sins of his past....
 

Clark Danvers is a wild 21-year-old who’s trying to prove he’s an adult. With a two-year degree in hand, he manages the family car dealership and seemingly parties by night. Given the amount of times he’s been pulled over for speeding by Deputy Rick Matthews, public opinion seems to be right. But what people don’t see are the scars he carries both inside and out. Scars from a past he can’t run away from and will never be able to atone for, no matter how many times he beats himself over it.
 

Add one no-nonsense cop who longs to be a Daddy for the right boy....
 

Jericho “Rick” Matthews never expects the bratty kid who gets on his last nerve to pull at his heartstrings. When he finds Clark battered and fighting for his life in a motel room, Rick’s daddy mode is instantly engaged. Before he can think of anything else, he must first comfort this hurting boy.
 

To equal a pair of men who might just be what the other needs.
 

The two men who thought they couldn’t stand each other are drawn together after a date gone wrong. While Rick tenderly cares for Clark, he decides what this brat needs is a daddy...someone to help him break free from the past and embrace the promise of many happy tomorrows.
 

This is the fifth book in the Lovestrong series about finding love and being yourself in a small town. Intended only for 18 plus listeners, this is an mm romance full of all the sweet feels you’d want from an S. Hawke book.
 

Note: Possible trigger warning for mentions of self-harm and a scene involving a man who’s consented to having himself tied up. What he didn’t agree to was being left that way for an entire weekend. This highly emotional scene is the catalyst to evoke “Daddy’s” protective mode in a tale filled with themes of hurt and comfort and the struggle of overcoming a difficult past.

©2019 Susan Hawke (P)2019 Susan Hawke

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good addition to the series

Not my favourite in the series but still an entertaining listening. Daddy/Boy relationships aren't really my preferred choice of kink but I was eager for Rick to find his happy ever after since the last book. That he found it with Clark was as much a surprise to me as it was to Rick. Parts of this book were quite hard to listen to with the way Clark thought he required penance for his sins and it as much about healing and Clark finding a way through his self destructive guilt as the relationship.
The kink is quite relaxed for its type, with a focus on comfort, which probably made it more accessible to me than other books of its type.
Tropes: Age gap. Hurt/comfort. Daddy Dom.

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Really great

This was an excellent audiobook.
I always enjoy Susan’s writing, and it is brought to life so wonderfully by Michael.
I can’t wait to listen to more of this series.

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  • Cassi
  • ScrolMates Blog
  • 31-05-19

sweet and healing daddy book

I was just complaining to a friend who I like daddy books but it annoys me when the Daddy gets too patronizing. Susan manages to nail it here. Their dynamic is the right balance of sweet and naughty and I love seeing them progress, grow, and heal together. My only trouble with this the books of this series is that the comedy tend to be a little "slapstick" style, cheap humor which really works for some people so its not necessarily a negative, it just Doesn't work as well for me.

Michael pulls out all the voices with this series and while sometimes I think he may go a little too over the top with a few of them I do think it mostly fits the characters and feel of the book

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Clark finally gets his story, so worth waiting for

I've been waiting for this story since book one in the series and it's absolutely been worth the wait. I never could have imagined the depth of feeling that Clark is experiencing still from his teenage years and it takes Rick to take the time and show Clark how to heal.
There's a beautiful tale of forgiving yourself and allowing happiness as well as experiencing a relationship that's perfect for two people regardless of what it entails. Susan has given us a wonderful Daddy story filled with acceptance, punishment, friendship and love. The two men work really well together and it's great getting to hear from characters from the previous books in this series.
Michael Pauley gives a perfect voice to Clark, the perfect amount of snark and vulnerability, and Rick is perfect in his domineering Daddy voice but so caring as well. Emotion is really felt throughout the whole book, especially in the first few chapters where an event occurs, bringing the two men together. Michael is amazing at bringing characters to life and heart to the story he's narrating.
A definite recommendation and there are so many more characters I would love to hear stories for!

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Awesome narration!

Overall: 4.5 Stars!

We met Clark in some of the previous books in the series and if you've read those, you know he's gone through a lot of things, from being a bully to being bullied himself and in this book we see him dealing with a lot of things, work, his father, his guilt. I loved how much growth Clark showed during the book and how much work he put in his therapy. Clark needed direction and someone to rely on and he found it on Rick, who was looking for a boy he could be a Daddy for.

I liked Rick, for the most part, but yeah, there were a few times where I found his actions frustrating. Still, I think he allowed Clark the room he needed to grow without smothering him, so that was good, and while the Daddy kink was a big part of their relationship, there was another part in which they were equals. Of course, it didn't hurt that Rick and Clark had chemistry or that they seemed to bring out a lot of good things in one another and were willing to work on their bad habits.

Michael Pauley did a good job with the narration. I think he has gotten better with each narration of his I've listened to. He has a pleasant tone and has a great way of showing emotion through his voice, so it's always entertaining to listen to him.

Even if it wasn't my favorite in the series, I still found it entertaining and hot and engaging. I was thoroughly invested in Clark finding himself and his HEA with Rick. Recommendable!

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A beautiful and moving story, Pauley is Wonderful

Narrated by Michael Pauley, <i>How to Heal</i> is the fifth book in Susan Hawke’s Lovestrong series. Don’t be put off by that “#5” though, this is only the second book in the series I’ve listened to and Ms. Hawke makes it easy to stay in the loop. It is a progressive series, and folks from different books pop in and out, but I had no problem following along. (It does make me want to go back and get the dirty details on what I’ve missed though!)

Michael Pauley is an excellent choice for this series. His smooth, sensual voice never fails to do his job, and the emotion he adds to the intimate scenes is stunning.

We meet Rick in <i>How Not to Break</i> and this sweet man captured a piece of my heart. Holding out hope that one day he’ll find a special boy of his own, I knew Clark was going to end up being perfect for him. Also, the fact that Clark is only 21 (yay, age-gap!), and tall and built, just adds to the appeal of the daddy kink for me.

Just a word about the way Ms. Hawke handles the daddy kink. This is not an age-play story and the daddy/boy dynamic is very relaxed for these two men. It’s done in a healing way, giving both characters what they need as it strengthens their bond.

<i>How to Heal</i> is a beautifully told story of Clark’s progress as he works through the guilt of his past transgressions. It’s a tough road, as Clark is a victim himself. Thankfully he has a great support system in the community which gives him the help he needs as he works his way through the process.

This is a well written and intricate tale. As information is revealed and loose ends sewn up, Susan Hawke weaves in some fascinating details. Sadly the 7 1/2 hours flew by too fast and just leaves me wanting <i>more</i>!

<i>an audiobook copy of How to Heal was provided to me for the purpose of my review</i>

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Bad Boy needs Daddy Dom?

I love this Lovestrong Contemporary romance series by Susan Hawke, and Michael Pauley does another excellent job of bringing the characters to life.
When we first meet Clark Danvers in the first book of the series (or the second if I count the prequel story How Not To Wait), he's a scared, angry boy of fifteen who has suffered under his father's tyranny for far too long, but in this book, he's a young man of just 21 and figuring what he wants in his life besides running the family business. His penchant for punishment and bondage bring him more trouble than he bargained for, so it was good to see Clark learn to accept help from his foe, Officer Rick who keeps nailing him for speeding tickets and other vehicular infractions.
It was awesome to see Rick Matthews finally find himself a boy since Shaw was never meant to be his. There is plenty of redemption and trust building for Clark with Rick. Could Rick give him what he's needed all along? I highly recommend that you read/listen along and find out for yourself.

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Just want to hug him.

When we first met Clark Danvers in book one of this fantastic series, I really didn’t like him, what we find in this fifth book, is a young man who while having grown-up, hates himself and can’t move on from the past. Rick Matthews is a cop who has had run ins with Clark before and sees him as a argumentative, aggressive young man, but sees something wounded in him, when he saves his life. Realising that Clark needs him, definitely as a friend if not as more. Clark awakens all of Rick’s protective instincts and Rick can see him as his boy.
This book has a distressing scene within it but it is one scene and set the book up please be aware of the warnings.

As with all of Susan Hawks books the characters are well thought out and written well with personalities that carry on from previous books, having Michael do the voices right the way through is always swoon-worthy. I love this series to listen to or to read.

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Great listen

I loved the kindle version of How to Heal and I knew I needed to listen to it too. Clark and Rick’s story is just as good in Audible as it is in writing. I felt so much for poor Clark and how he felt he had to atone for his past. I’m glad he found Daddy Rick to help him move forward. The narration was good, but not excellent (I’ve enjoyed the narrator before, so I don’t know why this book it wasn’t quite as fantastic). Overall I’ll listen to more in the series for sure.

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sweet redemption

I enjoyed the story of Clark’s redemption but I didn’t take to it in the same way as the previous books. It is not humorous as the earlier books nor is it very serious like the previous book. This is a more compassionate journey that Clark takes after having a near death experience. He needs the guidance he gets from the Daddy boy relationship with Rick. The support from Rick and his family along with the therapy he receives from Seth allows Clark to let go of the past and focus on the future. Rick and Clark are a lovely couple, they have a wonderful way of playing of each other
As always Michael Pauley does a fantastic job making the characters shine. Because he gives as much attention to the secondary characters the story comes alive.

Audio ARC provided by LesCourt Services in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Andrea @ A Starry Reader
  • 03-06-19

emotional

This book was filled with emotion, it'll make you laugh and cry. I loved Rick to for his patience, understanding and compassion. I adored Clark, and really felt for him. I wanted to wrap him in a hug.

I thought Michael Pauley did a great job narrating these two as usual!

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  • save our wildlife
  • 03-06-19

a story of redemption

I have loved this series from the beginning,and this is no exception. Reading and then hearing Clark's story and transformation from bully to the good man he became was amazing.

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  • Bookobessed
  • 01-06-19

Redemption and finding love

Clark was introduced as one of those characters that appeared to be the worst kind of person only for us to discover that there was so much more happening. We finally find out what is behind his actions and how his past continues to haunt him. Rick can't help but wonder about Clark and when he discovers him in deplorable conditions, he realizes that he feels more than he thought about Clark. As these two figure out what is between them and helping Clark face his past, you will find yourself cheering for the one person that you never thought you would.

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  • Kendra T
  • 01-06-19

Great redemption story

I was a bit hesitant before reading this. Not because I didn’t love the series or have faith in the author’s ability, but because Clark was such an awful character in past books and I wasn’t sure if I could like him enough to enjoy it. I am SO glad I was able to find redemption for Clark!

This book takes place a few years after his teenage antics and abuse of Grey and advise by his father. Clark is now 21 and trying to find his way while still harboring so much guilt. I can’t say I would’ve imagined Rick as a partner for him initially, but I liked them together as the book progressed. They both fulfilled a need the other had perfectly, and they were able to communicate a lot which I loved. A lot of this focused on Clark’s psychological healing, and I loved watching him blossom. There is age gap and Daddy kink in this book, and I thought they were both well written. I loved this and I loved seeing Clark forgive himself and find more of a place in his community. Excellent job by the author.

Michael Pauley is amazing as always. I do have to admit that I had a little trouble listening to the beginning part of the book where Clark was first found by Rick; it was different listening to it rather than reading it. The rest of the book after that was awesome, though.

I am voluntarily reviewing an ARC provided by LesCourt Author Services

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  • JD
  • 31-05-19

Overcoming

I loved this story when I read it and Michael Pauley's narration helps bring the characters off the pages and into the world. Clark was a hurting boy the first time we met him, but you knew he could be so much once he was able to be free. This time Clark gets to soar and Rick is right there with him.

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  • Jen Valencia
  • 31-05-19

Sweet and steamy and all the good stuff in between

The title for this series is apt because my love for all the audiobooks in the Lovestrong series is strong! How to Heal is the fifth Lovestrong audiobook and it is, hands down, one of the best redemption stories I've ever had the pleasure of listening to. Twenty-one-year-old Clark Danvers should be familiar to fans and listeners of the series, and he's come a looooong way from the bully he had been as a teenager in the first book to the man he is in this book. I love that he was a work in progress and the role that thirty-seven-year-old Jericho "Rick" Matthews plays in his coming to terms with the guilt at his past sins was an extraordinary one, but let it not be said that Rick was the only one who helped Clark out. This book highlighted that it does, indeed, take a village and Clark had the support of a host of people--from his mother to Seth Thomas-Samson (How Not to Sin) and quite a number of others.

Susan Hawke has written the sort of story that's more than just a romance. As with the other audiobooks in the series, this is also about the importance of family and friends and how having a strong support system is essential for the betterment of one's way of thinking and living their life. There's a poignancy to Clark and Rick's story as much as there is passion and humor and Michael Pauley does a flawless job as always bringing all those emotions forward for listeners. Hawke and Pauley have become a fabulous duo and I couldn't imagine this series having been penned and narrated by anyone else. Five-plus stars for How to Heal.

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  • Celest F.
  • 31-05-19

Such an amazing story

This book is so good but there is some self-harm so beware. This book also has daddy kink, which I'm not a fan of, but it is not over the top. You definitely need to read or listen to the books in order to get the most enjoyment, but particularly the first book How Not To Blend, as that is where the back story for Clark comes in. I love that Clark gets his redemption and has thrived, despite how he was as a teenager. I'm also thrilled that we get to see more of Rick and his brothers.

Michael has done another fantastic job and he is one of my favorite narrators. He makes the story even better by adding his own touch.

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  • Irish
  • 31-05-19

Redemption Story with a Daddy Kink

Clark is trying to find redemption for his past actions (his "sins") against people in the LGBT community (earlier books in the Lovestrong Series by the author). Clark is hurting himself and then sets up to spend time with a Dom that he's been talking to online at a hotel, so that the Dom will punish him. When the maids find him days later, they end up calling the police.
Rick, a police officer, loves being a Daddy-Dom, but hasn't had any luck finding a boy. When he and his partner come to the hotel with a call of a dead body, they don't know what they are going to come across, but the last thing he expects to find is his perfect boy.
This is a wonderful redemption story! After "How Not to Blend", when you first meet Clark, and then "How Not to Sin" when you see him again, I was hesitant to like Clark. His behavior with Grayson and then with Pastor Gabe and Seth was truly horrible. However, I don't feel that anyone should ever need to feel that they should have to self-flagellate themselves for their actions. I did feel that the author did a good job at addressing this topic through the relationship between Clark and Rick but also Clark and Gray and Clark and Seth.
The narration of the story was done wonderfully. Michael Pauley did such an amazing job at capturing both the strength of Daddy Rick and the vulnerability of Clark. This is such a great continuation of the series, and an overall must read!

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  • H. Spanarella
  • 30-05-19

Clark & Rick

I've really enjoyed reading and listening to the Lovestrong books, and I always wondered (and hoped) we would get Clark's story. If we did, I had hoped it would be one where he could find his true happiness. Thankfully Susan Hawke felt the same way, because she gave us Clark's emotional journey! If you recall, we met Clark in the first book where he bullied poor Grey. I really loved Clark and Rick's story and how they each helped each other heal their own hurts. It was an emotional journey, and Clark's healing with his Daddy's help was ALL the feels. If you love a good redemption story, kind-hearted Daddy's who help heal the hurts of their boys, and an emotional ride, then this is the story for you! I can't wait to see who is next in this fantastic series! I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fantastic narration of their story; it really made the feelings of these characters stand out.

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  • Dixiecowgirl060
  • 29-05-19

Powerful story healing, redemption and passion!

Powerful story of learning to forgive yourself and finding love. I really enjoyed Michael Pauley's narration. Rick and Clark's characters are so wonderful to listen to as they come to life with this talented narrator.

These MC's are well developed and you will find them both lovable. Both men find that they fit together in a special way and that their dynamics and needs help make them both whole. The story-line is engaging and the writing was beautiful. The story is sweet, has really funny moments and will definitely steam up your kindle.

i found my heart hurting for Clark in this book as we see behind the face he shows to the world and into the young man who is struggling to find peace and make up for his past mistakes. It is a heartfelt look into the broken pieces of a young man who was abused and while a teenager also became a abuser. This book picks up five years later and gives us look into how he is still paying penance for his actions. Some of the interactions really brought tears to my eyes and sorrow in my heart.

Clark and Rick's story is about healing, forgiveness, redemption and passion. The reading of it was not easy and fluffy, there are some really gritty scenes, however it is a great read.

This book could be read/listened to as a stand-alone, however it is part of the Lovestrong series and reading it as part of that series will be much more enjoyable. You will be introduced to many of the supporting characters of this story from the earlier books.