THREE 5 and 4 Stars for A Forced Silence (Zero Hour #1) by Cate Ashwood #MM #Crime @cateashwood


Title: A Forced Silence (Zero Hour #1)
Author Name & Publisher: Cate Ashwood (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: December 11, 2015 – 200 pgs


For paramedic Adam Carson, his world is lights and sirens and saving lives. Pressures at work keep him firmly in the closet, and life is too busy to contend with the complications that come with dating and relationships. When a familiar face from his past turns up where he least expects it, Adam starts to question whether or not there is room in his life for those complications.

The last person forensic pathologist Sam McKenna expects to see at pub night is Adam, the guy who made his life hell in high school. The attraction is instant, but Adam isn’t gay and Sam has no interest in pursuing him. Still, the leftover animosity from their teenage years isn’t enough to extinguish the lust growing between them. After both are called to the scene of a horrific murder, Adam admits he’s not as straight as he led Sam to believe and they seek comfort and distraction in each other’s arms. One night becomes many as the murder investigation intensifies, but when Adam is faced with losing Sam, he is forced to make a choice: to break his silence, or to give up everything for the job he loves.

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Adam is a Paramedic who is deeply in the closet due to being afraid of what his family and co-workers will say if they found out. He knows Sam from high school and he was not very nice to him then..

Sam is a forensic pathologist who remembers Adam from high school as being the guy who picked on him which makes him very wary of Adam now..

I have to say I loved the way this author wrote these characters and this story!

The way Adam felt bad for the way he was back then to the feelings he has for Sam now and attraction he feels, while at the same time he is so afraid of anyone finding out.
Then there was Sam who is attracted to Adam and welling to take him anyway he can get him even if that means he needs to go back in the closet to have a relationship with him.

You get your angst with this book and so much steam which was so hot between these two men!

So all together I really loved this story and I would definitely recommend this book!



Sam is a brilliant character.  High school nerd turned fit, clever pathologist – he is a confident, sexy leading man.  I didn’t warm to Adam quite as much.  It is difficult for a closeted man who lives to impress his homophobe partner to prove himself as a worthy romantic hero.  Adam’s insecurities make him a pretty weak leading man.  

I loved the murder mystery until it ended on a cliff-hanger.  I hate cliff-hangers.  Books are expensive and I always feel like a writer is buying my loyalty when she refuses to finish a story in a single book.  This mystery was well written.  Really well written.  I found myself more engaged by the mystery than by the slightly infuriating romance.  But then the story ended without a resolution…

Sam and his best friend Ford are great.  Part of me just wanted the two secure gay guys to get together and forget all about closets and secrets.  But Adam did grow on me – a little.  I liked his brother and the men at his station better than I liked him, which makes the romance a little difficult.  But the cliff-hanger also leaves room for Adam’s character to develop so I’m holding out hope for a convincing HEA.

I was surprised at how sexy this book is.  Cate Ashwood’s sex scenes aren’t usually this steamy but this book almost tips into erotica territory at times.  Even if the relationship isn’t always brilliant, Sam and Adam’s sex life is very hot.

My other complaint is the Dustin subplot.  It drives the story into OTT cliche territory.  Without giving anything away, I’m not sure why the author felt the story needed so much extra drama.

Overall, This is a really good romantic suspense story.  I love a well written mystery-suspsense and really enjoyed the storyline here.  I’m still not sold on the romance or on the fact that the story ends on a cliff-hanger without a resolution to the mystery or the romance. 

I’ve decided that I’m  going to treat this like the first episode of a good Scandinavian television drama.  I enjoyed it and I look forward to the resolution in a later episode.



Let me start by saying that I love pretty much anything forensic sciences… that being said, I felt that this book, while it had the pathologist in it, was not really about forensics.  However, it didn’t detract from the story at all.
Sam McKenna is a doctor – a guy who is proud of his accomplishments, proud of being gay and won’t bow to anyone about the choices in his life.  He is just starting out when he runs in to a person from his past.  Then, his nickname is revealed:  Dex.  I liked how he was able to roll with the nickname – he didn’t care about past names, because he didn’t let it define him.  He owned his geekiness.
Then you have Adam.  He is a paramedic that happens upon many scenes that Sam has to attend to – Adam is also a very dedicated, closeted person.  He loves his job – it defines him.  He wants nothing more than to be ok with who he is, but knows that he runs the risk of losing his job, respect of his fellow paramedics if he comes out.
The chemistry between these two is OFF THE CHARTS HOT.  The way that Ashwood writes their connection is steamy, complex, loving and just Yum.
But, when things get out of hand, when push comes to shove, can Sam and Adam truly understand what it means to give themselves completely?
I loved this story and can’t wait for more of this series!
Oh my god I absolutely loved this book. I have always and a soft place in my heart for first responders and this book just get me where it counts. First, Ms. Ashwood has a way with romance and I have yet to read one of her books and come away disappointed. There is always a secondary story in the background but it never takes away from the romance. I loved when you have a story about two men and one is out and proud and the other firmly in the closet. It is always interesting to see which way the author is going to go with this type of a story. This book has characters (main and secondary) that were clearly well thought out and the sex was HOT! This makes a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next installment.


“Ah, here they are,” Ford said, turning his head toward two men who were making their way to the table.

“Adam, John, this is Sam. Sam, these are two of the city’s ugliest heroes, John and Adam.” Ford made the introductions as John slid into a chair across from him, lifting his head in greeting.

Sam swallowed hard, barely registering anything other than the man still standing in front of him. Adam Carson. He watched as recognition dawned in Adam’s eyes and a slow smirk appeared on his face. It was the same familiar cocky expression he wore when Sam knew him a billion years earlier.

“You sure have grown up, Dexter,” Adam said, exercising the nickname he had used for him all through school.

Sam lifted one eyebrow. “It seems you haven’t.”

“You two know each other?” Ford asked, eyebrows lifted in question.

“Oh, me and Dex go way back,” Adam supplied, never taking his eyes off Sam.


Sam rolled his eyes. Ford was his friend, but that didn’t mean he wanted to rehash the shit that happened back in high school. That name was one that haunted him right through the twelfth grade. When he moved, he tucked it safely away, but tonight, it seemed, it had followed him.

“Long story,” Adam said. “It’s good to see you. It’s been a long time.”


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Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, son, and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.


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