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You Get Full Credit For Being Alive

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,407 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Dear Author,
First I didn’t see the body through all the rain and darkness but when I drew near I saw him. Thought he was dead with all the blood. But he wasn’t and I considered for a moment to end the job because really… it would have been a mercy kill. He wouldn’t survive those injuries and even if he did he would be a vegetable. I mean… look at that head wound!
ebook, 89 pages
Published June 25th 2013 by M/M Romance Group @ goodreads

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Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,407 ratings  ·  241 reviews

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4.85 stars
Bloody oath, what a ripper of a story this turned out to be, a brilliant piece of writing, emotionally satisfying and I savoured every last word. I will happily follow these men on whatever ride they take me on in the future. When Justin discovers Shawn (Della the sweetie has a hand in that) beaten, bloody and left for dead, his plans of a quiet and lone existence are screwed up, hurray for that. He’s suspicious, protective and intrigued, his sense of justice is foremost, the retired kil
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Gigi by: Tina K
Because you saw me.

So simple. You saw me.

I fucking loved this story. I have been absolutely blown away every day since May when these absolutely fantastic Love Has No Boundaries stories started coming out, free, from some of the most talented authors writing M/M fiction today. This is just another stellar example from Cari Z., an author I'm not quite as familiar with. I've only read her book Surviving the Change which
Emma Sea
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely wonderful.

Marvellous pacing, great plot, characters I love. Invisible writing; nothing between me and the story. And long!

I love that Justin isn't a cartoon character. I love the way Z developed the story carefully and slowly. I loved the beginning, loved the end, loved the middle. Loved the dog. Just a whole bushel of love goin' on here.

This is better than 99% of published m/m I pay money for.

EDIT: Read Gigi's review: she's all articulate whil
Julio Genao
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: novella

The bad:

[comprised entirely of a fellow writer's nerdy nitpicks, and thus spoiler-tagged that you may ignore them if you wish]

(view spoiler) ...more
Mandy*reads obsessively*

This story had a very powerful picture prompt and I think the author did an awesome job with this story.

Justin is just walking his dog Della (love me a pup) and discovers what he thinks is a dumped body, he quickly realizes that he isn't dead - yet.
Justin is no boy scout, but he has had a change of heart over the years and something about this young man, fighting for his life touches him and after reading it, I think it's also a little bit of trying to change th
Oh, boy, I think I've found my favourite LHNB short story. Actually, the one and only completely perfect LHNB short story.
My first experience reading Cari Z. wasn't exactly what we could call spectacular and it caused me to think she was just another one of those low-quality, superficial quickie writers - let's face it, the M/M landscape in brimming and crawling with those. Thankfully, I let myself be persuaded to read this one by the tens of glowing reviews, though it wouldn't have surpri
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
3.75 stars

This is a brilliant little freebie with a catchy title about a jaded ex-hitman with a conscience and a young cop who trusted his new boyfriend too much.

This one's all about the second chances, the slow burn, the healing.

Justin's multiple persona act was rather unbelievable, and I was irritated that we never got his real name, but his care and attentiveness toward Shawn certainly rang true.

The cute, protective mut of a dog was just a bonus.

This w
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ami by: Mandy*reads obsessively*
I picked this up as my priority read of "Love Has No Boundaries today because my friends were raving about it. And I have read several stories from Cari Z before, so I knew her style, even if I experienced DNF-ing one of her stories as well.

I loved it. It had a very good pacing -- and I appreciated the slow journey to recovery because Shawn was heavily wounded; he suffered from aphasia and dysarthria af
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Macky by: Vio
What a wonderful tale. Justin is complex and multi layered but what a fantastic character. I just fell for him straight away. I loved how protective he was of Shawn, who for a large part of the story is so vulnerable and an absolute sweetie and yes he goes beyond the call of duty to stop further harm from happening to him but its what he is and what he does.. he's had a violent past and he'll fight dirty to keep the people he loves safe and over the course of watching over Shawn that's exactly w ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Definitely one of the best stories of the M/M romance group's LHNB.

Cari, your story blew me away, you truly rocked my world. :)

I fell in love with your MCs from the beginning. Justin is such an intriguing character. And Shawn is so cute, so loveable. The writing was entertaining and thrilling. I loved every damn word! And I hope so much that you'll write more about this two guys. Their story has just begun, right?

Highly recommended! :)
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars – Wonderful free novella that successfully hits all my m/m action-romance buttons in one solid go.

Written for the M/M Romance Group’s Love Has No Boundaries Event, this story focuses on Justin, who decided to retire early from his life as an assassin and live in solitude in the Pacific Northwest. (Well, solitude except for stray dog Della that he picked up.) But his quiet life with Della is interrupted one night when they come upon the beaten body of a young cop in his back
4.5 stars

I love me some good, sloooowww burn.

And what slow burn this was! The tension just about killed me!

Justin finds a dead guy at his house. Well, what seems to be a dead guy until taking a closer look and he realizes the man is alive and a police officer. Justin rushes him to the hospital, but being a retired hit man, he rushes right back out of the hospital after making sure his mystery guy is going to be okay. Justin couldn’t seem to forget his guy, Shawn, and sets up a series of diffe/>I
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Ingie by: Vio
Review written July 2, 2013

3.7 Stars - Interesting all the way to last page

In just over 100 pages, I got a nice story about the smart and quite shady Justin who sees as his mission to save a man he finds by a chance, the lovely and damaged Shawn.

It all starts when Justin's dog Della, and maybe his only friend, Della finds a young guy lying in woods just outside the cottage where they live. The mans head is bleeding and Justin takes him to the hospital ER.

A few days later the young police officer, Shawn wakes up in a hospital. Shawn doesnshadypage

3.7 ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fread
I’m really not sure how to rate this one.

The beginning had me interested. Justin was certainly an interesting character, and I was curious as to who the body was and why he had been left for dead.

The climatic ending was good and again kept my attention.

But the parts in-between kinda lost momentum for me. A little too drawn out with nothing really happening. I certainly never warmed to Margot. She is the kind of female I don’t care for in my books. To be honest
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for:'s wonderful!!

Extremely short review as others have already described how amazing this one is. Another LHNB freebie....the best of the bunch so far for me, and there have been some really good ones. 5 stars but if I could. Absolutely wonderful, and there is to be another story endeth my review.
Lisa Arbitrary - AttentionIsArbitrary M/M Blog

This is a great example of stellar character development that makes you appreciate how many types of relationships authors let us explore. Subtle, sweet, good stuff. And surprising. I've come to expect something different from Cari Z, but I haven't been disappointed yet. She gets me every time.

He looked confused, and his fingers twitched toward me.
"Shh, it's okay," I said soothingly. "But Shawn, I'm a secret. I'm your secret."

I couldn't have enjoyed this more. I have to admit that since the prompt mentionedtime.
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great read and a lot of action packed into a few pages. I loved the development of the story finding out that Shawn is really the sweet and innocent one trapped in a web of lies and deceit. However, Shawn recognises something in Justin that goes beyond the hired killer and with his strength Justin wipes the slate clean, putting the past behind him and tries to do right in his life. A gripping story in compact form.
2,5 stars

I know that this short novella has a lot of fans.
Unfortunately I am not among them.
It was not bad. But it was not good. For me.
Don't ask me WHY.
It didn't reach my heart.
It did nothing to my head.
And I didn't noticed either any reaction in my below body's part.
Jun 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.
My heart... dear god, my heart. It's overflowing with love for this story.
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Me likey.
Nice level of violence though the actual body count is low, a much higher amount is referenced--yay! Justin is a hero with my favorite qualities: moral code, violent and sweet. Shawn is one tough cookie and adorable, definitely worthy of Justin. Plus all the great quotes I found along the way that made me smile, I limited myself to two.

Favorite quotes:
Arguing with my conscience wasn’t something I could do silently; it felt too schizophrenic to keep it all inside my head. Of co/>Arguing
How can you stand up to an ex hired assassin who tells you:

I’ll take you home

I certainly could not.

Definitely one of the best LHNB stories I've read so far. Hurt-comfort theme at its best, two amazing MCs, a wonderful dog, action, plot, love .. What more can you ask for?

I had a house and a dog and a decent defensive perimeter. What more could a man want? Apart from revenge, which I was also planning on getting

Sure, you’ll need a bit of suspension of disbelief/>/>
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This reminded me of 'Zero to the Bone'. Assassin boy trying to retire helps a damaged boy and falls for him.

Nice and long. Plenty of time to develop the story, to fix the kid up, to fall in love. Very nice.

There's a dog, too, so bonus. Note, you have to make it right to the end for the smexy. Right. To. The. End.

Offered for FREE from the M/M Romance Group's Love Has No Boundaries Anthology: Volume 12. Thank you too all the amazing authors who participated!

Oh my god, this picture! A beautiful and well paced story that's reminiscent of Zero at the Bone and Whistle Blowing. I loved both these guys, and although of course I'd love to be inside Shawn's head, it worked well the way it was. Maybe a second short of these two from his POV?!?

Cari's story In All Your Ways from last years event, Love Is Always Write: Volume Three, was good too if you wanna check out more ofparticipated!
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh man, this was... fucking brilliant. Seriously. Just so freaking awesome.

This was probably the best story I've read so far in the LHNB anthology - and it's maybe one of the best I've read full stop. Every damn sentence was perfect, the phrasing, the atmosphere, the story pacing. And if there was something non-perfect my unconscious obviously chose not to let me attend to it.

I'd have payed gladly for this story - actually the fact that I didn't while I've paid quite a bit of money for stories
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Wow. This was amazing, easily my favorite of the LHNBs stories so far. There was suspense, danger, love (which built over months), sweetness, etc. I loved the main guy even though I usually hate such characters. The author's understanding of what someone who's just woken up from a weeks long coma would go through, was spectacular. I just loved the whole thing. By the time I got to the end, I had to remind myself that I got this story free. As one of my friend's said, this was better than most of ...more
Jun 25, 2013 rated it really liked it

What a wonderful story. The story between Justin and Shawn develops so slowly, it is just perfect. The author was able to capture so much with these two characters even though Shawn couldn't speak, but that just made the journey so beautiful. There is so much more story to tell with them, especially Justin's background, that I really want more. I will reread this one again.
*** 4.25 Stars ***

This was a fabulous little freebie that was well written, well paced, had interesting characters, and a few sweet moments that made my heart go "awww". I look forward to reading more by this author.
4.5 stars: Looooved this! Great characters, great story, a bit of action and also very sweet. One of my favourite LHNB stories.
A free story from the M/M romance group's Love Has No Boundaries collection, this novella tells the story of Justin, an ex-killer for hire, who finds a barely alive Shawn in the woods behind his house. From the first moment, the connection between them is alive, and when it turns out that Shawn's partner has his hands in the brutal assault that left him in a coma, unable to walk and without his voice, Justin takes justice into his own hands, doing whatever he must to keep Shawn safe from further ...more
Jan 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 solid stars
*just a little bit more*
*just a little more little bit more*
*ahhh hell, who needs sleep*

This was me last night. I consumed this fascinating mysterious story in one setting and now I'm running on fumes.
*blindly reaches for full strength caffeine, wishing it was an espresso*
There are few things I am willing to sacrifice sleep for... 'J' and Shawn's intriguing story of was one of them.
Fabulous read.
check it out!

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Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She feels like Halloween should happen every month, which is why you get this picture of her, and hopes that you enjoy reading what she's put out there as much as she enjoyed w ...more