A badly-scarred fireman, forced to leave the service because of injury? How could I resist?
5 silken sheets
Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.
A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple.
Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.
John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters.
It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke.
Product Warnings Contains two hot men wrestling with a shift in their sexuality, as well as a few positions probably listed in the Gay Kama Sutra. But it’s not all about the hot and sweaty—especially when your previously straight life knocks on the door and comes back to visit.
I was sucked in right away. Firemen, to me, are up there with fighter pilots and special forces soldiers for heroic perfection. And this particular one has a delicious story.
Ryan’s life is in pieces, but he’s trying to adapt, to make the best of it, and to find a new path to follow. Going to Med School is the first step, but falling in love with John is the second. Since Ryan thought of himself as straight, this comes as something of a surprise.
“I don’t want to fight you,” John said. His vision had somehow tunneled in to those green eyes. Like nothing else in the world existed. Ryan was just looking back at him, not moving. Slowly John leaned forward and kissed the man.
It was meant to be just a touch of lips on lips. Hell, it wasn’t meant to be at all. He didn’t think. But his mouth found Ryan’s, and it was like fire rushing through him. And they swayed together, arms around each other, lips and tongues and warm, living breath. And then Ryan broke free and was across the room.
Since John was also straight – and had a couple of kids from a failed marriage – it was a shock to both of them. They’d become close friends, when Ryan moved in, and it’s now hard to go back to that easy friendship.
He missed the easy way they had been together before…before he kissed me. Except that was unfair, because even if John had made the first move, Ryan could still feel the slip of the man’s silky hair in his fingers, the press of his hard body against Ryan’s. And the way Ryan had responded. The way he’d kissed John back.
Ryan realizes that everything has changed.
It was like someone turned the amplifier on his life up a notch.
When they finally gave in to the growing feelings between them, it was beautifully handled.
When Ryan had thought about this, which he had done too many fucking times, he had imagined being seduced. He’d figured John would decide enough was enough and make some move. And then Ryan…just wouldn’t fight it. But it was him moving in, sliding his hands up John’s arms. It was his eyes that sought and held those golden-hazel ones, looking for some kind of sign. It was his mouth that leaned forward, upward, seeking John’s wide mobile lips.
And then it was just heat. Different from what he remembered. Better, because there was less surprise, less holding back. Kissing a man was not the same as kissing a woman, but it wasn’t that different either. He tilted his head, changed the angle to make it hotter, deeper. And now finally, finally, John’s arms came around him and he was held in an unbreakable grip.
I loved the slow burn in this story, the gradual awakening of the two men, and the mutual decision to try and take it further. And then, when they’re just settling into their new way of living, John’s teenage son turns up, unexpectedly.
John appeared in the doorway and did a visible double take. “Mark?” But an instant later he strode forward and pulled his son up into a hug. “It’s good to see you. You’ve grown since the last time you were here.” Only after a minute did he pause and set the boy back to look at him. “Why are you here?”
Mark squared his shoulders and looked his father in the face. “Can I stay with you?”
“Right now?” John asked slowly, “Or forever?”
Mark flushed and looked down.
“I think we need to talk,” John said.
There’s a mystery story woven through this too, with bodies turning up on campus and suspicion cast in all directions. It’s a further complication for John and Ryan as they try to adapt to Mark now living with them, and changing all the rules again. Ryan has to grow into a second-parent – something he does admirably.
“This year sucks, you know?” Mark paced angrily. “I keep thinking it can’t get worse, and then it does. Now I get to choose between Mr. Brandon you-can-never-quite-measure-up Carlisle, and a pair of fags. I feel like maybe I should just drive off a cliff. Except I can’t even fucking drive yet.”
Ryan nodded. “It’s hard when everything changes.” He paused. “You have to look at it like a rebuilding year. Like when a team loses all its good players, and you have to start from scratch and make something out of it. It does suck.”
I have to mention the scenery too. This book is set in an icy, snow-filled winter, and Kaje Harper vividly brings this to life with her intimate descriptions. I swear I reached for a blanket to snuggle into while I read this, it felt so realistic.
5 silken sheets
5 sexy lips
Plot – great
Characters – fabulous!
Warnings – none; reach for a blanket and a mug of cocoa. You won’t want to put this down 🙂
Genre: Contemporary M/M erotic romance
Published: March 2012; $4.99
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