Dirk is a big ole jerk. Nobody likes him at the firehouse and his dad thinks he’s stupid for throwing away a career in finance to be a fireman. He d..Show More »oesn’t really have any friends, and has never had any sort of romantic relationship. It turns out he has to sneak away to back alleys and bar bathrooms to get some lovin’, because he’s gay, and in addition to hating his career, dear old dad is a big homophobe. Lee is the new guy who saves Dirk in a fire when Dirk rescues a baby at his own risk. Lee gives Dirk the benefit of the doubt, and when Dirk shows signs of batting for the same team as Lee, he pushes Dirk to admit his attraction. Dirk isn’t going to change his spots so easy and is pretty much a jerk to Lee for weeks and weeks until finally Lee gives up and leaves Dirk to his own devices. Life is lonely for Dirk and he does some soul searching and groveling and he and Lee begin a relationship. It’s not all candy and roses from there. Dirk still has quite a lot of growing to do, but the two work through their problems and when another disaster puts Lee in the line of danger, Dirk finally figures out exactly how much Lee means to him. This first book in the By Fire series sets the ground-work for the relationship between the two lovers. Lee shows infinite patience and helps Dirk to become more worthy of his love. I really like Lee as a character – he never backs down or lets Dirk walk all over him, but he’s sweet and genuinely caring and a really good guy, just what Dirk needs. The sexual tension is pretty hot and the ending is very satisfying, even though there are two more books to follow. I really liked this book (and the series) and I give it 4 stars.
Audio book: I was excited to see Peter B. Brooke as the narrator, he had done a really nice job with the Dark Horse series by Kate Sherwood, and I figured he’d do a great job here, too. He did not disappoint. His gruff imitation of Dirk’s gravelly voice is great and his vaguely mid-western accent for the chief is a nice touch. The story takes place in Pennsylvania and I don’t know where Peter is from, but he sounds like people who grew up in the area. That added a nice layer of realism to the narration. His narration is just enough “acting” and “background” that it made for a really nice listening experience.
Dirk and Lee are now an out couple at work and though awkward, they are definitely getting more comfortable in that area. This book is more about sav..Show More »ing the firehouse than anything else. The biggest personal issue is handling their first major disagreement. Dirk is against Lee’s idea and the two sort-of have a face-off about it. They still have lots of lovely physical enjoyment and it is interesting to see them work through their first “couples” fight. It was also really nice to see the boys in the firehouse rally together and show support for both Lee and the team. When Dirk does finally see the light, he ends up helping Lee and being super sweet about it. Dirk is still battling with his father but we can start to see there might be light at the end of the tunnel for the their relationship. I really liked this book (and the series) and I give it 4 stars.
Audio book: Nothing more to say here – Peter did another great job, I even liked his female characters.
In this, book 3 of the fire series (and the end of Dirk and Lee’s portion), Lee and Dirk are quite happily together. They leave a rough fire scene, w..Show More »here not everyone makes it, and go on their regularly scheduled vacation, a Caribbean Cruise. Who should end up on the cruise but Daddy Dearest, Dirk’s father. Most of the book is fun vacation activities and state-room fun, but there are some important father/son scenes and some personal growth on the part of Dirk’s father. I liked how Dirk’s comfort with being gay and out grew steadily over the series and how Lee doesn’t let Dirk get away with anything. Lee tells it like it is and that is really refreshing. This was a sweet ending, kind of an epilogue to the epilogue, if you will. But a nice touch, having us see Dirk and his father reconcile. I liked this series a lot. It was fun, light, engaging. We learned a bit about fires, firehouses, and cruise ships. All in all I recommend the book and the series. Book I really liked this book (and the series) and I give it 4 stars.
Audio book: Peter B. Brooke does another really solid job. His Dirk voice is great and I really appreciated the sultry lilt he gives Lee when the bedroom scenes are narrated. I enjoyed this series with Peter as narrator and would look for his work in the future. I really liked this narration and give it 4 stars. Overall both audio and book: 4 stars
This is part of a series but can absolutely be read as a standalone.
Justin is a young police officer who has a hard time picking up guys bec..Show More »ause he gets a dry mouth and freezes up. When he ends up helping EMT Rock to rescue a bus load of kids, he finally finds someone who helps him to crack through his “shyness” and lets him be himself.
But… their road isn’t easy. It takes several “exposures” to Rock before Justin can talk and they keep running into dangerous situations! On top of that Justin’s mom is absolutely evil and tries to keep them apart. Eventually, Justin (who’s a virgin!) and Rock find their HEA and Justin finds a way to tell his mother off, too!
I am a fan of Andrew Grey and most of the time the way he writes, the characters he creates and the “feels” he elicits hit the mark for me. In this case, there were a few elements missing to really grab me and pull me into the story.
I think the short length forced the story to move at a pace that was more “telling” and less “showing”. Justin’s shyness problem is really over developed and we’re told that it’s a big problem but we’re not really shown that very well.
We are also told that Rock is interested in Justin and he definitely butts into his life very quickly, but we aren’t shown why he’s interested. When Rock confronts Justin it seemed too intuitive for the amount of time the MCs had spent together. It also felt too soon when Rock confronts Justin’s mother, for the same reasons.
I thought the number of “dangerous situations” these guys were in diminished the time they could have been building their relationship, and sometimes I wondered at their motivation. For example, when in the diner, only Justin goes investigating while the clearly-more-dominant Rock sits quietly and waits.
When the MCs do begin to explore their relationship it went from zero to sixty (I can’t talk to you to ILY) again with minimal build up. I also thought the mother’s “intervention” was a bit OTT and unbelievable given the rest of story.
So, by the end, while I was really happy for the HEA and pleased that Justin’s mom got told off, I didn’t feel the “feels” I usually do when I finish a good Andrew Grey book.
Paul Morey does his always-reliable job of giving Rock a nice deep “alpha” voice and Justin a nice, but not-too-twinkish voice. He definitely enhanced the story with his ability to relate emotion and I always enjoy his work. However, listening to this made the parts of the story that made me cringe feel even more highlighted and it is for this reason that – I think – I was more critical of the story in audio format than I had been when I originally read it.
Overall, it’s a nice, short story with a very HEA and a solid narration.