Rating: 4.75 stars
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Firefighter Dirk Krause ended up in the hospital after rescuing an infant and almost losing his life in the process. With a bad attitude, Dirk spends his days in the hospital tormenting nurses and waiting for anyone to come visit him. He knows that he is not the most liked man at the firehouse, but he thought that as a brotherhood of firefighters his co-workers would at least come visit him.
Being the rookie on the team, Lee Stockton is sent to the hospital by the guys at the firehouse to deliver flowers to Dirk. Immediately, Lee sees through Dirk’s asshole façade and calls him out as being a “closet case.”
Dirk isn’t sure what to think of Lee. He knows he’s attracted to Lee but he also knows there’s nothing he can do about it. He was taught from an early age that being gay was not acceptable. Dirk has kept any urges he’s had secret by visiting a bar an hour away from town. But Dirk knows that he can never have any sort of relationship with a man so he does his best to hide that part of himself.
When Dirk is released from the hospital, Lee seems to be the only one who cares. At first, Dirk does everything he can think of to make Lee leave him alone. Having Lee around is hard on Dirk because of the attraction to him. After weeks of Lee hanging around, helping out with Dirk’s recovery, Dirk and Lee develop a friendship that only makes Dirk’s attraction stronger. When Lee comes over one afternoon and practically throws himself at Dirk, Dirk is faced with decisions about being gay and in the closet that he never wanted to face. A friendship turning to sex is one thing, but opening himself up for a possible relationship is more difficult that Dirk imagined it to be.
Andrew Grey’s Redemption by Fire is a walk through difficulties of coming out of the closet for a man who never considered doing so due to fears of his father and fellow firefighters finding out. Dirk has spent so much time keeping people at arm’s length so they don’t get to know who he really is that he has turned into an unhappy grouch. He has no friends to speak of, even at the firehouse, and his father finds a way to put him down every chance he gets. When Lee walks into his life, Dirk is a little afraid of him. Lee sees far too much when it comes to Dirk and he taunts Dirk with it. I love these two characters. The relationship they have in the beginning is definitely a love/hate relationship. Lee loves to tease Dirk and throw his sexuality in Dirk’s face, while Dirk definitely hates being around Lee because he has a hard time trying to show no interest. I don’t think that Dirk hates himself for being gay. He never really mentions that he wishes he wasn’t. But he has a fear of coming out because of the possible fallout that would follow. He is an obviously flawed character, which I always love. As an adult, he’s still somewhat under his father’s thumb and afraid to disappoint him. The anger and attitude are a front he uses so that no one gets close enough to see who he really is. In trying to keep his secret, Dirk remains miserable because he hides who he is on a daily basis. Lee is Dirk’s saving grace in this story. He accepts Dirk as he is and shows him that it is okay to be gay.
The story was written in third person of Dirk’s perspective. I loved both of the main characters so much that I feel the only thing that would have made this story any better would have been to get a take on Lee’s perspective as well. But it was a great story regardless.
The author kept the focus on the relationships in Dirk’s life – his relationship with Lee, his father, and even the men at the firehouse. He showed a gradual growth in Dirk’s character throughout the entire book. I like that Dirk wasn’t perfect. He made plenty of mistakes throughout the story but he learned from each of them. The storyline was very interesting and very exciting at times. Keeping in line with the ideal of a firefighter, there were action scenes that kept me glued to the book with my heart racing. There were also times with only Lee and Dirk that were sweet and frustrating all within one scene. It was a great read and I highly recommend Redemption by Fire by Andrew Grey.
Cover: I love this cover by Anne Cain. The two men on the cover match beautifully with the description of Dirk and Lee and the firelight background is great, too.