Rating: 4.5 stars
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Jesse has been working to make ends meet since he moved out of his parent’s home after they made clear he was not welcome if he was gay. So when his landlords manage to burn down his apartment and all his belongings, Jesse is truly without a place to go. He has only been in Seattle a short time and isn’t close enough with anyone to ask to be taken in. And the only way he can afford to put down a deposit on a new place would be to drop out of school and take a second job.
Firefighter Tomas finds himself drawn to Jesse in the aftermath of the fire, both with attraction and a desire to protect him. Unable to bear the idea of Jesse out on the street, Tomas offers to let Jesse stay with him for the night. And once he has him there, Tomas is surprised at how much he wants Jesse to stay for good.
Tomas accepts that he is gay, and even has had some quicky hookups with guys, but he is totally closeted, especially since he lives right next door to his parents. But right from the start, his attraction to Jesse is intense, and the guys are intimate almost immediately. But Tomas has his rules; he is fine getting a blow job from one of his hook ups, but he sees that kind of thing as way too demeaning for someone who is as important to him as Jesse. Despite how much he is coming to care for Jesse, Tomas still can’t get past the things he has always been taught, especially with his homophobic brother giving him a hard time.
Jesse has his own issues, needing to relearn how to trust in love after the abandonment by his parents. It is not always easy for him to accept his relationship with Tomas as something lasting, especially with Tomas still hiding from his family. The men must each take some risks and trust in the love they have for one another for things to truly work between them.
From the Ashes is the first of a new series from Daisy Harris and I must say it has me so excited for more. I really loved this one and appreciated that this longer work allowed for both a nicely developed story and interesting and layered characters. You do have to suspend your disbelief a bit that Tomas would invite this total stranger into his home, but once past that I really felt their relationship grow and develop. Of course, as always Harris gives us smoking heat between the guys, but you can also really feel their emotional development as well.
I appreciated that both Jesse and Tomas had some issues holding them back, but at the same time these guys aren’t saddled with so much baggage as to be unable to grow. We definitely see Jesse’s confidence and belief in himself develop as he finds he can make it on his own, and at the same time that he can rely on and trust Tomas. And Tomas learns to be comfortable with himself, to put aside his preconceived notions of what a man’s role should be, and to live for himself and not others’ expectations. There really isn’t a ton of conflict here, just a slow growth of both their relationship and each man individually. The book probably would have benefited from either a bit more tension or else some tightening up through the middle to give things a bit more intensity, but I found myself engaged throughout the story.
So I am really excited about this book and to see where the series goes. This one is sweet and sexy and romantic and I really liked it a lot. I would definitely recommend From the Ashes.
Cover Review: Wow this is gorgeous. Not just the sexy firefighter on the front, but also the use of color and lighting. Very nice.