David Waterman has finally found a tenured university job and, after a terrible break up five years before, he wants nothing more than to live quietly and focus on academia. He never expects to find someone wonderful living right next door. When fireman Zach Ford quite literally rescues David’s cat from a tree, the shy, plump professor discovers his neighbor could be the nicest, hottest man on the planet. But David has been too badly burned to consider dating again, no matter that Zach is definitely interested. It will take a nosy neighbor, a fundraising auction, and a little bit of luck to convince David that sometimes taking a risk brings great reward.
Where There’s Smoke is another from the 2015 Dreamspinner Press’ Daily Dose collection and I absolutely adored it. It is a sweet, well-rounded story of two shy men who finally find love and who do so without over the top spectacle or the huge misunderstanding of so many books. They come together naturally and slowly and with a sweetness that is poignant rather than saccharine. The story is well written and moves swiftly, but with an even, easy pace that reads smoothly. This was very much a compact “novel” in novella form and the author does an excellent job of wrapping up the narrative without sacrificing the plot.
David is a thirty-six year old professor of medieval studies, who closed his heart off to love after his last relationship ended disastrously. He is determined to be his own man, dependent upon no one. He is not bitter or angry, but rather resigned and believes himself to be far from anyone’s idea of a catch. David seems sad, but never pitiful or ridiculous. He is a character that generates empathy without coming off as pathetic. He has a real love of academic life and his passion for history is part of him, without dominating every aspect of his personality. I want to thank the author for not portraying David as a dry, dusty historian – as a history major myself, I know exactly how passionate this group of professionals can be about the subject and they are far from a dull bunch! David is wooed by Zach and his conflicted feelings about beginning a new romance read as realistic and it makes his decision to finally take a chance all the more enjoyable.
Zach is a 20-year veteran fire fighter, but has only come out in the last few years. As a result he is awkward and uncertain of how he might go about demonstrating his affection for David. He is caring and kind, but never seems larger than life. Instead, he is a relatable character, who has finally found someone who makes a relationship seem possible. He never pushes or demands from David and I loved the fact that he was just as shy and unsure about himself, albeit for different reasons.
There is no great action or soap opera like drama in Where There’s Smoke. Instead there is the realistic coming together of two middle-aged men who finally acknowledge they deserve a chance at happiness. I highly recommend this one!
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.