Derek and his boyfriend, David, are on the subway headed to city hall to get their marriage license. Derek is in a daze and suddenly feels trapped. So, at the stop just before their destination, Derek looks at David, tells him he’s breaking up with him, and promptly gets off the train.
A short time later, Derek is in Tennessee, living with his Mom and Uncle Barry. He needed to get away from his life in NYC, and he figures home is where he needs to be. Derek meets up with his old friends, and with them, it’s like he never left. Circumstances arise, and Derek finds himself the new drama and speech teacher at his old high school. He’s very pleased…until he meets Luke, the school’s football/track coach. Turns out, Luke bullied Derek in high school, and even though Derek had a crush on him in school, he’s angry and resentful.
Luke has no idea he’s met Derek. He doesn’t remember him from school, and he certainly doesn’t remember being a bully toward him. When Derek finally confronts him, Luke is apologetic and wants to start over and become friends. Derek agrees, and soon, they’re spending time together and getting to know each other again.
Luke has a bit of a secret, and it’s revealed after he and Derek race each other around the pond in the park. Suffice to say, Derek is bowled over…in a very good way. Soon, Derek and Luke are a couple, but they’re on the down low. Luke isn’t sure if he’s willing to come out, or how he’ll do it if and when he does. This frustrates Derek to no end, even though he’s found himself completely in love with Luke.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will say that there is some angst within the pages of Home is a Fire. Angst really isn’t my thing, so I started to become a little uncomfortable. Of course, I knew that Derek and Luke would find their way back to each other, but their path was full of obstacles, and I was feeling the same anxiety they were feeling.
This book has some of the best background characters I’ve ever read. Derek’s mom is adorable. His friends are supportive and funny, and his Uncle Barry? As much as I want to tell you, I can’t, because you need to read it for yourself. He’s a refreshing surprise. They all play an important role in the story, and none of them are gratuitous. Each had their own personality without overtaking Derek and Luke. They were a pleasure to read.
Derek and Luke had a very nice chemistry. From the moment they set eyes on each other, until the end of the book, it was palpable. They had real issues to deal with, and it wasn’t always a picture perfect fantasy. Romance abounds, but I must mention that there are no sex scenes. Kissing and touching, yes, but all of the sex is simply implied. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but personally, I’d have liked to have “seen” some of their intimacy. Derek and Luke are very sexy men and reading about their coming together would have been sweet.
I’m going to say that I really enjoyed Home is a Fire. I wasn’t sure at first. For the first ten pages, I wasn’t feeling it. I’m so glad I kept going, though. It’s a romantic and charming look at the relationship between two men and the small town they grew up in. I can wholeheartedly recommend this one.