When Blaze was a teen, he was kicked out by his ultra-religious parents for being gay. That was after they sent him to conversion therapy twice and the scars of the conversion camp and of living on the streets still run deep. Blaze did what he needed to do to survive and then found himself addicted to heroin and alcohol. Blaze has been sober for two years and has made strides in turning his life around and the biggest part of that is the family he has made at the bar where he works.
Life still gets in the way for Blaze at every turn and he once again finds himself a victim as he is assaulted leaving a gay bar. One moment before Blaze would have been permanently injured, he is rescued by Galen, a gorgeous man who seems worlds apart from Blaze. Galen is a wealthy lawyer and Blaze has no idea why he would stop to help him, but the connection is instant.
Galen has never been with a man before. He hasn’t really even thought about it. His dates with women were more for convenience and Galen hasn’t ever been in a real relationship either. He tries to forget Blaze, but the image of him won’t leave Galen and he seeks him out again and again. The more time the men spend together, the more they realize they could have something special, but Galen is used to being closed off emotionally and Blaze thinks he’ll never be good enough for Galen’s world. Both men will have to come to terms with going after and holding onto the one man that is perfect for him.
This book was a pleasant and welcome surprise. The author is new to me as this is her first m/m book, but she has written m/f books under the name Mandie Mills. The book is told in alternating first person point of view and the style helps to really get into the mindset of both characters.
Both Blaze and Galen were guys I was interested in reading about and together they had great chemistry. Blaze has had a rough life after being kicked out by his parents and then living on the streets. He’s fairly stable now and he has a job, a small apartment, and a family of friends at work. His past still carries over as it affects his day to day life and it seems that he really can’t get a break. Although he had to be attacked in order to meet Galen, the man becomes the one good thing that Blaze has to look forward to.
Galen is a wealthy lawyer and while he’s successful professionally, his family is not all he wanted it to be either. He’s looked at as the black sheep of his family for a number of reasons and they don’t really include him in a lot of things. Galen and Blaze just seem to get each other from their first meeting despite the circumstances. Galen starts noticing things about Blaze’s appearance right away. He second guesses himself at first, but then ultimately can’t stay away. Galen doesn’t have much trouble taking their relationship to a physical level and when he pushes Blaze away, it’s because he can’t get out of his own head. But these guys actually talk to each other and get to know each other when they are not ripping each others clothes off…literally.
There is a lot of sex in this book. Almost every chapter as the book moves along has the men exploring each other. Galen experiences lots of firsts with Blaze and both men experience true intimacy for the first time. But the sex didn’t take over for me and they connect through it and the story still moves forward while bringing the heat. The characters remain well developed and their back stories are thorough. While Blaze has a traumatic past, the details went just deep enough without being too much.
This story just worked for me. It is also the start of a new series that will focus on the employees of the bar that Blaze works at and the excerpt in the back of the book already highlighted a cameo from Blaze. I would absolutely recommend this book. Blaze’s past has a darker edge so keep that in mind, but the relationship and chemistry between the men made this an effortless read.
Note: The story has some references to past sexual assault of a minor