Rating: 4.5 stars
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Seth Walker and Otto Wilde were best friends and then lovers and they planned to be together forever. That is until Seth’s family moved them out of Hobie, Texas, devastating both boys. Otto and Seth intended to reconnect after their high school graduation, but a family crisis turned into a secret that came between them. Seth walked away from Otto, even though it crushed him and Otto as well.
Now it is ten years later and Seth has returned to Hobie to become the town sheriff. Much to his surprise, Otto has just returned home as well, leaving the military and taking a job as a firefighter. Both men had always hoped they might make it back to one another and are eager to reconnect. But the secret from Seth’s past still has the ability to keep the men apart.
Even when they are able to work though that problem, it is not all smooth sailing. Otto and Seth want nothing more than to finally be together for good. But when an arsonist strikes around Hobie, the men’s hopes for the future may be derailed once again.
Wilde Fire is the third book in Lucy Lennox’s Forever Wilde series, following the large and boisterous Wilde family of Hobie, Texas. The books stand alone as individual stories, though the family members appear in each other’s books, particularly their grandfathers. While you could read this one without the others, personally I enjoy following along with the various side characters from one book to another. As an FYI, this story also takes place chronologically around the same time as Felix and the Prince in terms of the series timeline.
What I think Lennox does incredibly well here is build the connection between Otto and Seth. From the minute they are on page together, they just crackle with intensity and I never had any doubt about the love they feel for one another even after all these years. They have some issues to work through from the past, but it is clear that these men are meant to be together and will sort things out. They are sweet and mushy and romantic, both tough guys who have no trouble showing their feelings for one another. Given that they face so much external drama, I appreciated that the connection between Otto and Seth is solid from the start and the love they have is just palpable.
I also liked the structure of the story, with the chapters alternating POV between the men. Each one opens with a letter they have written each other, beginning from the time they are separated, right up until just before they reunite (though the ones after Seth breaks things off were never sent). It is a nice way to both work in the backstory about what was going on with each man, as well as to show the emotions each one was going through during different times. These letters tie in nicely with the larger story and really serve to round the book out well.
My only hurdle here is that the two main conflicts both center around these guys being so selfless and noble as to be almost absurd. Without giving away too much detail, both men are willing to totally derail their lives to help others. Seth’s selfless act leads to his breakup with Otto. I get why he may have felt the need to take this action, but he not only chooses someone else’s needs over his own, but also over Otto’s needs, crushing his boyfriend and potentially destroying their future together. I am not clear why protecting one person but destroying another, not to mention Seth’s own life, makes any sense. And now in present day, Otto makes a sacrifice of his own, one that is designed to protect someone (though honestly, I don’t really think he is helping in the way he intends), but would have a profoundly devastating effect on his own life. Maybe I am not selfless enough, but I just hard a hard time with how almost absurdly self sacrificing these guys are. It just felt over the top, I guess.
But honestly, if the worst thing you can complain about in a book is that the heroes are too heroic, that isn’t too bad. Because other than that, I really did love this one. Despite the conflict, it is a super sweet and mushy story with a lot of heat. So if you are looking for warm and satisfying with two guys you are going to want to root for (plus hot men in uniform), definitely check out Wilde Fire.