crocusRating: 4.75 stars
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Length: Novel

High School Principal “Larx” Larkin and Deputy Sherriff Aaron George never expected to find love again later in life, but the two men are happily living together with their blended family. It is kind of chaotic with five of them living in Larx’s small house, and there is always more going on than any one person can handle. But the men are a team and they are building something really good between them.

Unfortunately, their fragile hold on normalcy begins to break as one problem after another hits. Larx’s pregnant daughter, Olivia, shows up on his door having fled college and clearly suffering from depression. Both men are incredibly worried about her, especially since she is resisting getting help. Then Larx learns about danger facing one of his students at school and soon both Aaron and Larx are involved in both helping her, as well as another young student who gets caught up in the mix. Then Olivia’s boyfriend shows up and pretty soon the house is overflowing with people who need their care. And when Aaron is injured in the line of duty, Larx’s whole world is rocked. Not only is he terrified for Aaron, but he is forced to shoulder most of the chaos at home by himself.

Everything seems to be falling apart on the outside, but the love Larx and Aaron share is still strong. Now they will have to lean on one another to make it through the crisis and out the other side together.

Crocus is the follow up to the fabulous Bonfires by Amy Lane and reconnects us with Larx and Aaron and their blended family. I loved the title because it refers to those first fragile flowers that grow underground during the winter and make the surface just as spring appears. It is a perfect metaphor for this story as these men are struggling to hold on, to make it through the chaos, and as the story develops, we see them finally getting that break where things are getting better and they have gotten past the worst of it all.

What I loved best about this book is that while we see Aaron and Larx really and truly struggling, we never once doubt the love between them. The conflict is mostly external and these guys are definitely overwhelmed and the chaos puts a strain on their relationship (and their sex life). But they are working together and supporting each other and loving each other and, as a reader, I found it incredibly rewarding to see how they manage to get through these tough times together. You can’t help but love both of these guys, as they are kind and caring and generous. They can also be stubborn and snarky and Larx, in particular, sometimes has trouble watching his temper when people threaten those he loves. So I just adore them both and love seeing their mixture of biological and makeshift family that they build and protect so fiercely. This story is just so warm and rich and I found myself really engaged with these men and their trials and successes.

Crocus is definitely best read after Bonfires as it continues the story of their relationship, though you could probably follow along as a stand alone. But I really find these two books to be a wonderful set and this second story really continues the tone and the warmth that made the first book such a favorite of mine. I really loved it and can highly recommend both books.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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