Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars
Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Length: 8 hours, 32 minutes
High school principal Larx and Deputy Sheriff Aaron never thought that love would find them again, but it did. They have managed to blend their families together and it has gone better than expected with a house full of teenagers. But chaos finds them easily and their carefully constructed house can easily topple over at any moment.
Larx’s pregnant daughter returns home without warning, two students are in danger with both Larx and Aaron stepping in to help, and being in law enforcement can always bring danger. Larx wants to save everybody, but when they are all overwhelmed and stressed to the limit, time for Larx and Aaron’s relationship keeps getting further down the to-do list. Larx and Aaron know they want to be together more than anything, but life keeps getting in the way.
I enjoyed Bonfires, the first book in this series that introduced Larx and Aaron. There were a few loose threads left open in that book and it was good to see more of the storyline and certainly more of Larx and Aaron as the men here make this series for me.
Larx and Aaron have managed to merge their lives and that life is incredibly hectic. With work and kids, both Aaron’s and Larx’s, both men can be overwhelmed on any given day and they mostly take it in stride, until there is just one too many issues to handle and places to be.
It is remarkable that the men have been able to blend their families so seamlessly together. For the most part, all of the teens get along well, even as Larx continues to open his home to students in need. It was a little much for me to think that all of the kids are fine with all of the changes so quickly and so many people living under one roof with Larx continually opening his home to more kids. Only Aaron’s oldest daughter is somewhat estranged, and her story is not complete.
The book focuses on the lives of the men, but there are several storylines running alongside. There is Larx’s pregnant daughter, Olivia, who returns home and is having issues with depression. I would have liked the diagnosis to have come a little earlier in the story for me because when we first meet Olivia, she comes off as an entitled, spoiled brat and it then took some adjustment to warm to her. There are also storylines involving other troubled students and Aaron’s law enforcement job.
The love the men have for each other is strong and they are both strong characters and I enjoyed seeing how their story played out as they try to find time for each other amongst the chaos. Their need to be together is never in doubt and their support for each other is heartwarming to read.
Nick J. Russo narrated this one, as he did Bonfires, and this series is my favorite performance from him. All of the characters are so well voiced, and his performance elevated the appeal of this book for me. Russo’s performance here covers adult and kids, both male and female, and the narration never wavers. The characters flow perfectly into each other and any intended emotion is conveyed with finesse. It is always clear who is speaking, the characters are more vivid due to his skill, and this was a pleasure to listen to. I would definitely recommend the audio versions for this series.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.