When Bran realizes that the guy he has been secretly crushing over will never be a reality, he makes what he hopes won’t be a big mistake by having a hurried but intense hookup with a fellow Shindig neighbor, Keenan Pratt. While Bran has been secretly lusting over Joel, Keenan has been doing the same over Bran and their hookup impacts him in a big way—perhaps this could be the chance he has been waiting for to finally date Bran and see if they could make a go of being more than just friends. The attraction is mutual and the two begin to spend more and more time together. Then tragedy strikes and one of the triplets lands in the hospital in serious condition and Keenan shuts Bran out—leaving Bran questioning if he ever really meant anything to Keenan other than a convenient bed partner.
When Joel and Isaiah finally admit their love to each other, poor Bran realizes his chance at dating Joel is gone. Disappointed and a bit depressed, he hooks up with Keenan–one of the Pratt triplets who run another food truck at the Shindig site. From there it’s a bumpy road while these guys learn to trust and get to know each other. For Bran, being raised in the foster system means he is used to depending only on himself so letting Keenan in under his protective independent walls is a big thing. For Keenan, balancing his love and loyalty to his brothers, who he has always taken care of and always been strong for, means that he must learn to lean on another person if he is truly going to let the guy into his world and heart. When a horrific accident occurs, Keenan’s automatic response is to circle the wagons and be strong—leaving Bran on the outside wanting to help, but being told he’s not needed. It looks like the end for Bran and Keenan, but some well-placed advice pushes Bran to try harder to break down Keenan’s walls.
I enjoyed the way in which the author took two very self-reliant men and forced them to analyze just how much they had shut out the world and potential for relationships by being so bent on never relying on others to help them. I really understood Keenan’s attitude considering what I learned about his brothers—one of whom in particular needed his support as life-changing events happened within their family unit. When we finally get a glimpse of the brothers’ parents, it becomes even more apparent as to why Keenan is so protective of his siblings.
This story tracked really well when conflict arose between Keenan and Bran and their fledging relationship. The author had set up the emotional chemistry between both men so effectively that it made complete sense for both to pull back when emotions ran high and life around them became crazy intense. I think the only complaint I have with this story is much the same as the first: these are short, barely more than novella length, and so getting to know the character and their backstory feels rushed, as does the final declaration of love.
I really wouldn’t categorize these as insta-love tropes, but they come very close. I just wish that the stories were a bit more developed and more time had been spent laying foundational groundwork with more information given on the characters’ past lives and experiences that made them the men they are today. I think that if that had been the case, then we could better understand why they fell for each other so quickly because we would know where they have been and what had influenced their attraction to each other. However, the overall story is well done and once again the community surrounding these two play a big role in the novel, easily setting up the next in the series.
Burning for You is yet another easy read by an author who knows how to deliver an emotionally charged story with ease. I think if you enjoyed the first in this series, you will not be disappointed in this next installment. I look forward to the next book and secretly hope we get to see Samir and learn his story.