Alex Porter owns a very small bookshop in Cliffside, Maine. He loves the place, so when it burns down, he’s devastated. Alex’s mother is very influential in the city, and she insists the police bring an investigator into the case…NOW.
Matt Fields is that investigator and he’s royally pissed. He has several cases on his desk, but thanks to some rich lady, he finds himself in Cliffside looking into the cause of a fire in a bookstore.
Even though Matt is not happy to be in this small town, he does see a little bit of light. He finds himself attracted to Alex, and the good news is it looks like Alex is attracted to him as well. Eventually, Matt discovers the fire is arson, and he needs to figure out who has it out for Alex. Along with this, Matt and Alex give into their mutual attraction and begin an intense sexual relationship.
Can the men work their way past a killer arsonist, a mysterious motive, a controlling mother, and distance to make love work? Or will everything they’re building together burn down as well?
Out of the Ashes is a good book, and I enjoyed reading it very much. I love a good mystery with an MC in some sort of law enforcement, and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s an exciting read with two good characters, a few twists and turns, an interesting mystery, and some serious heat.
Both Matt and Alex are good guys. Yes, Matt’s a little grumpy, but he’s still likable, and Alex tugs at the heart. I think the author’s choice to write the story in the third person is the correct one. Being able to read what’s going on without bouncing back and forth in the character’s heads worked well.
Matt and Alex have insane chemistry! From the moment they meet, there’s a sexual tension between them and it is hot. The men begin their sexual relationship relatively early, but that’s alright. It didn’t feel like insta-love…not that there’s anything wrong with insta-love. The sex scenes, while plentiful, don’t get in the way of the story as a whole. The mystery remains front and center, and I credit M.J. James with coming up with a good balance between the two aspects.
There are several important background characters in Out of the Ashes. Alex’s mother plays a relatively significant role. She likes throwing her affluence and influence around…making people ask how high when she says jump. Others are also involved, but I don’t want to get too far into giving away the plot. They’re nicely written and fully fleshed out, but they never interfere with the MCs and the case.
Speaking of the case…it’s compelling and interesting. It’s easy to get caught up in what’s going on, because of Matt and, especially, Alex. Not only to find out the whodunit, but to give Alex some justice and closure.
The end of the story wraps up neatly. There are answers to the questions, and a solution to Matt and Alex’s distance issue. Out of the Ashes is a great way to spend an evening. It’s a winner.