Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Afterburn by E.Davies
Author: E. Davies
Purchase or read on Kindle Unlimited at Amazon
Cover Artist: Resplendent Media
Length: 60k Est
“This guy is boyfriend material.”
Santa Barbara firefighter Liam Knight is in hot water for showing up late after chasing yet another pretty guy into bed. It's just an accident—Liam's never let hookups get in the way of work before. He only agrees to therapy to keep the chief happy. When he bumps into a pretty guy working in the craft store below his apartment, Dylan seems like the perfect thing to relieve Liam's stress... until he catches Liam's interest and protective instinct, not just his eye.
“I'm not good enough for him.”
The only thing Dylan Waters needs less than the distraction of love is the alternative medicine his mother wants to foist him into. He's juggling part-time jobs at a therapy office and craft store while attending college to become an art therapist. Worse, he's about to transfer to a huge campus, but his childhood left him afraid of crowds. When hunky firefighter Liam blusters into his PTSD knitting support group, Dylan spots the familiar signs of a man hiding from his past, but he can't stop thinking about him.
“It was nothing. I thought I was over it.”
It's more than fleeting attraction between them, but Dylan's stubborn fear of help and Liam's low self-esteem are a deadly combination. When it all goes up in smoke, they only have themselves to blame. Can Liam get to Dylan in time to save him and the one relationship that could make him believe in love?
I enjoyed this opposites attract story—cute little twink Dylan who knits and freezes up in stressful situations with hunky fireman Liam, who sometimes thinks too much with his small head and not enough with his large one.
Except—are they so opposite? They’ve both got some issues going related to awful incidents in the past, and perhaps the biggest difference is how self-aware they are about how they’re coping. Because Liam’s trying hard not to think about some things that still bubble up to create havoc in his life. Dylan understands where his troubles originated, and is more than a little unhappy that understanding it doesn’t mean it all goes away.
The burn is slow, which is sweet—Liam isn’t one for a lot of small talk first, so getting to really know Dylan before dragging him off to bed is new for him, and hard to do well. He’s putting some effort into it, too. Overlap with the therapy his captain insists he have is a nice bonus, and it’s cute to watch him fight with the knitting needles which Dylan wields expertly.
They have a lot more to work through together and separately that it seems like at first blush, and when Liam pushes too hard on one of the sore spots, it’s enough to make Dylan run.
I liked the author’s style, but kept getting tripped up by assumptions that things work a certain way when it’s either unfamiliar and I just don’t know the details, or when it is familiar and it’s just a little off. Also, why is Dylan surprised by Liam being from Boston? Boston has an accent to give it away. So through the story there are little sprinkles of low level whut? that make it hard to stay immersed.
What started as a flirtation ends up going some really heavy places, and the guys really have to work for their HEA. The frequent thoughts of oh how cute disappear entirely at around the ¾ mark to go really serious, and the tone change was a little disconcerting. But I’m glad they got to their happiness. 4 marbles.