“Cleansing Flame” by Andrew Grey contains a pair of lovely stories told in tandem, starting with a grad student, Dayne Mills, who has been through his share of trauma, and a firefighter, Lawson Martin, who offers to help him after Dayne’s life implodes one more time. Their exploration of the journals left behind by one of the Native American students who were forced to attend an Industrial School reveals surprising information about two youths who follow their hearts, and encourages them to do the same.
This m/m adult contemporary romance is the second book in the ‘Rekindled Flame’ series. At first I was afraid this was going to mirror the first story in the series since the way the main characters met was so similar, but things diverged quickly after that. One can’t help but sympathize with Dayne, who has had to overcome such tragedy and is still facing challenges. The unlikely pairing of an adrenaline junkie and a man who has to move carefully and deliberately through life is balanced by their connection and an attraction that burns hot enough to overcome insecurities and remind them to value what they have found in each other. The poignant look at the forced assimilation that plagued the Native Americans as well as the blossoming of a relationship between two of the boys in the school is depicted beautifully. There were great interludes featuring the cat, Tati, who is the self-proclaimed arbiter of taste, lol. This book contains cameos of characters from the first book in the series but it can be read as a stand-alone story without any trouble. As I have come to expect from this prolific author, there is a nice blend of spice, romance, and excitement that combine to provide another enjoyable tale.
Sequel to Rekindled Flame
Life has been grinding Dayne Mills down almost for as long as he can remember. First he lost the love of his life in an accident that also left him with a permanent injury, and then his mother passed away a year later. When his house burns to the ground, it’s the last straw. He can’t take any more, and if it wasn’t for kind and handsome firefighter Lawson Martin offering him a hand up and a place to stay, he doesn’t know what he’d do. Dayne would love for his relationship with Lawson to evolve into something beyond charity, but he knows going after a man so far out of his league will only lead to yet more heartache. It’s best to just keep his mind on his research.
It’s that research that leads Dayne to an old student journal that not only provides clues to the Native American heritage Lawson has been searching for, but chronicles a century-old love story. The tale that unfolds might be just what Dayne and Lawson need to remind them that no matter how dark life becomes, love can find a way to shine through.