This m/m contemporary erotic romance continues to give tangential glimpses of those who serve by working as firemen or policemen. The history that the two main characters share is troubling and obviously has left its mark on each man, despite protestations to the contrary, but their current relationship is uncomfortable for me. I wasn’t thrilled by the way Rick treats Stan, however justified he may feel, and I was disappointed that Stan, despite his training, allows himself to be treated poorly. The romance develops awkwardly to me, and seemed a little forced. I usually enjoy this series and I was happy to get glimpses of some of those who had been showcased in previous stories but this one didn’t resonate with me as much as some of the prior titles.
“Ghost in the Flames” by Daisy Harris is part of the ‘Fire and Rain’ series, focusing on Rick Turner, a man who has overcome the trauma of his past, at least physically. Things are heading to a crisis and the last thing he wants is to be faced with the man who shared the horrific experience that was life-changing for him. Stanley Gabe has always regretted his actions on that day but he thinks he has gotten past it—until he runs into Rick again and realizes that nothing has been resolved, for either of them.
Invisible scars can be the hardest to heal.
Fire and Rain, Book 5
Seventeen years ago, firefighter Rick Turner kissed a boy, and he liked it—then he paid a horrible price. Now he spends his days running from who he is and what he wants, his nights hooking up with a man who doesn’t fill the aching hole in his soul.
Until one night, newly dumped, he gets into a fistfight and is picked up by a cop-and-counselor team…and the counselor is none other than the guy who gave him that fateful first kiss.
Stan Gable relishes serving people who actually want his help. When he encounters grown-up Rick—and oh my, how he’s grown—Stan’s first instinct is to step in and use his counseling skills to ease Rick out of his fears and out of the closet.
But Rick’s prickly temper and lack of self-acceptance make him his own worst enemy. Before Stan can help Rick overcome those obstacles, he’ll have to take a look deep inside…and heal his own guilt before he can heal the man he still loves.
Warning: Contains a blustering, angry, and very closeted firefighter, and a counselor who doesn’t know how to mind his own business. Flashbacks of a gay bashing could be upsetting to some readers.