This poignant story contrasts the plight of two different men who have vastly different interactions with their respective mothers and who are at different stages of dealing with their sexuality. The intense pressure on Nicky eventually has to find an outlet and it is heart wrenching to accompany him on his journey as he searches for self-acceptance. There are nice cameos of other characters introduced in this series and intriguing glimpses of quirky characters such as Michael’s mom but I had difficulty establishing a connection to either of the main characters and their relationship progressed in a very erratic fashion to me. Sadly, I think this probably is an accurate representation of the progression of a relationship that is circumscribed by so many potentially negative factors but this story just didn't resonate with me as much as the prior two did.
“Nothing but Smoke” by Daisy Harris is Book 3 of the ‘Fire and Rain’ m/m erotic romance series that centers around a group of firefighters who are facing personal challenges. Nicky O’Brian is barely coping with the heartache of his mother’s serious illness and his occasional forays into brief intimate encounters with random strangers are less than fulfilling. Michael Larson is unwilling to get into another bad relationship and getting involved with the closeted Nicky seems to be the epitome of a undesirable goal but somehow they can't manage to fight the attraction they have to one another. Each man has to decide what he is willing to accept and whether to fight for what they have found with each other or to bow to the expectations of others.
Sometimes good boys do bad things.
Michael Larson considers himself one of the good guys. He recycles, eats mostly vegan, and volunteers. But one night, while on a jog through a Seattle park, he encounters a sexy man on a motorcycle he wants to be bad with.
Firefighter Nicky O’Brian barely has time to even think about a sex life. Between his job and caring for his critically ill mother, his only pleasures involve a few racy videos and occasional nighttime forays to find men willing to help him forget his troubles.
It was supposed to be a one-time, anonymous hookup—until fate intervenes and their mutual attraction blossoms into a furtive affair. Michael doesn’t date closeted guys, but for the haunted, lonely Nicky he makes an exception.
When Nicky’s mother takes a turn for the worse, Michael is forced to make a choice between idealism and compassion. And as Nicky’s needs spiral out of control, Michael realizes that a new set of ideals could be exactly what he needs to keep love in his life—for good.
Warning: Contains sex in the trees, sex in parked cars, and sex in other uncomfortable places. Tissues are required, because the ending will make you cry—and maybe make you want to call your Mom.