My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
What I love about Felice Stevens’ books is that her characters always feel like they could be someone you’d bump into on the street or in the pub or at work.
She embeds them deeply into their culture or their jobs with a deft hand so that when you’re reading, it’s like catching up with a bunch of people you’ve known about for years and now you’re just finding out more.
I also love that her MCs are often Jewish and proud of their heritage, even when they’re not practising or don’t have strong religious feelings, there are still little nuggets of that ethnicity which bring depth to the characters.
Here it’s Isaac (Gabriel from The Fall Guy’s BFF), a former child star and model who turned his back on that life after 9/11 to become a FDNY firefighter in Brooklyn and is now being sent out on an outreach program working with volunteer firefighters in rural areas.
On his first night in the quiet town he’s landed in, he has one of the hottest nights of his life and is disappointed that the guy didn’t leave his number before he left.
No worries though! He bumps into him at the regional firehouse when he goes to explain all about the outreach program.
Unfortunately Levi’s not out and he’s petrified of being discovered so what follows is a rollercoaster of a ride which covers a multitude of emotional dilemmas and which I thought was believable even if it did get a little bit wearying.
Not because I felt Levi should just come out, given the situation that would have been highly unlikely, but because I was impatient for them to get to discussing the feelings that it was pretty clear both had for the other, even if they were hiding them.
However, the way things develop did work very well for me, I liked the catalyst point that Felice used for there to be changes made and conversations had, there wasn’t any overly dramatic scene that felt forced.
I loved Levi’s extended family, his Aunt and Uncle and his brother’s girlfriend, we don’t see his parents because they’re arseholes, and his brother Jacob clearly loved him, even if couldn’t get his head around why Levi didn’t want to date any of the women he tried fixing him up with.
Isaac’s parents are fab though.
The way the happy ending is achieved also worked well for me, the pacing of the narrative was good, there were a few tension drivers that helped stop it being either too much sexy times or being too much Levi’s fretting, and I could really believe in their future together.
We get a very nice Epilogue too which helps to solidify the fact that the connection between Isaac and Levi wasn’t just based on their lustful first encounter but on the bedrock of support Levi found in Isaac and the knowledge Isaac had that Levi wasn’t out for his fame and connections.
I also loved the little guest appearance of Bryce and Matty from Influenced who are friends with Jacob and whose B&B is in the same part of the country.
#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review