Title: Fire Inside
Author: Dawn Douglas
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 114 Pages
Rating: 3 Stars
Blurb: After ten years as an active duty Marine, Captain Eric Ramos is rejoining civilian life. His first job is chauffeuring, assisting, and generally keeping track of NBA young gun Tyler Haley. Tyler’s had a rough few months, and his team owner is convinced he needs some hand-holding if he’s going to keep delivering wins for the St. Louis Fire Foxes.
Instead of the arrogant, over-privileged athlete Eric expected, Tyler is a big, blond, lonely twenty-three-year-old who needs more than just an employee to keep him in line. While taking care of Tyler, Eric changes from employee to friend, to something more. And when Eric realizes that something is burning the kid up from the inside out, he’s determined to find a way to help him before Tyler’s carefully constructed façade turns to ash.
Review: After being drafted to the NBA right out of high school, Tyler Haley has had to learn some very hard lessons. Since he was betrayed by almost every single member of his entourage, his manager has decided to make some changes. After completing one of the strangest interviews in the world, Eric Ramos finds himself the newly appointed bodyguard/chauffeur for Tyler Haley. As a former Marine, he knows he can protect Tyler but what he didn’t know was how he was going to protect himself once he laid eyes on his new employer.
Tyler seems to be starved for attention. The smallest things Eric does for him, like cooking, mean so very much to the young man. Eric soon finds himself feeling more than camaraderie for Tyler and he could swear he sees the same in Tyler’s face. When Eric has to rescue Tyler from a traumatic situation he realizes he is going to have to stick close to Tyler, and that is both a curse and a blessing. When the team suffers their first loss after a long winning streak, Tyler does a complete one eighty and Eric is left floundering, not knowing what he can do for Tyler. When they sit down and Eric convinces Tyler to share his story with him, what he finds out shocks him to the core. It seems past traumas have shaped Tyler into what he is today and Eric does the only thing he can think of to help Tyler overcome his past.
And this is where the author lost me. The book was a solid 4-4.5 star read right up until the ending. Now, I don’t mind a HFN ending instead of a HEA, but I felt like this book just came to a screeching halt right out of nowhere. I wish the author would have given us just one more chapter, or even just an epilogue. I felt like Tyler and Eric were cheated out of a great ending just like I was. I would love to see the author revisit these two men in the future.
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