Title: After The Fire
Author: Felice Stevens
Publisher: Loose Id
Pages/Word Count: 253 Pages
At a Glance: I highly recommend this for anyone who loves their men a little bit broken but utterly redeemable.
Reviewed By: Chris
Blurb: A single bullet destroyed the dreams of Dr. Jordan Peterson. With his lover dead, Jordan descends into an endless spiral of self-destruction that nearly costs him his friends, his career and his life. When Jordan finds himself working closely with the aloof Lucas Conover, the investment banker’s mysterious past and unexpected kindness shocks him back into a life and emotions he’d thought lost forever.
The betrayal by the foster brother he’d worshiped, taught Lucas Conover never to trust or believe in anyone. Living a solitary life couldn’t free him of the nightmare of his former life; it reinforced his belief that he would never fall in love. When the death of one of his clients forces him to work closely with Dr. Jordan Peterson, he meets a person whose suffering exceeds his own. Though Jordan rejects his effort to help, something within Luke pushes him discover more about the first man to ever get under his skin.
As Luke lets down his guard and Jordan lets go of his pain, desire takes control. Each man must come to terms with past struggles if they are to create a future together. And learning to trust in themselves and love again after tragedy and a lifetime of pain, may be the only thing that saves them in the end.
Review: How would you handle losing the love of your life? That’s what Jordan is dealing with as we start After the Fire. This book picks up almost 9 months after A Walk Through Fire ends, and Jordan is still deep in the grieving process after having lost his partner Keith. He’s not really coping or allowing himself to heal; instead, he’s drowning his feelings in Xanax and alcohol. He doesn’t eat, he barely sleeps, and he’s pretty much cut his friends out of his life.
When Jordan’s partner Keith died, he left control of his finances to Jordan. This includes a youth center focusing on getting kids help and getting guns and violence out of their area. Because Jordan has checked out on life, the financial adviser to the foundation, Lucas Conover, threatens Jordan that he’ll have him removed as president of the board, as he’s not stepped up to help. This lights a fire under Jordan. Even if it doesn’t really change things, it gets him angry and determined to prove Lucas wrong. Lucas doesn’t believe Jordan will step up to help because he sees the alcohol controlling Jordan.
Jordan and Luke are both broken, in different ways, maybe, but both still suffer from things that have happened to them. Luke deals with a hellacious childhood and memories best left hidden. Along with what he believes to be the abandonment of his beloved older brother, Asher, who is Jordan’s best friend Drew’s partner. Jordan is broken by his grief and addiction, and the momentary blame he places on Drew for Keith’s death. Even though he knows it wasn’t Drew’s fault, Jordan can’t, or won’t, talk to Drew and share how he feels. The fact that Jordan and Luke could even attempt a healthy relationship is mired in their own self-doubt. Even though they do eventually fall in love with each other, it’s not an easy road for either of them.
Be prepared with Kleenex for this one, readers! It had some moments of sniffles that just couldn’t be held back. I’ve said with each new book, Felice Stevens can’t create a better couple, and she keeps proving me wrong. Jordan and Luke pretty much tore my heart up and then patched it all back together by the end. She also introduced a secondary character, Tash, who I utterly fell in love with and can’t wait for his story.
While there is some external conflict, this is a character driven story and what a story it ends up being. It kept this reader involved to the very last word on the very last page. I hurt for the conflict between Luke and Jordan, because neither were able to vocalize what they needed from the other at the start, and through most of the book. It was only toward the end where they were able to heal each other and be who the other needed in their lives. This was the hardest and yet best of Felice’s books out at this time.
I thoroughly look forward to the next in the series, along with any other stories this author shares with us in the future. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves their men a little bit broken but utterly redeemable.
You can buy After the Fire here: