Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 280 Pages
At a Glance: I hope that Larx and Aaron find their place in your heart and onto your bookshelf. This is one delightful romance you should be sure not to miss.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.
Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.
It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.
Review: Yes, Bonfires is an undeniably mushy romance that, it must be said, uses the tried and true insta-love trope and has more than its fair share of incredibly sweet and respectful teenagers who all support one another and their bisexual and gay dads. And yes, for an Amy Lane novel it is decidedly low on the angst meter and never really makes one wonder if there will be a happy-ever-after, and even the problems that do arise seem to be dealt with in such a way that you feel the love and support everyone has for each other. And yes, the sweetness that Aaron shows Larx, and the trust and care they invest in each other, could be a reason for a great deal of tooth decay if you really sink your teeth into this novel.
So? I mean, so what? I cannot think of a nicer, better crafted or more interesting set of characters than the ones that inhabit this sweet, gorgeous romance. Two older men, with both adult and teenage kids of their own, find themselves looking straight down the barrel of an undeniable attraction that is just absolutely right from the onset. And let me tell you, no one could do this story any better than author Amy Lane. Bonfires isn’t just good, it is outstanding. But, you need to check your disbelief at the door because this author set out to bring her two men some real happiness, and she does just that, and then some, but she does it on her terms which means that these guys did some things right—namely, raise kids who, for the most part, just want their dads to be happy.
Policeman Aaron George loved his wife and when he lost her to cancer, he mourned her passing and tried his hardest to raise his two daughters, Maureen and Tiffany, and his son, Kirby, the best way he could. His life was lonely, he always felt that the kids should come first, and while he had always been bisexual, he felt little attraction to either men or women for the longest time after his wife Caroline’s death. Then he saw Larx—Mr. Larkin, his son’s high school principal, running shirtless on a busy roadway and for the first time in a long time, he felt something—and it made him both excited and scared.
Larx made a huge mistake when he married after getting a girl pregnant. For a time, he tried to hide that he was gay, fathered two lovely girls, and then nearly had them taken from him when the marriage began to sour and he came out to his wife. After nearly losing his kids, his job and his sanity, Larx was able to get custody and moved himself and the girls far away from their twisted, ultra-religious mother, and started fresh. By then his life was way too busy to pursue any relationships, not to mention that he was the principal in a small town which might not look so favorably on his sexuality. When these two men decide to take a chance on their own happiness, little did they know that both support and condemnation would come straight for them—but love has a way of surviving and winning if it is strong enough.
I started this review by telling you that I felt author Amy Lane unashamedly wrote Bonfires as a love story vehicle for her two older men with a somewhat rose colored view of family, and a love at nearly first sight plot device. I also told you that no matter what way you approach this story, it is so incredibly well done–with gorgeous characters you cannot help but root for, and an insta-love that is so believable it will have you sighing with happiness. It’s all true. Bonfires takes the best of who we are, the love we all want for ourselves, and wraps it up with unabashed joy. There is turmoil and conflict, homophobic hate and murder afoot in this story, but it is all overshadowed by the most resilient trust and love that two older men could ever hope to experience. I hope that Larx and Aaron find their place in your heart and onto your bookshelf. This is one delightful romance you should be sure not to miss.
You can buy Bonfires here: