Erryn reviews ‘The Fire (Love in O’Leary Book 4)’ by May Archer. The book was self published on July 19, 2019 and is 312 pages. The audiobook was published Self published October 15, 2019 and is 9 hours and 36 minutes. The book is narrated by Michael Pauley. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Parker Hoffstraeder is gorgeous, cocky, and totally irrational. He also broke my heart when he left town 11 years, four months, and 28 days ago.
Not that I’m counting.
I don’t mind admitting it: I was young. I got burned. I learned my lesson.
But the guy swaggers back into O’Leary like he owns the damn place, and suddenly, I’m expected to welcome him to my town…to my life – like nothing’s changed?
Yeah, that I mind.
It’s only a matter of time until he’s gone again. And there’s no way I’ll give him a chance to take another piece of me when he goes.
Jameson Burke is the most arrogant, infuriating human on the planet. He’s also taller, broader, and impossibly hotter than he was before I left town.
But, whatever. It’s fine. I can handle it.
Coming back to O’Leary was supposed to be like coming home. I hadn’t realized that there’s no statute of limitations on how long your first love and former best friend is allowed to hate your guts or how much bad luck can befall a person in a short time.
But, I can handle that, too…or at least, pretend to.
When Jamie and I are thrown together in a blizzard, though, everything changes in the space of one single, scorching night. Suddenly, I’m dreaming of a future I can’t have, and he’s stuck in a past he can’t let go.
It feels like we’re playing with fire, and this time, I’m the one who’s gonna burn.
Forced proximity is one of my favorite tropes. Two guys stuck together, having to face their own problems, having a mirror held up to themselves. And if they have history? Even better. Parker and Jamie have issues. A whole bunch of them. Starting with how they split years ago and how they’ve been acting toward each other since Parker returned to town. Now, this is the fourth book in the series and although I wasn’t lost, it was clear there was a lot of backstory I was missing. But I was able to get caught up pretty quickly. There had been a fire at Parker’s pub and now, while waiting for the insurance settlement, he’s biding his time. His solution? Nurturing plants. And avoiding Jamie like the plague.
Jamie is in a relationship that isn’t working well. In fact, he rarely thinks of the man he’s in a relationship with. Instead, he fumes over Parker. That he had the nerve to come back to town. About the fact he’s close but still so far away. Or that he’ll be gone as soon as the insurance is paid out. Jamie believes Parker’s just going to run again, so why extend a courtesy and be nice? He figures he’ll just get burned again.
One fateful night, thanks to a shit-ton of snow, the two men find themselves hunkered down, waiting for the weather to pass. But it’s temporary, right? Just a night. Maybe two. One man helping another without expectations or, for that matter, a past. If everything that has come before is off the table, what does that leave? Well, combustion. The physical attraction hasn’t waned for either man. So they may or may not have found some interesting ways to pass the time.
But the past always has a way of catching up, sometimes delivering a punch to the gut. The men had met because of Jamie’s sister Molly and her loss is still felt acutely by both men, even years later. Jamie is a man stuck in the past while Parker has, to all appearances, moved on with his life. Yet he chose to come back to O’Leary when he certainly didn’t have to. And Jamie’d had every opportunity to move on with his life, but he never has.
This is one of those books where I wanted to knock the two men’s head together to see if sense might shake loose. But I didn’t get to. Instead I hung around and watched them do the dance of ‘we’re not really together but, yeah, we’re kind of together…’ I understood Parker’s desire to be more than fuck buddies and Jamie’s determination not to get left behind again. Wounded souls, eh?
Fortunately the men have interfering friends who make sure those miscommunications are resolved once and for all. Great to have those closest to us who can hold up a mirror so we can take a true look into our souls.
Michael Pauley narrated the book and I thought he did a great job. He’s talented and manages to differentiate even voice – even when there are a whole bunch of them. Another stellar performance for a great book.
10/10 pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars