Review: Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

Cold Comfort coverProfessor Finn Lorensson has worked hard to get close to his prickly co worker and neighbor, Cannon Malloy, and now it seems he is starting to succeed in getting to know Cannon no matter how hard Cannon works to thwart him. Finn is convinced that Cannon is the man for him, now to convince Cannon.

Cannon Malloy fled Atlanta thinking that he could start over again, living his life as an out gay man.  But all Cannon’s fears and traumatic past have followed him, making it almost impossible to open him self up to the idea of a new man and a new romance.  Slowly, Finn Lorensson has made him accept the idea that he could find love again.

But someone from Finn’s past poses a problem for Finn that will impact his career and fragile new relationship that he has pursued with Cannon.  With two men confronting the demons from their past, is a future together even remotely possible?

Ah, poor Cannon Malloy. Not even a fresh start in Flagstaff can prevent him from wanting to return to Atlanta and the people he left there. And even if Cannon is not sure they even miss him.  He can’t bring himself to move forward emotionally and he can’t go back. So he’s stuck. And Lee Brazil makes us not only understand Cannon’s position but feel for him as well.  It doesn’t matter whether his  problems are self-inflicted (some are) or a matter of poor timing (some of those are too), we have all been there at some point in our lives.  And can access those old memories and feelings through the character of Cannon.

Finn Lorensson is a somewhat more problematic character for me.  He just seems so great.  He’s considerate and tender of Cannon and Cannon’s prickly defensive nature.  I like that about him.  But maybe he just seems to much the gentle giant.  At least by his handling of a delicate matter.  Or it just could be that we haven’t seen that side of him yet.  We get Cannon, he’s a known factor.  Not so much Finn.  And that is  one of the things I love about this series, the slow reveal, the torturous climb to romance and love. Nothing has ever been easy for Cannon and it looks to remain that way.  Just as we think Cannon is going to give into his impulses, something happens to shatter that small forward movement, halting any progress he may have made and throwing Cannon back into his shell.

Yep, that happens here.  And no, I won’t tell you how.  I will say that it ends on a bit of a bombshell as the Top Gear guys would have it.  Brazil has lead us up to this moment, building our hopes for Finn and Cannon one small delectable morsel at a time.  I mean really, there is a cooking/dinner scene that is quite heady in its erotic buildup.  Finn knows what he wants, Cannon is afraid of what he wants, and that is an anticipatory and wonderful recipe for romance. Or it should be.  Sigh.

The pages of Cold Comfort just flew by.  The writing is fast paced, the narrative so smooth and lively that I was astonished at how quickly I was finished.  And then I was ready for more.  But I fear a little wait is in store for me and the characters here.  How I love this new Pulp Friction 2014 group series and In From the Cold in particular.  Cannon is turning into quite the favorite of mine, something I  never would have suspected would happen given his role in last year’s series.  Ah, surprises, they are wonderful things….mostly.

So grab this story up if you are familiar with the series and the whole Pulp Friction experience.  If you are new to PF2014 and any of the series involved, return to the first stories in Round One and watch how quickly you become addicted.  I know I am.  Consider this one of Scattered Thoughts must reads for 2014!

Cover art by Laura Harner.  Love that model, perfect in every way.

Book Details:

ebook
Published April 1st 2014 by Lime Time Press
ISBN LBRZL02014
edition languageEnglish
seriesIn From the Cold #2
charactersFinn Lorensson, C

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb

 

 

Review:Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner

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Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5:

Controlled BurnDisabled firefighter Scott McGregor is just beginning to settle in at his new home and profession as the owner/operator of Mountain Shadows Campground.  Complete with lodge and multiple rental cabins scattered throughout the grounds, Scott is finding balancing the renters, new and those that have lived there for years, a real challenge.  But that is nothing to having his ex lover and friend, Robby Hammond, back in his life again.

Years ago Scott McGregor outed Robby to his family in a moment of anger and the aftermath had lasting repercussions for all.  Now his accident and an old emergency contact card has brought Robby back into Scott’s life but nothing is as Scott had imagined or hoped for.  Robby seems to be hiding a part of himself and his life from Scott.  And Scott can’t seem to get past his old image of Robby to see the man that Robby has become.  With such a clash of outlooks and wrongful assumptions, it’s no wonder that Robby and Scott are having problems communicating.

As Scott tries to figure out how to make things right with Robby,two men temporarily check into one of Mountain Shadows seasonal cabins to work on a Native American artifact collection at the Flagstaff musuem.  Handsome and erudite, they just might be the thing to take Scott’s and Robby’s mind off their issues, especially with Robby’s connection to the collection by way of his job and his heritage.  But nothing is ever simple with Scott and Robby.  A phone call further complicates the assumptions and misunderstandings between the men. And that, along with the new renters, escalates things out of control.

Controlled Burn sees the long standing issues of perception and personal problems between Scott and Robby intensify.  In Firestorm we started to get an outline of Scott and Robby’s past relationship but with Controlled Burn, that outline starts to fill in from the very first paragraph.  It’s a flashback to Scott and Robby’s college days when they were lovers.  Laura Harner drops the reader into the middle of a heated argument between Scott and Robby’s conservative professional Army father.  It’s clear almost immediately that things are out of control between them and the ending is nothing short of traumatic for everyone there.  It would be years before Scott and Robby saw each other again.  Harner has the dialog just right for a idealistic college young man and a professional soldier sliding into dementia.  It’s full of passion and rage, fear and hatred, between two  people who steadfastly believe each is right.  And its such a terrific way to bring the reader back into the complicated lives of Scott McGregor and Robby Hammond.

Both of the main characters here totally surprise me.  There is so much  hidden depths to one, and a total deceptive clarity to the other.  Scott’s background and viewpoint are laid out before us.  Scott thinks he knows what he wants and what Robby wants too.  And he goes for it with all the subtlety of a rodeo bull.  It’s Robby that’s the enigma.  The true Robby is elusive to the reader and to Scott.  We have clues scattered here and there, a picture of a woman, and some astounding statements from Robby about his sexuality.  But something straightforward or anything less than opaque is missing.   I love this element of the story.  A real mystery at the heart of the series.  Because it is clear that Scott has never really understood Robby at all.  This element of the story seems so real, where its all about perceptions and assumptions and how blind you can be to a reality you don’t want to see.

Of course that’s not all that’s going on here.  There are multiple small and large mysteries at play at Mountain Shadows just waiting to come to the fore.  I love those too. This series just keeps getting better as the complications pile up.  My only frustration is not having the next story in line to read.  Short in length, deceptively deep in content, the Pulp Friction 2014 stories, Controlled Burn(Fighting Fire #2) in particular, are like delectable amuse-bouche, you can’t eat just one.  They are addicting.  Consider all of them and Controlled Burn highly recommended.

Cover art by Laura Harner is perfect for the story and series branding.

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 50 pages
Published March 14th 2014 by Hot Corner Press
ASINB00J0YWQ90
edition languageEnglish
seriesFighting Fire #2
Pulp Friction 2014 Series

Round One of Pulp Friction 2014:

Firestorm (Fighting Fire# 1) by Laura Harner
Cold Snap (In From the Cold# 1) by Lee Brazil
Blown Away (Where the Wind Blows# 1) by Havan Fellows
Higher Ground (Earthquake# 1) by Tom Webb

Round Two of Pulp Friction 2014:

Controlled Burn (Fighting Fire #2) by Laura Harner
Cold Comfort (In From the Cold #2) by Lee Brazil
Blown Kisses (Where the Wind Blows #2) by Havan Fellows
Moving Earth (Earthquake #2) by Tom Webb