Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Book 3 in the Through Hell and Back trilogy probably can be read as a stand alone, but you are really going to want to read the first two. There is a story arc separate from the romance that comes to a conclusion here.
Brandon has been hiding his real identity for years. Living a quiet life as a school teacher in Brooklyn. He loves the kids and he loves his job. So when a friend of a friend asks him if he wants to be a mentor to bullied children, he can’t help but say yes.
Tash is a psychiatrist who buries himself in work. Not only his private practice, but volunteering as much as he can. Filling his days and nights with work helps keep some of his loneliness at bay- but it is there. He has no desire to get into another relationship- but he is so drawn to Brandon.
Brandon is the third foster brother who spent many formative years with an abusive foster father. And he didn’t even get the brunt of it. His oldest foster brother leaves first without a word. Then his second foster brother is put into the hospital after a beating and the family takes off without him. Everyone he has ever had leaves.
Tash also holds secrets. He was obviously hurt in the past; so badly that he doesn’t ever want a boyfriend again. These two men are so broken, but they help each other heal.
I have to say that neither “secret” was all that earth shattering. In fact, Brandon’s secret could have been put to rest years ago with a little research. And while Tash’s secret was heartbreaking, I’ve seen similar in other books. If they had opened up to each other sooner, a lot of heartbreak could have been avoided.
That being said, I still really enjoyed this book. I love the world that Ms Stevens builds for her characters. Strong men who aren’t afraid to love their friends and family. They all help each other through whatever they can. We should be so lucky to have friends like that.
Brandon and Tash are a really good couple together. They both just want to help kids however they can. And once the walls come down, they are also a great support to each other. Learning to trust again is hard.
As I said, there is a story arc involving the foster parents. It comes to a pretty satisfying conclusion in this book. I was glad to see it wrapped up and not just left without closure.
Very satisfying read- but definitely read the first 2 before this one.
Cover art works for the story.
Published April 2017 (first published May 25th 2015)
Original TitleEmbrace the Fire
SeriesThrough Hell and Back #3