A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back #3) by Felice Stevens and Kale Williams (Narrator)


Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

A few things should be addressed before summarizing the review of this audiobook. First, there’s no mention of the need to read other books in this series, however, I believe my enjoyment of this book would have been greatly enhanced if I had done so.  So although this is ostensibly a standalone, it really is the capstone of a three-book series and I’d recommend that people read the others first—and also read the end of this review for information on the multiple epilogues.

The second thing that bugged me and made me crazy—why would the author give the MC (with the real name of Sebastian) the nickname of Tash when one of the MCs from the previous books in this series was Ash?  And Ash was frequently present in this story.  Then to make it worse, this is an audiobook so the frequency of use of Tash and Ash became way too confusing, especially in the beginning of the story when the couples from the earlier stories frequently made an appearance and I had to figure out all the relationships because I wasn’t warned that the other books should be read first.  It seems this story is connected with others in the series by each one featuring one of three boys who grew up as brothers in poverty under the rough hand of a nasty, abusive foster father.

This book is about Brandon, a young man who ran away from home after one fight too many with that abusive foster father. Thinking he killed the old man, Brandon moved to another city and changed his name to Randy. After a year or so on the streets, he was rescued by a man named Gage who was working in a program helping homeless teens.  Brandon turned his life around and is now working as a teacher.  Hearing of a way to help teens like he was, he agrees to meet with Dr. Sebastian (Tash) Weber, a psychiatrist who is starting another program for bullied LGBTQ youth.

Tash is about fifteen years Brandon’s senior, but he’s hot and Brandon is immediately attracted. Tash isn’t interested in a relationship, however, since his former lover died a few years before and he doesn’t think he can ever love again. 

The two do eventually come together, despite objections from some friends and family members who feel the age gap is too steep and/or Brandon isn’t the right person for Tash and vice versa. Add to that the guilt Brandon carries about his past and this makes for a long story.  It’s nearly ten hours of audio and a great deal of the story is interrelated to characters from the first two books.  Ultimately, it’s discovered that the lost brothers Brandon has never been able to find are the best friends of Gage and Tash and so their lives intertwine even more. 

After a misunderstanding, Brandon travels home to face his ghosts and to make peace with his foster mother, if at all possible.  Tash and the brothers follow and eventually all is resolved.  To be honest, I felt lost so often (and was frankly sick of hearing Tash and Ash in the same sentences!) I was happy to see it end, even though I liked the author’s writing and I liked the core relationship between Brandon and Tash.  I definitely enjoyed the narration by Kale Williams, who I don’t believe I’ve ever heard before.  Even with all of those confusing character names, he managed to juggle multiple voices so I was able to pick out the MCs.  That alone is well worth mentioning. 

I must say, however, I was surprised at the end when the Epilogue chapter was announced and suddenly it’s about people named Mike and Rachel, and I had no idea who they were.  The short scene is at their wedding and all the characters are present. And then suddenly, we had a second epilogue that takes place a month later about Jordan and Luke – MCs from After the Fire — in a little vacation and engagement vignette.    A month later a third epilogue about Drew and Ash takes place — MCs from the first book, A Walk Through Fire, so it’s a little odd to me that the author put the epilogues from these other couples into this book.  But finally, taking place a week after that last one, we get the epilogue for Brandon and Tash and their very satisfying HEA. 

Do I recommend this? Yes, to those who enjoy a contemporary romance with an age gap. However, I highly recommend the first two books be read before this one, or readers will likely suffer from the same confusion I went through.  It really is a three-book series, all of which are linked closely together.


Cover art by Reese Dante in the newest edition features a headshot of two young men in an almost-kiss, hands on each other’s face.  Very attractive, and in keeping with the theme of the others in the series, the word fire in the title is bright red. 


Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2yu0NiV

Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2mem4vf

Audiobook Details:

Listening Length: 9 hours and 42 minutes
Program Type: Audiobook
Version: Unabridged
Publisher: felice stevens
Audible.com Release Date: October 31, 2017
Whispersync for Voice: Read

On Tour with Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back #3) by Felice Stevens and Kale Williams (Narrator) (excerpt and giveaway)


Embrace the Fire Audio Tour

Embrace the Fire

Through Hell and Back Series, Book 3

Felice Stevens

M/M Romance

Release: 03.24.17

Audio Release: 10.31.17

Embrace the Fire Audio Cover

Narrator: Kale Williams

Listening Length: 9 hours and 42 minutes

Cover Design: Reese Dante

Cover Photo: Varian Krylov/ Strangeland Photography



Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2yu0NiV

Amazon UK:  http://amzn.to/2mem4vf



 Brandon Gilbert has spent years in hiding, but he’s finally accomplished his dream of working as a public school teacher. When offered the chance to help bullied children, there was no way he could say no. Not to mention that meeting Dr. Tash Weber, the psychiatrist who helps them, a sad yet sexy older man, ignited a spark inside Brandon he’d never had before.

Though five years have passed since the death of his lover, Dr. Sebastian “Tash” Weber has no interest in relationships or love. But young, enigmatic Brandon awakens his heart and his desire. Despite Tash’s best efforts to push him away, Brandon unlocks the passion for life Tash thought he’d lost forever.

Falling in love wasn’t part of the plan for either Brandon or Tash, but neither family disapproval nor self-doubts can stop them from embracing the fire that burns between them. And when Brandon returns home to fight for a future he never imagined possible, he and Tash discover that the one thing worth fighting for has been with them all along.

Embrace the Fire Teaser 1 darker

Embrace the Fire Teaser 3


“Care to tell me what’s wrong?” Brandon zipped up his jacket.

“You don’t know? All weekend I’ve been deluding myself. We were caught up in this bubble we created, but now? Now that I have to come face-to-face with your brothers and Gage.” Tash shook his head. “I don’t know if I can do this.”

Heart beating madly, Brandon swallowed. “Can’t do what?” Don’t do this, please; don’t hide yourself away.

“Us. You, me. We’re at different places in our lives. You’re starting out, and with Ash and Luke, you have a whole new world open to you—places to explore and new people to meet.”

Tash unbuckled his seat belt and opened the car door but didn’t get out. “I’m the opposite. I’m ready to settle down. I’m not interested in nightlife and the latest scene. I can’t and won’t ask you to give it all up.” Tash climbed out of the car and slammed the door.

The hell he says. If Tash thought he’d simply state his opinions like God and proclaim what Brandon should do with the rest of his life, he was in for a fight. He wrenched open the door. “I’m not giving anything up. I was never into that.” Brandon slammed the car door behind him with a vicious thump. “Who do you think you are? You say you don’t want to be with me, yet you then get the right to lay out my life in neat little puzzle pieces so it all comes perfectly together as you see fit.”

Tash had stopped in his tracks but didn’t turn around. Hopeful that was a sign he was at least listening, Brandon continued.

“Sure we were in a bubble; it was wonderful this weekend, beautiful and amazing.” He advanced on Tash and stood before him. “Don’t think I don’t know, maybe better than anyone, how something so perfect and magical can be ripped away with no warning.” He put a hand on Tash’s shoulder, hoping Tash wouldn’t move away from him. “And now the hard stuff begins—reality and all the trouble that comes with it. But aren’t you willing to try? See where this journey takes us?”

“Brandon, you’re—”

“Don’t say it. I’ll tell you what I am. I’ve been homeless and hungry. I’ve lived on the streets with rats, not knowing where I would sleep at night. Do you think I’m looking for a man whose only interest is a twenty-dollar glass of wine and where the next party is?”

Tash said nothing, and Brandon had no more strength to argue. Besides, they were at the clinic to do a job. Last time he’d screwed up by running out, and he’d be damned if he’d do it again.

Felice Logo

Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.




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