Now Available at Kindle Unlimited! After The Fire by Felice Stevens
About the Book
A single bullet destroyed the dreams of Dr. Jordan Peterson. With his lover dead, Jordan descends into an endless spiral of self-destruction that nearly costs him his friends, his career, and his life. When Jordan finds himself working closely with the aloof Lucas Conover, the investment banker’s mysterious past and unexpected kindness shocks him back into a life and emotions he’d thought lost forever.
The betrayal by the foster brother he’d worshiped taught Lucas Conover never to trust or believe in anyone. Living a solitary life couldn’t free him of the nightmare of his former life; it reinforced his belief that he would never fall in love. When the death of one of his clients forces him to work closely with Dr. Jordan Peterson, he meets a person whose suffering exceeds his own. Though Jordan rejects his effort to help, something within Luke pushes him discover more about the first man to ever get under his skin.
As Luke lets down his guard and Jordan lets go of his pain, desire takes control. Each man must come to terms with past struggles if they are to create a future together. And learning to trust in themselves and love again after tragedy and a lifetime of pain may be the only thing that saves them in the end.
“It’s only been nine months. God almighty, did you expect me to forget him already?” Horrified, Jordan swept his hand across the table, sending the empty bottles and food containers crashing to the floor. “Keith and I were together for almost four years. You haven’t even been with Ash a year; could you forget him so easily? Stop pressuring me to move on with my life. It’s over for me. There will never be anyone else.”
“So you plan on drinking yourself into an early grave, losing your job and quite possibly your friends along the way?” Drew placed a hand on his arm. “I don’t think Keith would expect you to mourn him forever.”
“I didn’t expect to have to mourn him at all. He was supposed to be here, with me.” The tears, always threatening below the surface, spilled over, coursing hot and fierce down his cheeks. It seemed he hadn’t stopped crying since Keith had been murdered. “I can’t get past it. No matter what I do, he’s always there with me, and I can’t let him go.” All the fight and anger left him deflated like a balloon several days after a party. An ineffable weariness stole through him, and he laid his head on his arms on top of the table. “Go home, you two. Leave me alone.”
Without a word, Ash found the broom and dustpan and began to clean up the broken glass while Drew remained seated next to Jordan at the table.
“Look, I understand what you’re feeling. But destroying yourself isn’t going to bring him back. We know you miss him.”
“You don’t understand.” Jordan shook off Drew’s attempt to comfort him. “I’m beginning to forget him. Not only his voice but also the way his arms held me. The way the sound of his breathing calmed me so I could fall asleep every night.” His breath caught in his throat, and a shudder racked his body.
Jordan couldn’t reveal the worst—that he could no longer recall the press of Keith’s lips on his or the sweet sweep of Keith’s tongue in his mouth. The warmth and smoothness of Keith’s skin, once as familiar as Jordan’s own, had begun fading to a cold and distant memory. Sometimes he’d sit in bed late at night and play his voicemail messages simply to hear Keith’s voice. How fucking disloyal a love was he? It had only been nine months, yet Keith’s touch, something he’d longed for every day of his life and sworn he’d never forget, had slipped away like fog in the summer wind. Gentle and swift, leaving no trace behind that it had ever existed.
After the Fire is book 2 in the Through Hell & Back Series and while technically it could be read as a standalone, I don't recommend it. Not only is A Walk Through Fire sooo good, that you'll be missing out if you don't read it, but there are events that happen in it that will be directly referred to in After the Fire, plus the characters we met there, especially Ash and Drew are heavily featured in this story.
I have to make a confession, I didn't like Jordan in A Walk Through Fire; actually, I hated him with the fire of a thousand suns until the death of his partner at the end of that book. I can say I don't hate him any longer, but I don't particularly like him, either. I could empathize with his suffering and what he'd gone through and I thought he was very strong to finally acknowledge he had a problem and seek the help he needed. I liked Luke, but I thought he was really immature in how he handled things with both Jordan and Ash. Still, I have to admit that Luke and Jordan were good together. They had great chemistry and it was lovely seeing their relationship develop and grow in such a realistic manner.
I love Ash, my heart broke all over again when he was forced to rehash all he went through with his foster dad and it was awesome to see he finally got the second chance with Luke that he'd been wishing for so long.
The book was really well-written, very engaging and even if I didn't actually love Jordan and Luke, I liked them enough to want them to get their HEA. Highly recommendable!
*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***