Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Set Ablaze by KC Burn

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”

Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.

The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.

Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.

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Dreamspinner Press

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

I really enjoyed this sweet and reflective romance, but it isn’t quite what I expected from the cover or the blurb. It’s the story of Hayden, a not-quite-closeted firefighter and Jez, his new roommate (and a Broadway dancer). Jez’s flamboyant arrival forces Hayden to reevaluate his own identity and the toxic bro-culture he clings to.

While I was expecting steamy firefighter scenes, this book takes a hard look at friendship, respect, and identity. There is some heat, but I liked the way the story pushes beyond romance tropes to examine some difficult realities faced by gay men – even in liberal environments like LA and New York.

I didn't love this story. I’m not sure two men would ever talk so earnestly with each other and there were a few moments when Jez and Hayden push past cute into adorable in a way that made me feel slightly nauseous. Time lurches in the story and I didn't always have a good grip on the timeline of the book. Some of the characters are too cliché to be believable or have an impact, and other characters like Jez's brother aren't coherent through the book. But I appreciated the ideas and I loved Jez’s fierce resilience and Hayden’s aptitude for reflection and change.

Author of gay erotic romance, writing for Loose Id, Carina Press & Dreamspinner Press. Occasionally NSFW. KC Burn has been writing for as long as she can remember and is a sucker for happy endings (of all kinds). After moving from Toronto to Florida for her husband to take a dream job, she discovered a love of gay romance and fulfilled a dream of her own—getting published. After a few years of editing web content by day, and neglecting her supportive, understanding hubby and needy cat at night to write stories about men loving men, she was uprooted yet again and now resides in California. Writing is always fun and rewarding, but writing about her guys is the most fun she’s had in a long time, and she hopes you’ll enjoy them as much as she does.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Set Ablaze by KC Burn to read and review.

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