Putting Out Fires (Coda Short Story)

Title & URL: Putting Out Fires
Author: Marie Sexton
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Valentine’s Day

Length: Short Story (36 pages)
Rating: 5+ of 5 stars, DIK

A guest review by Buda

Summary Review: Matt and Jared from Promises are back in this highly entertaining, emotional (in a very guy sort of way) short story that is absolutely not to be missed.

The Blurb:

A Coda Valentine’s Day Story

Matt Richards has never given much thought to Valentine’s Day, but when his lover of almost three years, Jared Thomas, hints that he feels unappreciated, Matt realizes he needs to do something. He’s determined to make this Valentine’s Day special, but nothing is going to turn out the way Matt plans.

Coda Series

The Review:

It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and our lovable cop Matt has no idea–until he spies a pink envelope laying on the coffee table. It’s a “Be Mine” card to Jared from one of his students. Matt is instantly jealous–and he knows how ridiculous it is, but he can’t help it. Instead of his usual amusement at Matt’s possessive streak, Jared snaps, “It’s nice to feel appreciated once in a while.” …And we’re off to the races.

Poor Matt. It’s almost three years since he and Jared got together, a year since Matt gave him the ring (a free must-read at author’s website here). But he has no idea what to do for Valentine’s Day, only that he has to do something to prove to Jared that he does appreciate him, does still love him as much as he ever did. A trip to the grocery store convinces him that the traditional flower-and-candy gifts are absolutely out of the question. Completely at a loss, he stops at A to Z Video, the business run by our pals Zach and Angelo. When Angelo catches Matt desperately (and uncomfortably) perusing a display of the usual mushy Valentine’s movie fodder, he tells Matt no.

I sighed and put the box back down. I liked Angelo. He was like a brother to me. Which meant that sometimes I wanted to punch him simply to prove that I could.

Angelo being Angelo, he sets out to prove that Valentine’s Day with two guys is wholly different than it is in the hetero world.

“Look, man, I’ll prove it.” He turned around to call across the store. “Zach?”

Zach looked up from his computer. “What?”

“You know today’s Valentine’s Day?”

Zach stared at us blankly for a second, looking completely shell-shocked. “No.”

“Did you buy me anything?”

Zach’s cheeks actually started to turn red. He didn’t blush often, but Angelo’s question obviously made him uncomfortable. “Um…no.”

“Good. I didn’t get you anything either.”

The relief on Zach’s face was almost laughable. “Thank God,” he said as he turned back to his computer. “Jesus, Ang, don’t scare me like that.”

What follows is a brilliantly funny scene with Ang in full embarrass-the-hell-out-of-Matt mode. Moments later Zach takes pity on the poor guy and suggests a plan for the night. That’s when hilarity commences. I won’t tell you anything about it because that would ruin the joy of the story. Because this is a book about Matt and Jared, don’t be surprised when the story wraps up in a beautifully sentimental (in a guy sort of way) moment.

Matt and Jared are absolutely among my Top 5 favorite couples and this short story cements their place there. As always in Marie Sexton’s books, the characters are strongly drawn and perfectly voiced. It took no time at all to hear Matt’s’ voice in my head, with the memories of the previous books flooding back along with it.  This book brought me tears of laughter and good old heart-warming tears of happiness for our boys. Highly recommended. (And, yes, you’ll understand the guy thing by the end.)



    • Hi, Luci! I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. I kept wanting to say, “Breathe, Matt. Breathe.” But then I realized I was reading faster as he was describing each event and decided I was the one who needed to breathe!

  • I don’t know how I missed this series, but I am so going to get it, beginning with Promises. Thanks Buda, and lovely review.

  • Okay, Buda, Promises is in the cue. Is it all right if I read that book and then skip to this one? Will that give away parts of the other books in the series?

    I love your review. Great job. And Happy Valentine’s Day. 🙂

    • Aw, Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too, my love. 😉 Hope you have a terrific day.

      Yes, you can definitely read Promises and then skip to this–wait, read The Promise (the short I linked above) before POF. But trust me, you’ll want to know who Angelo and Zach are after reading POF. And Cole. You’ll love Cole! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

  • This sounds really good. Thanks for the review. I’ve been hearing alot about this author recently, who is new to me. Definitely need to check it out.

    • You’re welcome, Marilyn. Marie Sexton is one of my favorite writers. I really hope you check out the Coda series and One More Soldier. You can even use this short story as sort of a test before you dive into the rest. Trust me, you’ll want to start from the beginning after you read this, if for no other reason than to see just who these guys are. Let me know what you think.

      • So, I couldn’t help myself. I went and read the free story from your link. I hope you’re happy. I’m going to be making a major purchase as soon as I get home from work. I must have them ALL! 🙂

        • LOL Marilyn, I am happy! And you will be, too! Matt and Jared just melt the ice around my heart each time I think of them. And the other guys are fun, too. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the rest of the series!

          • I only had a little bit of time last night before I went to bed, so I started with this story first. I laughed so hard I scared the dog and she wouldn’t come out from under the table. I can’t wait to get home from work tonight to start Promises. Thank you so much for the push in this direction!


  • Thanks Buda, I can’t wait to read this. I love Matt and Jared, and Angelo and Zach too. Marie Sexton writes the best characters 🙂

    • Thanks, Cole. Doesn’t she just? I recently purchased Promises in paperback because I love it so much. It just arrived yesterday. I will have to start re-reading the series in anticipation of the next release in…April, I think. Word of warning–don’t eat or drink anything while reading this!

  • Uh, oh, how did I missed the ring story? I’m going to read that first and then, hopefully, I’ll pick this one too. I can’t wait! Thanks, Buda!

    • LadyM, get thee to the rings story post haste! It’s beautiful. I’m glad I could fill in that gap for you. You’re in for a treat with both of these! Enjoy!

  • Buda
    What a wonderful review. 🙂 I’m so glad I wasn’t selfish (second time in my life lol) and asked you to review Putting Out Fires.

    I can see that scene that you quoted in my mind and I’m going to read the book today. I didn’t want to read it before the review and I’m glad I resisted the strong urge to do so.

    • Aww, Wave, have I told you lately that you’re my favorite? 😉 Thank you for letting me review this book. It made my week, for sure–probably my month! 🙂

      I love the way Angelo and Matt play off each other. Angelo is a kick, Matt’s so straight-laced. You’re going to love the rest of that scene and what follows.

      • I, too, missed the ring story and just read it. Thank you for linking it. That made my day as well. Think I’ll go back to bed and read Promises all over again. 🙂

        PS I’m only your favourite when I give you everything you want and then some. 😉

        • You’re very welcome. I’m glad you followed the link. I just love me some Matt. *sigh* Your plan is brilliant. Wish I could do likewise. Alas,….

          Oh, honey, that’s the only time anyone is my favorite! lol Happy Valentine’s Day, Miss Wave. Love ya.

  • Adding to my *hopefully* soon-to-read list: This is a must for all of us Coda fans (but looks like everybody can enjoy it too).
    Thnk you for your review 🙂

    • Hi, Helena. You’re right twice. This short story is a must-read for Coda fans, and you don’t have to have read the other books to get a kick out of it–it will help to know the guys and their quirks, but it’s not necessary. Not that I would discourage anyone from reading the Coda series. It’s fantastic! Hope you enjoy this one!

      • lol I kept thinking what else was going to happen to Matt. Only Cole and Jon were missing *sigh* Hope at least they show up in the next book even if it´s again about Zach and Angelo 🙂

        • Could you really picture Matt reaching out to Cole for…well, for anything? LOL Those two are oil and water. Which, of course, means that all 3 couples will make appearances in the next book.


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