Title: Burnished by Fire (By Fire #3)
Author: Andrew Grey
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link: Amazon.com Burnished by Fire (By Fire Series)
Genre: M/M Romance
Rating: 5 stars
A Guest Review by Sammy
Review Summary: Two men learn what it takes to make a lasting relationship work.
Blurb: Firefighters Lee Stanton and Dirk Krause need a vacation. Work seems to have other ideas: they spend the day before their holiday begins battling a fire that claims three lives. Thankfully, Lee and Dirk will have a whole week on the high seas to recover.
They’re having a wonderful time—until they spot Dirk’s miserable, closed-minded father on the ship. Between his father’s presence and his guilt over the lives he couldn’t save, Dirk feels sure his romantic cruise is going to tank. But then he saves another passenger’s life—and maybe he can salvage something else too.
Review: Burnished by Fire was the third installment by Andrew Grey bout firefighters Dirk and Lee, It picks up their story some eighteen months into their relationship as they are about to go on vacation together—a Caribbean cruise. As fate would have it, Dirk’s father ends up on the very same cruise and sparks fly between the two as usual. If you have read the other novellas in this series then you will remember how homophobic, controlling and angry Dirk’s father acts toward he and Lee. Well, little has changed as this nicely drawn third story begins.
One of the things I so enjoy about Andrew Grey’s writing is the down home feel to it—his characters are every day men with issues and things that can and do go wrong. For these two firefighters, they both grapple visibly with losing the lives of those they are meant to save. As this novella opens, Dirk and Lee manage to save three children from a fast burning building but fail to find and rescue some others who are hiding in a closet to escape from the flames.
Once more, Dirk feels this loss deeply—condemning himself for his inability to rescue them. He carries these feelings with him, constantly plagued by the doubt that his ability will ever be enough. Lee recognizes is and wisely gives him some space to try and come to terms with his anger and depression. Dirk tries his best to shake it all off—but again fails to truly let his worry and sadness go.
As this piece evolves so does Dirk’s ongoing relationship with his father. While on board, Dirk’s Dad begins to take interest in a kind-hearted woman and due to her influence, eventually finds himself talking with Dirk—almost reconciling. But Andrew Grey does not disappoint us with a snappy and false “all is well “resolution to their ongoing battle. Instead he sends up a slightly uneasy truce and hope for the future. Dirk is cautiously optimistic about the truce and hopes that the future will hold more opportunities to grow together as father and son.
This was a well done final installment to the By Fire series. One of Andrew Grey’s strengths is the way he allows his characters to grow, change and become better people through the course of his story. Dirk really comes to terms with the anger that shapes and holds him—with the way he tends to drive people—even his father—away. Lee stands by him patiently reminding him that he needs to deal with his feelings rather than bury them where they eat away at him. It was just lovely watching these two men grow into a couple and see their love and friendship for each other deepen and take root.
Rather than pandering to us and drawing this series up into a neat and cuddly package, the author opted for a good dose of reality to flavor the ending of Lee and Dirk’s story. These men became real as this series expanded and the ending allowed for much happiness and some definite work on Dirk’s part to resolve his issues. It was a happy, hopeful ending and you felt for the first time that these guys were going to make it as a couple—as partners.
Dear Reader, I most certainly recommend Burnished by Fire by Andrew Grey. As always the choice is up to you—but I do think this is a series you will not want to miss.