Title: Firewall
Author: Sierra Riley
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 282
Reviewed by: Gigi
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.2 stars out of 5

“You got me fired!”

“I made more enemies than friends.”

Justin West is one of the world’s most sought-after IT security specialists. His skills as a network penetrator are renowned, but in meatspace he’s cold and awkward. Online he’s at the top of his game, and who needs soft skills when you’re top dog? But in a cutthroat industry, enemies abound, and Justin is framed for a massive security breach. Soon it’s not just his job on the line; his very life is in danger.

“If I can’t keep you safe, what good am I?”

Bodyguard Calder Lesley takes pride in his career protecting others. In contrast to his geeky hotshot best friend, Calder uses body language and psychology to excel at his job. He only ignores his instincts when it comes to Justin. Even though their friendship has been long distance for eight years, Justin’s feelings for him are obvious. Calder’s afraid of nothing… except losing a friend to pursue a new kind of love.

“We’re both in danger unless we act now.”

It’s a fight to the death to keep Justin’s fledgling firm alive. He’s eating humble pie a few bytes at a time, and needs the help of someone he can trust with everything, including his life. For the first time in nearly a decade, they’re back on Calder’s turf: face-to-face. As his new PA and bodyguard, Calder protects him and stops him from making more enemies. The sparks fly as jealous enemies beat down the door. Opposites might attract, but can they last?

Firewall is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA and no cliffhangers.

OK, first off, the blurb is wrong. Justin’s life was never in danger. I won’t give it away, but I can tell you the “danger” was really, really weak. And nothing actually happened. Also, there were no “sparks flying” anywhere. The chemistry was non-existent. These boys have been best friends for 20 years, but at the beginning of the story had not seen each other in person for 8 years, continuing their friendship online through chat and social media.

Now that the misconceptions about the blurb are out-of-the-way, let’s get into the relationship and sex. The first thing that popped into my head after reading the blurb was, “Hot bodyguard, geeky tech nerd… PLEASE let the nerd be a top!” Um, that would be a big no-go. Said nerd and bodyguard played into every stereotype to a “T”.


Since this is a gay-for-you tale, I was expecting heat and tension and passion mixed with confusion. Another no-go. These boys had the opposite of a slow burn passion. The sex came first and when they weren’t fucking, they tip-toed around each other, never communicating. No heat. No tension. No passion. Even when the “L” word exchange happened, there was no spark.

bad blood

Nerd Justin actually said, “Do you like me? Because I like you,” and he is a grown-ass man in his late 20’s/early 30’s. I just wasn’t able to take him or buff-bodyguard Calder seriously.


If you’re looking for a fun, steamy, heart-warming gay-for-you tale, read Ms. Riley’s delightful Guardian and skip this one.

Cannot Recommend.

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