Bonfires (Crabbypatty’s Review)

Title: Bonfires
Author: Amy Lane
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 24, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 280
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Deputy Sheriff Aaron George and Principal Larkin (everyone calls him Larx) have known each other for years. For Aaron, it had been “so long since he’d met Mr. Larx, the kids’ science teacher, and thought, Damn” but what finally pushed him over the edge was seeing Larx on his daily run – “glisteny tanned shoulders and laugh lines and a nearly hairless chest and an ass you could bounce a quarter off, barely covered in nylon running shorts.”

I love the romance between Aaron and Larx, 48 and 47 years old respectively. Each man has known adversity – Aaron’s beloved wife Caro died 10 years ago, while Larx went through a horrendously bitter divorce. They never expected they would find love again, so when these two lonely men fall in love, it is wonderful:

The only end of the race in life was literally the end of the life. Other people, family, friends, career—there would always be hurdles. But Larx had someone next to him to help him over the high ones and who would need help himself. And the challenges, the stresses, the pain of watching their older children repeat their parents’ mistakes, or possibly make bigger ones of their own—those weren’t ever going away. But Larx and Aaron could face them with a little more surety. Because they were “we.”

However, there are a lot of plot elements that didn’t resonate with me and I personally felt they took aware from the development of the relationship between Aaron and Larx.

The murder mystery, the stabbing, the mother/daughter team of sociopaths, the jerks on the school board, Aaron’s irritating daughter Tiffany, and loads and loads of bigotry, homophobia and hatred. The angst in this story was just too much for me.
I’m probably in the minority with this opinion, but I loved the romance between Aaron and Larx, and the growing relationship between Kellen and Isaiah, but felt there was an excess of angst and craziness. 4 stars.

Bonfires Series

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Galley copy of Bonfires provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.


Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.  Frederick Douglas I distinctly remember that day in school when, all of a sudden, those squiggles on the page made sense and I could read. It has changed my life in ways I still cannot comprehend. My favorite M/M tropes are friends-to-lovers, murder/mysteries, amnesia, hurt/healing and historicals. Shifters, vampires, paranormal? Meh ... not in my wheelhouse, but I'm a sucker for a well-written well-plotted book, no matter the genre. Favorite authors includes Brandon Witt, Rick R. Reed, Abigail Roux, Jay Northcote, JL Merrow, KJ Charles, Lane Hayes, Marshall Thornton and so many more. A few "badges" from NetGalley: 100 Book Reviews Reviews Published Professional Reader