Title: Out of the Ashes
Author: M.J. James
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 23, 2019
Page Count: 263
Reviewed by: Maya
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Alex Porter’s life goes up in flames the night his tiny bookstore catches fire. Powerless to stop it, he can do nothing but stand by and watch as the only thing he’s ever loved is taken from him.
Fire sergeant Matt Fields is ordered to Cliffside, Maine by the privileged Porter family, which doesn’t mix well with his quick temper, to investigate exactly what happened. When he meets Alex, he can almost taste the sexual tension hanging between them and fights to focus on his job to find out what started the blaze.
Once Matt discovers arson, a simple case of accidental fire becomes much more dangerous, and Alex’s life is suddenly at risk. Someone is out to get him…and Matt wants to know who. As he digs deeper to find the person who torched the shop, he and Alex finally give in to the wild heat between them. From hot as hell phone sex to even hotter face-to-face encounters, they grow closer together as the case spins out of control.
In the end, their newfound love will be put to the test when secrets come to light and arson turns to murder.
I liked the first part of the book, but the second not so much.
The setup is intriguing, and there is lot of care spent in building characters. Both Matt and Alex are in similar predicament, trying to rebuild their lives. They both had bad breakups and neither of them had a charmed family life. Despite similarities in circumstances, they are distinctive characters and I was intrigued as to how their relationship will unfold.
That’s where things got problematic. I can believe in instant attraction, but second part of the book morphed in obvious insta-love thing, with Matt willing to drop everything to race to Alex’s rescue and heavy handed approach to investigation which just didn’t ring true. There was a lot of sex scenes, and their relationship faded into background. There were also some discrepancies in characters history which confounded issue for me. Past halfway mark the plot was too obvious and character’s reactions felt scripted and unconvincing.