Title: After the Fire
Series: Through Hell and Back #2
Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: Adult, Gay Romance
Release Date: February 24, 2015
A single bullet destroyed the dreams of Dr. Jordan Peterson. With the man he loved dead, Jordan descends into an endless spiral of pain that nearly costs him his friends, his career and his life. When Jordan meets the aloof Lucas Conover, the investment banker’s mysterious past and unexpected kindness shocks Jordan back to a life he thought was lost forever.
Betrayal and abandonment by the foster brother he’d worshiped as a child taught Lucas Conover never to trust or believe in anyone. Living a solitary life did little to free him of the nightmare of his past; it reinforces his belief he wasn’t meant to fall in love. Working closely with Dr. Jordan Peterson forces him to meet another person whose suffering equals his own and Lucas can’t shake the unexpected the first man to ever get under his skin.
Mutual respect and rising desire bring Jordan and Luke closer than they ever imagined, and each man must come to terms with their past as they struggle to create a future together. And learning to trust in themselves and love again after tragedy and a lifetime of pain, may be the only thing that saves them in the end.
5 out of 5 stars
How would you handle losing the love of your life? That's what Jordan is dealing with as we start After the Fire. This book picks up almost 9 months after A Walk Through Fire ends and Jordan is still deep in the grieving process after having lost his partner Keith. He's not really coping or allowing himself to heal, instead he's drowning his feelings in Xanax and alcohol. He doesn't eat, he barely sleeps, and he's pretty much cut his friends out of his life.
When Jordan's partner Keith died, he left control of his finances to Jordan. This includes a youth center focusing on getting kids help and getting guns and violence out of their area. Because Jordan has checked out on life, the financial adviser to the foundation, Lucas Conover, threatens Jordan that he'll have him removed as president of the board as he's not stepped up to help. This lights a fire under Jordan, even if it doesn't really change things, it gets him angry and determined to prove Lucas wrong. Lucas doesn't believe Jordan will step up to help because he sees the alcohol controlling Jordan.
Jordan and Luke are both broken, in different ways maybe but both still suffer from things that have happened to them. Luke deals with a hellacious childhood and memories best left hidden. Along with what he believes to be the abandonment of his beloved older brother Asher, who is Jordan's best friend Drew's partner. Jordan is broken by his grief and addiction, and the momentary blame he places on Drew for Keith's death. Even though he knows it wasn't Drew's fault, Jordan can't or won't talk to Drew and share how he feels. The fact that Jordan and Luke could even attempt a healthy relationship is mired in their own self doubt. Even though they do eventually fall in love with each other, it's not an easy road for either of them.
Be prepared with kleenex for this one, readers! It had some moments of sniffles that just couldn't be held back. I've said with each new book, Felice Stevens can't create a better couple, and she keeps proving me wrong. Jordan and Luke pretty much tore my heart up and then patched it all back together by the end. She also introduced a secondary character, Tash, who I utterly fell in love with and can't wait for his story.
While there is some external conflict, this is a character driven story and what a story it ends up being. It kept this reader involved to the very last word on the very last page. I hurt for the conflict between Luke and Jordan, because neither were able to vocalize what they needed from the other at the start and through most of the book. It was only toward the end where they were able to heal each other and be who the other needed in their lives. This was the hardest and yet best of Felice's books out at this time.
I thoroughly look forward to the next in the series along with any other stories this author shares with us in the future. I highly recommend this for anyone that loves their men a little bit broken but utterly redeemable.
I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.
But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.
I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.