Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publication date: March 24, 2017
Length: 280 pages
Reviewed by Erin
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.
For anyone who's an Amy Lane fan, and by this I mean it should be everyone, a new release is a cause for celebration. Whether it's an angst filled book that's guaranteed to rip your heart to shreds or something so fluffy there are birds and hearts floating about your head, Amy Lane always delivers a book that will be memorable. Her new release, Bonfires, is a masterful combination of romance and drama with a smidge of mystery thrown in that pretty much promises to vault this one way to the top of your favorite of Amy Lane's books.
What you can expect from Bonfires is a story about real people. I'm talking faults, foibles, imperfections, and everything else. Aaron and Larx are men in their mid forties looking fifty in the face. I have to say this was the aspect of the book that had me most excited. I'm a huge YA and New Adult fan, like hard core. I love reading about young people finding out who they are and the journeys they take on their way to picking the path that's right for them. I like reading about twenty and thirty somethings who have found their groove and maybe have a few bumps in the road as relationships come and go and things change. But what really piques my interest is characters like Aaron and Larx. Men with families and histories and real life experiences that made them into the intriguing people they are and how they've put their own needs on hold while they've taken care of their families. Aaron and Larx are just so genuine and authentic that I fell in love with both of them immediately. These are men who know who they are and what they want so there are no games between them, just lots of frank discussion and open honesty. There's a bit of fumbling which was just so endearing and they still have those fluttery butterfly feelings of falling in love and the excitement of a new romance while dealing with their families and jobs as a sheriff and a principal. Both Aaron and Larx have demanding careers and have years worth of experience juggling the complexities of their lives.
As with any Amy Lane book, besides the main characters Aaron and Larx, there is a plethora of secondary characters that,as always, add so much to the overall story. Their kids--Christiana,and Kirby, Kellan and Isaiah who are two of Larx's students, Larx's best friend, Yoshi, and Aaron's boss, Eamon, all play a major role throughout the book. Not to mention the evil people, of which there are a few, help round out everything and give the story depth. There's are sexy scenes, though not too many, so that the focus is on the relationship, but that doesn't mean these two aren't intense and inordinately sexy. Because they are.
Amy Lane has written one hell of a story here, people. Bonfires is full of things and issues that make this book so realistic. The current chaotic and hateful political climate is very present, as well as bullying in schools and homophobia also play a big role throughout the book. You might think with topics such as these as well as a focus on families and how sometimes those you love most can hurt you the worst, that this book would be one long ride on the angst train. You'd be wrong. Never fear, Amy has plenty of light moments as well as some achingly tender and romantic ones. Throw in the mystery (which was done well and didn't take away anything from the romance) and you've got all the elements to make Bonfires an enjoyable and entertaining book from start to finish. This book is bound to be an Amy Lane classic. Don't miss this one, guys. You need Bonfires in your life.
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