Charlie “Wood Chuck” Fox knows his best friend and fellow wildfire firefighter Jessie Row had a major family break up in her past. Charlie has adopted her into his heart and into his huge family and when Jessie gets word her mother has passed away, Charlie fears returning home is going to tear her up.
Bastian Hart’s choice of career as a doll painter has put him at odds with his family. He’s made a sanctuary for himself on the San Juan Island of Friday Harbor, an hour away from his family. He welcomes his aunt Jessie and her friend Charlie into his house as they all prepare for the upcoming funeral. Charlie and Bastian discover a spark of smoldering fire igniting between them, but Charlie is unwilling to push and Bastian hesitant to trust.
They will have to wade through pain, hate, and fear to find their future together.
This story was wonderful. I adored Bastian and Charlie. They were such dynamic characters and came alive as I read. I loved how they slowly built a relationship and started as friends first. Together they were so good and you could feel their emotions as you read.
Charlie was a total sweetheart. He cared for those around him and had a heart of hold. He was so gentle with Bastian at first. His genuine interest in the dolls Bastian painted was a joy to read and helped boost Bastian’s confidence. Getting to see how he reacted to something that was his trigger made him come alive more. I love when we get to see the full range of emotion for characters. Not all positive or all negative. The way Charlie worried about Bastian, if he was safe, and if he would be able to handle a relationship with a wildfire firefighter had my heart go out to him. His emotions were so clear throughout the story.
Bastian made my heart hurt right from the beginning. His past haunted him still but he was working on moving past it in the best way he could. His work was described beautifully and I wish the dolls he made were real. I’d gladly follow his work online. The scene at his grandmother’s funeral was so emotion filled. You could feel what everyone was feeling as you read. Bastian’s reaction afterward was both heartbreaking and appropriate. I felt bad for him and how broken he felt.
Charlie and Bastian are clearly in love and their journey to get there was beautiful to read. By the end you can tell they’re going to make the relationship work and do everything they can to stay together. I would love to read a sequel to this story. See how they’re doing a while down the road, how they handle Charlier going to fires long term, how Jessie’s doing in the guest house, how the cats are getting along. And more of Bastian’s dolls. I desperately want to see more of them and how they’re described.
Four and a half
Lissa Kasey is more than just romance. She specializes in depth characters, detailed world building, and twisting plots to keep you clinging to your book reader. All stories have a side of romance, emotionally messed up protagonists and feature LGBTGA spectrum characters facing real world problems no matter how fictional the story.