While I liked certain aspects of this book, in the end, it simply didn't grip me. If it wasn't by Annabeth whom I ADORE I would have probably put this one aside somewhere along the way. I'm actually happy I finished it and seen where Annabeth took Luis and Tucker (and us). It wasn't what I expected in a good way. I think both characters needed the "redemption" firstly towards themselves and while a teenage romance can be beautiful there are a lot of reasons why it rarely lasts. Lucky for both they could rekindle what they thought they lost so long ago.
Growing up, Luis Riviera and Tucker Ryland have been best friends. Okay, they were a bit more than that even if very little physically happened between them. When Luis' family move to Los Angeles they make each other a promise to keep in touch long distance until they graduate and Tucker can join Luis in LA. It was a sweet and innocent dream but their plans fall apart sooner than they expected leaving both guys hurt and resentful. It have been almost 20 years since the day they last saw each other and none thought they would ever again. But life can be unexpected..
Luis is a much appreciated Fire Behavior Specialist which is half the reason he gets to travel to other fire departments to help out. This time is no different, well, it actually is. If there is something Luis does NOT want to do is return to Central Oregon to investigate arson. Anywhere else he would have accepted but not there.. Just the chance of seeing Tucker again makes him grumpy but you know what, what are the odds he'll even meet him again? Well..
There were days, somewhere in the beginning of his career Tucker wished to be a fire fighter, like he and Luis dreamt together. But after getting his best friend Heidi pregnant on graduation day he finds himself getting married and having twins not that long after. Unexpected and dangerous job? Not the best idea which is how he found himself doing office work at the fire department. He is good at his job and already has promotions prospects but it doesn't mean he doesn't wish in his heart for more thrill in his life. Life IS good, but he can admit he sometimes feels lonely even sharing custody of the now teenaged twins and spending a few nights together with his ex's family (her husband and their mutual baby girl).
The series of fires they recently had to deal with doesn't feel natural which is why he is happy for the help but when he realizes it's non other than his sweetheart from long ago - Luis - he isn't sure what exactly he is feeling. He wish he could talk to Luis and explain, but he can't regret what he and Luis lost if it means not having his sons. Working together, spending time off work brings the two closer. It doesn't take long for them to enjoy the friendship they used to have (now as grownups). It's so EASY between them, if they can put aside the (unknown and rather close) time limit of their new found friendship. That's without mentioning the attraction. Something so very special for Tucker who identifies as Demisexual. Yet is it really a surprise with everything he and Luis used to share and how much they work now? Luis already lost enough putting his heart on the line is something he is scared of doing but being with Tucker makes it impossible to stay as just "friends with benefits" but when the time is up decisions have to be made and they might not be exactly what you'd think.
As I said, this wasn't a favorite. While I can appreciate low angst books I was still missing something to hold me to this story. The whole part about the fire fighting was totally lost on me (as it was in the previous books). I'm still not sure what these guys are doing and what's they're up against though honestly the story isn't about their job, it's about THEM. I still needed more. The ending was fabulous, so I'm really happy I stayed and saw the way Annabeth challenged both of them to have something more in their lives. Also I have to add I liked seeing a Demisexual character (and it's not the first time for Annabeth). Diversity is always appreciated :)
14-21 July 2021