California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”
Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.
The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.
Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.
(Book reviewed here previously by Morgan – https://openskyebookreviews.com/release-day-review-set-ablaze-by-kc-burn/)
Wonderful story with two amazing MC’s, both of whom have known serious pain and loss in the past.
It’s heartwarming to see how they handle this together, coming out so much stronger with the other’s support and love.
There’s also a very welcome cuteness overload, not in the least thanks to the “third” in their relationship…Fang.
Sweet and entertaining read with an immensely satisfying HEA.
The attraction between Jez and Hayden flares up hot and bright from the moment they set eyes on each other, but they each have their reasons for not immediately acting on it.
There are some obstacles in their way: Jez is Hayden’s best friend’s little brother, he’s also hiding something, Hayden makes some wrong assumptions, neither of them is winning any prizes as far as communication goes and then there are Hayden’s so-called friends, Vic and Jordan, who are continually spouting off homophobic, racist and misogynistic slurs.
Hayden’s so afraid of rocking the boat and losing his “friends” that he pretends, even to himself, that all of that is said “jokingly”.
Once Hayden’s blinders are off, he stands up for himself and for what he wants. I love how sweet he is with Jez, how accepting of his veganism, and he’s simply too adorable when he finds out Jez brought a stowaway into his house. Enter Fang…the cutest of all pugs in the history of pugs.
The stalker plot was very well executed and brought some welcome suspense to the story, the threat of creepy Jason hanging like a cloud over Jez’s new-found happiness and exacerbating his anxiety. Is he making it all up in his head, or is there really trouble in paradise?
Miguel, Hayden’s best friend and Jez’s older brother, is a very unlikely, though endearing matchmaker. He doesn’t make a good first impression on the reader, very much like his brother in terms of avoidance tactics, but he grows on you once he finally gets around to having a heart to heart with Jez and Hayden.
Hearing about what happened to Jez from his perspective was enlightening and heartbreaking at the same time.
I loved the writing style and the build-up of this story. The author brings us some beautiful and poignant imagery throughout the book to describe our MC’s state of mind. I was especially moved by Hayden’s painful realization he’s been bleeding from a thousand cuts without even knowing it.
The narrator, Darcy Stark, was a revelation. He has great acting skills and easily draws you into the story, setting the right mood and making the characters come to life. He did wonderfully distinct and fitting voices for both MC’s, and also did a great job at differentiating the voices for the secondary characters.
I especially loved the narration in the scenes that were more emotionally intense, with heartbreak, pain, hope and fear each coming across so clearly in the narrator’s voice, making you feel all of it too, right alongside the MC’s. This book was truly a pleasure to listen to.
Number of stars out of 5: 5