Firefighter Morgan has worked hard to build a home for himself after a nomadic childhood. When Morgan is called to a fire, he finds the family out front, but their tenant still inside. He rescues Richard Smalley, who turns out to be an old friend he hasn’t seen in years and the one person he regretted leaving behind.
Richard has had a hard life. He served in the military, where he lost the use of his legs, and has been struggling to make his way since coming home. Now that he no longer has a place to live, Morgan takes him in, but when someone attempts to set fire to Morgan’s house, they both become suspicious and wonder what’s going on.
Years ago Morgan was gutted when he moved away, leaving Richard behind, so he’s happy to pick things up where they left off. But now that Richard seems to be the target of an arsonist, he may not be the safest person to be around.
I do love me some men in uniform or out of uniform is good too. I've read a few books by Andrew Grey and while they haven't all been amazing reads what I've come to expect is at the very least a pleasant read that I'll enjoy. Rekindled Flame wasn't one of those, nope this book was way better than that.
Rekindled Flame is a second chance story on so many levels. Morgan and Richie (or Richard) were best friends growing up and suddenly at the age of 13 Morgan vanished from Richie's life. While each man never forgot the other as often happens they did carry on with their lives and move forward. Morgan went on to become a fireman and Richie enlisted in the Marines both men following their dreams. Their paths cross after Morgan stops at the hospital to see how the man he rescued from a house fire the night before is doing and finds that it wasn't just any man that he rescued but his best friend whom he hasn't seen in nearly 20 years. Those years haven't been totally good to Richie.
Following a failed mission in Afghanistan Richie finds himself confined to a wheelchair and after spending 10 years as a Marine this is a hard adjustment to make. I loved that Richie wasn't portrayed as a totally angry and bitter war vet. He struggled with things yes, but he hadn't given up on trying to find a place for himself in the world and while he wasn't always filled with sunshine and light which given his circumstances was understandable, he wasn't always doom and gloom either. There was a realistic range of emotions within him. I really, really loved that this character was not portrayed as a helpless handicapped person. While he had limitations because of his injuries Richie was still a very functional, independent and strong individual and from the sounds of things a much better cook than Morgan...that chicken potpie sounded amazing...can I get me one please?
Morgan sees Richie as his best friend returned to him and as the man who no one else could measure up to. Morgan's childhood wasn't always the greatest and a lot of his happier memories involved Richie and he's never forgotten the good times they shared and deep inside he's always felt that they belonged together.
This wasn't a case of insta-love or love at first sight at least it didn't feel that way to me. It felt like as well as his best friend, maybe Richie was Morgan's first crush and those feelings had never gone away and now Morgan sees Richie coming back into his life as a chance to find out where things might go. So it's without hesitation that he takes him in and gives him a place to live.
There were so many things about this relationship that I liked. I loved that Morgan and Richie weren't on the same page from the word go. Richie had a lot of issues to work through. This was manifested in that fact that how he felt about Richie came much easier and quicker to Morgan. Forcing him to step back and look at things from Richie's perspective and at times it was hard for him because let's face it..."fireman" he's hardwired to step in and save people and fix things. Only this time when it means the most to him, Morgan has to realize that he can't. He can be there for his friend and hopefully future partner but he can't fix things. There was no magic penis involved here. Yes, the sex was good, it was amazing even, but when all was said and done Richie was still in a wheelchair and still had the same issues to deal with.
What changed was that if he could bring himself to accept it he had someone who wanted to be there for him to offer him love and support in dealing with his past problems and whatever the future would bring...real life folks this is how it can work in the real world.
As Morgan and Richie's relationship unfolds so does the danger that seems to be following Richie. I enjoyed the secondary plot that was involved and liked that it never seemed to overpower Morgan and Richie's story but flowed along with it, occasionally fading into the background. Unfortunately the mystery surrounding the who and why of the arsonist (it's in the blurb) while it was a plausible ending also felt a little bit like it had been pulled out of thin air to me.
At the end of it all, while I love a good mystery, to me 'Rekindled Flame' was about second chances at finding friends, finding love and happiness and for Richie it as a second chance at finding himself and redefining his place in the world. Definitely a well done and uplifting story.
************************An ARC of this book was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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