Nine months ago, Rowan Ward thought he had it all. Now he's fighting to pull his shredded life together, buried in work and battling the kind of grief that destroys a man's soul. When fires spring up around Cincinnati threatening Rowe's friends and clients, he's thrilled to find his old Army buddy, Noah Keegan in town. They were a hell of a team when they served together, so in-sync, it was rumored they could read each other's minds.
Noah thought devoting his life to the Army would be enough. Then he realized he had no family and only one friend he cared about. When his enlistment was up, he found himself standing on Rowe's doorstep, looking only for friendship but secretly hoping for more. He needs to know if their one unbelievable night together years ago wasn't a mistake.
Caught in a dangerous game of fire and bullets, neither expects the inferno of emotion that ignites between them. One Rowe isn't prepared to accept. One that could break Noah.
Before I start this ramble of mine, I need to say if you haven't read either of the first two books and plan to, especially, 'Shatter', the second book, you may want to stop reading now because I will definitely be mentioning some spoilerish things here, sorry, it's impossible to review this book and not do this.
Admittedly my expectations on this one were not high. I went into 'Torch' thinking that I was going to have a fun buddy read and get this one tucked away so that when Ian's book came out I'd be ready to read it because there was no way I was going to be happy about Rowe getting involved with someone after losing Mel...nope, not possible...well what can I say except 'never say never' because apparently not only was it possible but it happened. I'm still not happy that Rowe lost Mel but it happens in real life too people lose the one they love and if fate is kind they are given a second chance with someone else and just like in 'Torch' that someone is sometimes a part of their past. I'm still not happy that Mel died but I am happy that Rowe is moving on with his life and has found the right person to do it with...again.
While Snow and Jude are still my number one couple in this series, I have to admit 'Torch' is my number one book so far. 'Torch' starts about 9 or 10 months after events that took place in 'Shatter'. Rowe is still grieving the loss of his wife, Melissa or Mel, as are all of the group. I can't say that Mel was ever intended to be a permanent character in this series but I will say that I liked Mel a lot as did many of my friends who have read these books. Mel was feisty and full of life and none of these men intimidated her no matter how alpha they were, not even Lucas. She was Ian's best friend, shared dirty jokes with Snow and actually all of them, she loved watching gay porn...see how can you not like this woman?
I cried when we lost her in 'Shatter' my heart ached for Rowe and all of them losing someone who clearly meant so much to this group and I have to admit I'm left wondering if the authors had any idea that she would become as popular as she seems to be. I also have to admit that as much as it saddened me to lose this amazingly, strong and positive female from this series I also respect that this is the story that Ms Drake and Ms Elliott wanted to tell us and I was pretty much blown away by how much I enjoyed seeing things play out between Rowe and Noah.
Noah is a part of Rowe's past. They were Rangers together and best friends. They have a past together one that we are shown is unresolved as are many things for not just Rowe but Lucas, Snow and Ian as well. The danger for this group that started in Shiver and carried over to Shatter has not yet ended and while 'Torch' has given us the answers to a lot of questions, I still feel like this story has a ways to go before we truly reach the ending.
I was pulled into this book from the word go and the minute we were introduced to Noah I knew I liked him. The interaction between him and Rowe felt so natural. Yes there was tension and a lot of push and pull and as my friend Christelle mentioned in her review 'Noah had the patience of a saint', but that was also part of his charm. The biggest and most important reason this worked for me was because from start to finish Mel was never lost or diminished for how much she was loved and missed by Rowe and his friends and Noah got it he understood and respected how much Rowe loved her and how hard losing her was for everyone. So often when a story deals with this type of loss it gets shuffled to the back burner and I feel like the love died with the person and that's not how it works for me (and I'm betting for a lot of people). The other part of this equation that really won me over was the fact that Noah wasn't some-never-met-him-before-now-insta-love-stranger who wandered into Rowe's life. Rowe and Noah had a history, they were friends and there was a history there that brought clarity to things about Rowe that had been hinted at in 'Shatter'.
While Rowe and Noah did have a lot of page time, which I was totally cool with since this was their story and all. I also thoroughly enjoyed all the time we got to spend with Snow & Jude, Lucas & Andrei and Ian & Hollis...and can I just say that it may have only been once scene but HOLY HELL!!! these two men are hot together. I may need to read their story standing in a cold shower.
Seriously if you haven't read this series I apologize for the spoilers but you were warned at the beginning and they really were only the very, very tip of the iceberg, so, I strongly encourage that you read 'Shiver' & 'Shatter' before tackling this book. This is not the type of series that allows for the books to be read as stand-alone stories. You need to read them from the beginning in order to fully understand what's happening. Not to mention hot men falling in love, why would you want to miss out on that?...just putting that out there for the universe.
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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are. (Mason Cooley)
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