Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a M/M contemporary romance from life- and writing-partners Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood. TOO CLOSE TO THE FLAME is a legal eagles romance between a battered man and the loving new partner his finds. I really liked WHAT HE REALLY NEEDS, so I’m excited about this new release.
About the book:
Can he ever learn to trust again?
Brandon Weber’s old boyfriend almost beat him to death. Brandon survived, but still bears the emotional scars. Eighteen months later, he has withdrawn into himself, convinced he’ll never be able to trust another man.
Devin Macadam, fresh out of law school, has an exciting new job. He is also on the lookout for just the right guy, someone to take care of and love.
When Devin shows up for the first day of work at his new office, he meets Brandon, a legal assistant there. Sparks fly, but Brandon is paralyzed by fear and isn’t about to give another man the power to hurt him again. Devin, never one to give up easily, doesn’t want to take no for an answer. Both men feel the magic, but can their relationship ever get past the friend zone?
Too Close to the Flame is a dark-to-light, sweet romance featuring out and proud gay men, lots of feels, steamy love scenes, and a wonderful happy ending.
Trigger Warning: Too Close to the Flame contains specific memories of physical abuse.
Twenty-four year old Devin Macadam has just split from his cheating boyfriend, and taken his first position out of law school. He’s joined the firm partnered by his cousin, Liam Macadam, and historical crush, Aaron Roth. He’s feeling pretty awesome and his first day on the job is made better when he meets the most beautiful man he’s ever seen: Brandon Weber.
Brandon was abided by his last boyfriend, Jeb, who almost killed him. A month in the hospital, plus therapy, helped Brandon recover physically, though he’s still celibate more than 18 months later. His attraction to Devin is an unwelcome complication, and Devin’s sweetness and compassion are stirring feelings Brandon wishes he could ignore.
Liam, and his husband John, counsel both Devin and Brandon as their attraction to each other becomes plain to the folks in the office. Devin knows that Brandon has some secret pain, but Liam confidentially divulges Brandon’s history, hoping Devin will be sensitive to Brandon’s needs. John reminds Brandon that his life didn’t end with the abuse he suffered, and he should be open to the love that Devin is clearly offering.
The central focus of this story is recovery, and the major plot arc is really the developing relationship between Devin and Brandon. We learn a LITTLE about Devin’s job at the firm, and there’s a brief mention about the possibility of Brandon’s attacker causing trouble, but it’s largely ignored until very late.
The rest of the story is…sexy times. Lots and lots of tender and dirty sexy times. The biggest hurdles here are Brandon’s emotional issues surrounding his recovery and being a worthy and willing partner. There is a LOT of sex, and the plot was otherwise a little thin.
But, as a romance, the good guys find deep and abiding love, and they live happily ever after. So, I enjoyed it.
About the Authors:
Ryan Taylor and Joshua Harwood met in law school and were married in 2017. They live in a suburb of Washington, DC, and enjoy travel, friends, dogs, and advocating for causes dear to their hearts. Josh and Ryan love writing, and the romance they were so lucky to find with each other inspires their stories about love between out and proud men.