Review Summary: To many sub plots for such a short story.
Carl Lewis has little joy in his life. He’s recently struggled through a painful divorce, has partial custody of his two kids, and is learning to rearrange his schedule so work as a detective is no longer first. It’s not easy. Then he meets his new neighbor, Vincent Androse, an openly gay firefighter who just went through a bad break-up of his own. He gives the man a hand moving furniture, and they strike up a friendship that starts to fill holes in Carl’s life he didn’t even know were there.
Vincent moves to get away from his cheating ex-boyfriend, Lonnie. His new house is big and empty, and he finds himself enjoying the Friday night BBQs with his new friend, Carl, even with the man’s kids there. When Lonnie shows up, begging for him to come back, again, and refuses to leave, Carl steps in, pretending to be the new boyfriend. Vincent discovers Carl can kiss—really kiss, and he starts wanting things the straight cop can’t give him. Can he?
I love cops, firemen and other first responders in M/M romances, so whenever I see a new story about these alpha heroes I buy it, regardless whether the plot seems unrealistic, because after all this is romance, not reality. When you add the complexity of GFY, a cheating bitch of an ex wife, a cheating ex boyfriend who has some issues about not wanting to be an ex, plus the danger of both MCs’ jobs, I wondered how much plot could the writer stuff into 112 pages and if she could pull it off. Well she almost did, but not quite.
Carl was a 14 year veteran cop recently divorced from his ex who was from all accounts a slut and a real piece of work (the usual role of most women in M/M romances), and was trying to learn how to live as a single dad with joint custody of his two kids after 16 years of marriage. One morning an attractive man came to his door to ask for his help to move some furniture into his new house, and this is how he met Vincent, a firefighter who made no secret of the fact that he was gay and trying to get over his breakup after an 8 year relationship. They became friends over weekly barbeques at Carl’s house, watching old movies and sharing their war stories as they were both lonely. One evening when Carl arrived home he noticed Vince trying to get rid of a man who had no intention of leaving, so he went over to help his friend and realized that the man was none other than Vince’s ex. He decided to act the part of Vince’s new lover by kissing him, which opened a can of worms and started their affair.
After several weeks of hot and heavy sex Vince was no longer satisfied to be Carl’s dirty little secret. He informed his lover that unless he was prepared to acknowledge him publicly it was all over. So they broke up for about a week until one evening when Vince’s ex Lonnie came calling again, this time with a gun, and all hell broke loose.
Fireman’s Carry is the first book in a new series by this author and while I enjoyed the writing and the characters I thought that there was too much plot for such a short book. Also this is a Gay For You story and Carl, the former straight MC, was the one who was aggressive at initiating sex with Vince, which I felt was a bit strange. I don’t know where Carl was on the Kinsey scale but I would have rated him at zero at first, however he went straight to 6 when he decided he wanted Vince, a switch that seemed to come out of nowhere which I found hard to believe. The number of sub plots overwhelmed the book and I felt that more time could have been spent developing the characters further, maybe adding some work related issues since they both had dangerous jobs, rather than concentrating on external distractions such as Lonnie and his issues, and Carl’s ex Rhonda the less than ideal wife and mother. There was yet another sub plot involving Jake, Carl’s son, and I wondered at one point how many others could be inserted into this book.
Despite my reservations, what saved this book for me in addition to the MCs were the supporting characters, most of whom were well drawn. Vince’s firefighter partner Trace, and Ryan, Carl’s detective partner were very funny and provided many light moments in the book. Carl’s two offspring, especially Jake, were also three dimensional, so overall this was an enjoyable read.
If you’re looking for a story with two alpha male heroes, and you like GFY, I would recommend Fireman’s Carry but don’t expect to be wowed. 3.75 stars.
This is the first book in the Carry Me series.