Afternoon Delight: Into the Fire by Lori Toland

Afternoon Delight: Into the Fire by Lori TolandInto the Fire by Lori Toland

Series: #3 The Replacement Guitarist
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
on May 5, 2014
Pages: 155
Format: eARC
Source: Author
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four-stars  

I was very eager to grab up this next installment in The Replacement Guitarist series after the events at the end of book two.  Things were left in a crazy spot and I just couldn’t wait to find out what happened next for Jason and Blaze.  After closing the cover on this one, I’m still processing.  This is a truly strong set-up book and does its job as the book before the big finale.  It has left things in a place of shock, pain, high intensity and promise for what is to come.  Anyone who gets to the end of this story will be left chafing for the finale.

The stories all move forward connecting strongly to the ones before and after so they most definitely need to be read in order.  This is also a strong hint that if you haven’t read book two then there will be mild spoiling so proceed at your own risk.

The story picks up right after the shambles from the awards ceremony.  They try to process and move on even as they continue to adjust to being a couple.  Jason is in earnest about helping Blaze continue as a band musician even as Blaze works through his nerves about continuing to pursue this dream.  Blaze is so happy with Jason and wants to come out to the world about it.  Jason is equally happy with Blaze, but is always worried that Blaze will move on and he is very concerned that if they come out it will damage Blaze’s career.  Another band opportunity comes their way that will involve Jason as manager and Blaze as guitarist so they eagerly take it.  The band is a good fit for Blaze, but now he and Jason are separated a lot with their work as they promo the band and Blaze goes on tour again.  Just when it looks like things are really doing well, a painful part of their past shows up, they vehemently disagree saying words that they can’t come back from causing things to unravel fast.

I have a visual of a Sleeper Wave when I think of how to describe this entry in the series.  There is this normal ebb and flow through the story as the two guys try to recover from being cast adrift from their jobs at the end of the last book, but then at the end of this one suddenly I had my legs knocked out from under me when I least expected it leaving me flabbergasted at that ending.  Fortunately, I was expecting it particularly since the author stated that she had to break this third book up to continue things in the fourth.  That being said, I was so immersed in the story’s present without thinking ahead that I still got taken by surprise.  So yeah, the Sleeper Wave was an apt description.

The story took on a slightly different tone just as the one before did to the first one.  It has to do with how far these two have come along in their relationship.  They are an established couple and they’ve now come out to their families, but now like any established couple they still have some issues.  Jason is older and tends to take the lead which annoys Blaze.  Blaze has a bit of a temper and speaks before he thinks usually his words cut the vulnerable Jason.  He’s young so I resisted the itch to bop him up side the head for this stuff.  The pressures of the music industry along with the decision to announce they are a gay couple just adding more stress to their relationship.

Foreshadowing is strong so even though I said earlier that the end came as a shocker, there was a part of me that expected something to blow the lid off of things.  At times, there is almost a desperation to their passion like they can sense trouble coming.  By the end of the book I was edgy and just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  This might sound like I’m complaining, but its not.  I enjoyed being along with these two as they loved, squabbled, worked and even when they hurt each other.  I can’t wait to see how the author pulls it all together for the ending.

I would recommend this series to those who enjoy M/M Contemporary Romance with the music entertainment industry as the backdrop and the romance on the hot and spicy side.

My thanks to the author for sending me this book in exchange for my honest review.

Delighted Reader Afternoon Delight

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.