From the Ashes by Daisy Harris

ASHES
From the Ashes by Daisy Harris
Publisher: Samhain Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (251 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal sex
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Cactus

Fire and Rain, Book 1

When an accident burns down Jesse’s apartment, he’s left broke and homeless, with a giant dog and a college schedule he can’t afford to maintain. And no family who’s willing to take him in.

Lucky for him, a sexy fireman offers him a place to stay. The drawback? The fireman’s big Latino family lives next door, and they don’t know their son is gay.

Tomas’s parents made their way in America with hard work and by accepting help when it was offered, so he won’t let Jesse drop out of school just so he can afford a place to live. Besides, Jesse’s the perfect roommate—funny, sweet and breathtakingly cute. He climbs into Tomas’s bed and tugs at his heart. Until Jesse starts pushing for more.

Their passion enflames their bodies but threatens to crush Tomas’s family. Tomas is willing to fight for Jesse, but after losing everything, Jesse isn’t sure he can bear to risk his one remaining possession—his heart.

Sometimes when you lose everything, you find what you’ve always wanted. Jesse has just lost everything he owned in an apartment fire. He’d saved up and moved out of his parents’ disapproving home finally but after only a short time, he’s back to zero. Except this time without anywhere to go and a dog he’s unexpectedly claimed. Thankfully, hunky firefighter Tomas offers his home to Jesse. With nowhere to go, Jesse accepts and the two immediately click. While they are exploring sex together in new ways for both of them, their relationship isn’t quite as smooth sailing. Tomas is in the closet and Jesse is out and proud. The two struggle to find a middle ground.

From the Ashes is a nice story with a gentle romance. The two main characters, Tomas and Jesse, are friendly but have a definite attraction. Thus they get sexual pretty quickly, but with Jesse a virgin and Tomas having some sexual hangups, they ease into sex in a really nice progression. It fits with their relationship in general. However, Jesse is out and proud and insists on not hiding either who he is or who he loves. He can’t understand Tomas’ desire to be in the closet with his family, but eventually comes to recognize how Tomas’ family operates. Both men must give a little to get a lot in return and their road has some easy bumps that doesn’t upset the balance too much.

The characterization is nice and gives both men room to mature and expand. They’re not perfect and definitely make mistakes, together and individually, over the course of the story. I had some issues with the way Jesse and Tomas would act, but appreciated that they could actually talk things over instead of assuming and running off, with one exception. I found some of the scenes overly melodramatic, such as the scenes with Jesse’s parents. This scene and others, usually those involving the coffee house friend Michael, seem to add very little to the characters or the story. I think the author is setting up the secondary characters to have their own books but I never connected to them so felt these scenes were superfluous.

Harris’ writing is engaging and easy to read. It has a melodic quality that fits with the characters and their romance. This isn’t a hot and heavy read, but more so gentle and quiet as the two men slowly find their way to understanding and love. They certainly fall in love fast but that doesn’t mean all problems are solved. It’s nice to see that although they love each other too quickly, they still have to learn about each other and make mistakes to actually grow. I enjoyed reading From the Ashes and can recommend it for those readers who like a gentler, sweeter romance.

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