Nothing But Smoke
by Daisy Harris
Sometimes good boys do bad things.
Fire and Rain, Book 3
Michael Larson considers himself one of the good guys. He recycles, eats mostly vegan, and volunteers. But one night, while on a jog through a Seattle park, he encounters a sexy man on a motorcycle he wants to be bad with.
Firefighter Nicky O’Brian barely has time to even think about a sex life. Between his job and caring for his critically ill mother, his only pleasures involve a few racy videos and occasional nighttime forays to find men willing to help him forget his troubles.
It was supposed to be a one-time, anonymous hookup—until fate intervenes and their mutual attraction blossoms into a furtive affair. Michael doesn’t date closeted guys, but for the haunted, lonely Nicky he makes an exception.
When Nicky’s mother takes a turn for the worse, Michael is forced to make a choice between idealism and compassion. And as Nicky’s needs spiral out of control, Michael realizes that a new set of ideals could be exactly what he needs to keep love in his life—for good.
Warning: Contains sex in the trees, sex in parked cars, and sex in other uncomfortable places. Tissues are required, because the ending will make you cry—and maybe make you want to call your Mom.
“I’m not religious.” Nicky went to the fridge and got out two beers. He handed one to Michael and opened the other for himself.
“Okay.” Michael downed a measure to have something to do with his hands. “You know, you don’t need to explain anything to me.”
Nicky glanced sideways, his lips pinching. “Like hell I don’t.”
The remark cut so fast that Michael couldn’t figure out where it came from. He gritted his teeth, trying not to rise to the bait. “What do you mean by that?”
“Nothing.” Nicky rubbed his face, hanging his head and looking small, like maybe he’d shrunk recently. “It’s just, I know what you need. What you want me to do if we’re going to...”
Michael thought about stopping Nicky, telling him that tonight Michael didn’t need anything from him at all. But he wanted to hear this, to know how things looked between them from Nicky’s perspective.
“I can’t be like that right now.” Nicky’s chest deflated. “Hell, I can’t even be a regular person. Do regular shit like go to work or to the store without worrying. And I have to pack her stuff up tomorrow...” He swallowed, eyes wide open and his gaze a bottomless pit of need. “But, I want you here. I can’t offer you anything, but I want you here so much.”
Michael crossed the kitchen in a few steps and grabbed Nicky around the shoulders. He didn’t worry about Nicky’s mom out in the living room, or anyone seeing through the pitch-black windows, because what Nicky needed right now was a friend. No matter what Michael might want in the future, he could be a friend for Nicky. The guy who held him and patted his back, letting him shudder and maybe cry a little.
“Hey. It’s okay.” Michael rubbed Nicky over his short-sleeved shirt, not letting their skin touch, because if that happened, Michael would want to give Nicky a kiss. “It’s fine. Just relax.” In the week since they’d last seen each other, Nicky seemed to have grown more fragile. “Let’s have another beer, huh?”
My interest was piqued when I read the blurb to Nothing But Smoke. I note this is the third book in Daisy Harris' Fire and Rain series.
I'll be honest and admit that it took me a while to get into the story. I liked Nicky O'Brian right from the beginning. He was clearly devoted to his ill mother and therefore stretched thin, especially emotionally. He's also struggling with the fact that he's gay but not out. He settles for anonymous hook-ups in a local park. There he meets Michael Larson. It took me a long time to warm up to Michael. He seemed cold and arrogant, and when he and Nicky started dating, he didn't seem to understand Nicky's reluctance to come out.
In the end, things work out fine between Nicky and Michael, although I wished Michael would've been more patient with Nicky. On the other hand, I got that he didn't want to be Nicky's dirty secret, and that he had his reasons for acting the way he did.
Overall, I'm rating Nothing but Smoke at 3.75 stars (rounded up to 4 stars) and would recommend it to readers who like characters that come out of the closet, as well as some hot sex scenes.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Birkenstock-wearing glamour girl and mother of two by immaculate conception, Daisy Harris still isn't sure if she writes erotica. Her romances start out innocently enough. However, her characters behave like complete sluts. Much to Miss Harris's dismay the sex tends to get completely out of hand.
She writes about fantastical creatures and about young men getting their freak on, and she's never missed an episode of The Walking Dead.
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