Title: Set Ablaze
Author: KC Burn
Narrator: Darcy Stark
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Run Time: 6 hours and 48 minutes
At a Glance: Darcy Stark keeps the listener on track even while the story meanders and sidetracks into directions that pay off only in very small ways. Buy this audiobook for the romance and the fine narration, which is worth the price of the book.
Reviewed By: Mike
Blurb: California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends”.
Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at 17. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.
The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.
Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.
Review: Hayden has a nice, orderly life. He has his job as a fireman; he has his lovely, if austere, home; he has friends who love or tolerate him; everything has its place, until his best friend, Miguel, asks Hayden to put up his younger brother, Jesus—now known as Jez—for a short period of time because a new TV role means Jez has to move from New York city to California to take the part. Hayden agrees, reluctantly, since he hasn’t seen his best friend’s little brother since he was a kid. When Hayden meets Jez as an adult, what he meets is Jez’s body in deep sleep on his front porch. Hayden is taken immediately and here begins a slow dance between the two men and an attraction they fight very hard to ignore.
Darcy Stark as narrator elevates this book far above its weak subplots, none of which are really resolved despite their being emphasized so often in the book. Hayden is challenged by Jez to reject the homophobia of his work “friends” if he wants a relationship. Jez hides his dog from Hayden to begin with, until Hayden finds, falls for, and spoils Fang to Jez’s surprise and delight. Problems follow Jez from New York to LA, and Hayden must step in to help solve them.
Darcy Stark keeps the listener on track even while the story meanders and sidetracks into directions that pay off only in very small ways. Stark is one of those voice actors who can elevate the work he is given and make it into something unique. The developing love between Hayden and Jez takes center stage, and past hurts, painful losses, and weird happenings are put into the past so Jez and Hayden can move forward. But the true scene stealer is Fang, a ball of energy and a centering force between the two men. Stark makes little Fang as much a character as the humans who populate the book.
Buy this audiobook for the romance and the fine narration, which is worth the price of the book.
You can buy Set Ablaze here:
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