Reviewed by JustJen
Title: Fire Inside
Author: Dawn Douglas
Heroes: Eric Ramos/Tyler Haley
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 114 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: June 4, 2014
Available at: Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks and Kobo
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: After ten years as an active duty Marine, Captain Eric Ramos is rejoining civilian life. His first job is chauffeuring, assisting, and generally keeping track of NBA young gun Tyler Haley. Tyler’s had a rough few months, and his team owner is convinced he needs some hand-holding if he’s going to keep delivering wins for the St. Louis Fire Foxes.
Instead of the arrogant, over-privileged athlete Eric expected, Tyler is a big, blond, lonely twenty-three-year-old who needs more than just an employee to keep him in line. While taking care of Tyler, Eric changes from employee to friend, to something more. And when Eric realizes that something is burning the kid up from the inside out, he’s determined to find a way to help him before Tyler’s carefully constructed façade turns to ash.
I am not a huge basketball fan, but the blurb had enough other elements to lure me in. Ex-marine turned bodyguard/personal assistant, young sports star with some major issues, sign me up!
This starts out pretty good. We quickly learn there is more to Tyler than first appears, and while Eric “Ram” Ramos isn’t generally much of a babysitter, he is drawn to Tyler and his protective nature takes over. It becomes clear pretty early on that Tyler has some major issues and sexual hangups. I loved watching Ram build up Tyler’s trust and help him through his issues.
Ram tries to keep things professional for quite some time. They become close friends long before things ever go to the next level, which doesn’t occur until almost the 85% mark. I was really enjoying things up to this point. So much so, that I hardly noticed or minded any of the basketball stuff. When they do cross the line, things are pretty hot, as Ram helps Tyler overcome his mental issues about being gay. I really would have liked to have explored Tyler’s issues in a little more detail. He basically tells all in one conversation. Once this occurs, the story basically races to the end.
I understand from the author notes at the end that this was never intended to be more than a novella. However, I really feel this could have benefited from a bit more detail here and there. We never really got to know these guys on much more than a surface level, especially where their relationship was concerned. And the ending was extremely abrupt. Again, we learn from the author notes that there may have been an alternative ending, but, by then, I was already losing interest. So, this had a lot of potential, and while I did enjoy quite a bit about it, overall, I was left feeling a bit disappointed.
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*