On Fire by Drew Zachary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Sam is an outgoing, smart, vivacious, cute eighteen year-old college student living on his own and counting down the weeks until his nineteenth birthday, when he’s legal to drink in Canada. He happens to be strolling around the Canada Day offerings when he comes across Robert, a fireman stud and he can’t help but drool.
Robert is a handsome, stable, intelligent thirty-two year-old fireman who is openly gay and looks amazing in a uniform. He’s in a place in his life where he’s thinking more for long-term relationships than simple hookups, but when he sees Sam, he happily goes with the adorable twink.
The night ends up blowing both of their minds, leaving Robert with some confusion over what to do next. He’s not very interested in a strictly sexual relationship but what could he possibly have in common with Sam? Robert makes an admirable attempt to move beyond the incredible, intense sex to start to build a relationship. This takes some work with the bouncy, adorable Sam who is quite happy coasting along on the sexual aspects and indulging in his fireman uniform fantasies.
This could be a simple tale of an older man and cute twink who have some great sex and eventually move on to people more suited for each other, but Sam is given a maturity, intelligence and sensitivity at odds with the superficial image of the flighty, bouncy, sex kitten side of him. He has an honest warmth about him that lends itself beautifully to the need in Robert, creating a solid relationship almost seamlessly.
Despite their age and life differences, Robert and Sam have a partnership of equal footing and their story is told with passion, intensity, laughter, love and an ease that buffets eventual problems. It’s not all steamy sex and effortless laughter as they move through the problems of life, but the characters are skillfully drawn so as to leave you wanting to see more, know more and watch how they’ll evolve and grow.
Sam is a character that slipped into my heart and I completely adored by the end of the book, as his many facets are shown and explored here and there throughout. My one issue with the book was the epilogue, which skipped pretty far ahead, perhaps to show the true stability of a relationship many doubt, but with the lack of overly substantial issues relating to Sam’s age, it almost glosses over what is potentially very problematic.
However, the book has a sequel so I’m looking forward to seeing what these authors create as well as another look at these great characters.