SPOILER ALERT!
Out of the Ashes [A Forever Home] (Siren Publishing Classic ManLove) - AJ Jarrett


I have issues with this story, now they are mine, so I'm sure other people will enjoy the closeted hot firefighter Jackson and the out and proud writer Joe.
But I was annoyed and aggravated by a lot of it, even the really sweet and romantic ending couldn't make up for that.
[ Joey was bullied all through high school by the same bunch of kids. Randy being the ring leader. Jackson never actively bullied him, but he would only talk to him when no one was around and didn't stick up for him. 
He had a best friend Liz and a wonderful set of parents. 
Fast forward 10 years. A bad breakup and Joe is back home to lick his wounds. Jackson moved back after both his parents died.
What bothered me a lot and all through out the book was that IMO Jackson never realized that what they did was bullying! and that it STILL bothers Joe and affects how he lives his life and feels about himself. He minimizes it and pretty much tells him: hey, we were kids, get over it. It went on for 4years from 14-18 that's more than old enough to know better and as adults to realize what it might have been like for Joe. Empathy Jackson, try it sometime.
“Joey, I hate to say this, but all that happened years ago, and you need to get over it. I might not have stopped them, but we were all kids. We did stupid stuff. You can’t keep judging us for that.”
Umm..yeah. He keeps saying stuff like that. Now we find outwhy Randy bullied him, and he does apologize..which brings me to my next issue. 
Liz his BFF has been dating Randy for TWO years and never told Joe, until she had to, sprung it on him, not cool.
Them when she realizes Joe has a lover and doesn't tell her she starts crying and telling him not to lie to her? Umm Liz, I hate to break it to you, but you really shouldn't go there. And I was mad at Joe not calling her out on it.
So, Jackson picks up a drunk Joe..classy that. Anyway, Joe asks Jackson numerous times not to call him Joey, but Jackson does it anyway! I don't find it sweet or romantic! I find it rude and condescending.
He also called him babe from the get go! like before they even kiss. I thought Ami really needs to read this,*snickers*.
Then Jackson says he is in the closet and at first Joe is ok with that, but when he actually lies about his being at his house, which he could have easily explained that was enough for Joe.
Jackson feels bad, but not enough to actually do anything about it.
He’d rather Joey walk away then admit to Randy and the guys at work he was a full-fledged homo.”
Then...wait for it..remember he's a firefighter..so guess what happens, yes I knew you'd get it. Life threatening, near death. Jackson sees the light..blah blah.
The end was sweet and romantic and I liked that, but the rest, even asking Joe's dad for his hand in marriage? WTH? They are 30 year old men, that was ridiculous.
Ok, so that's just me, maybe you will like it better. (hide spoiler)]