Standalone – taboo romance, emotional second chance at love
Single father Gabriel Baystock is rich and powerful, educated and handsome – and helpless when it comes to ensuring his son Michael recovers fully from a childhood cancer. He’ll do anything, even hire award-winning child therapist Shai Bonaventura.
Shai is drawn to brooding, sexy Gabriel, and while she falls in love with the little boy she’s hired to help, she loses her heart to his father. Their powerful chemistry is off the charts hot, and Shai thinks he might be the one to help heal her own demons, even if it means crossing professional boundaries.
But when old secrets from Shai’s past are revealed, it’s not clear if their fragile relationship can survive the harsh reality of the real world…or whether they have the courage to fight for what they really need.
This is an 80K word, stand-alone romance with no cliffhangers and a beautiful HEA.
Warning: This book contains graphic language and sex scenes hot enough to melt your Kindle.
A HANDFUL of FIRE is available to purchase below
Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
“Life goes on, and if you let it, beauty comes back, all by itself.”
Alexa Alvarez is a new to us author with A Handful of Fire being our first taste of this very talented lady’s work. The synopsis for this story grabbed us immediately and the story soon pulled us in. There is an intelligence and flair to this authors writing we really admired.
For a man in his early 30’s, Gabriel Baystock has had his fair share of heartache and challenges. Losing his wife, nursing his 10 year old son through cancer, and trying to reconnect with him in remission has broken this man. Career and monetary wise, Gabriel is comfortable. He’s successful and wealthy, yet emotionally, he’s stilted finding it difficult to open his heart,
Ten year old Michael, Gabriel’s son is a gifted genius. Michael is very aware of his illness, the possibility of the future and is quite wise beyond his years. No little boy should have gone through what he has at such a young age and Michael bears the emotional scars that come with that. Michael and Gabriel have drifted apart, unable to communicate, both carrying the pain of loss and uncertainty. Gabriel consumes himself in his work, shutting off emotionally to those around him. Michael’s coping mechanism is to act out, become sullen, rude and basically doing anything for attention. Both Gabriel and Michael harbour their own fears, with the thought that he could possibly lose Michael terrifying him.
“Every single fucking time I look at him, I feel this incredible rush of love that’s so powerful, it terrifies me. Because I can’t lose him. If I lose him, I’m going to fucking fall apart, and I’ll never come back together, and I can’t let him see that.”
Michael and Gabriel both need help, and it is here they meet Shai Bonaventura, the manager of Therapy Outreach. Shai is a caring and well-respected Therapist and the perfect person to connect with and help Michael and Gabriel find their way back to one another to reignite the father/son bond. However, an attraction develops between Gabriel and Shai which is off limits and forbidden, though neither can stave off the temptation for long.
“We’re both scarred. We can heat each other.”
For Shai this is an emotional and physical coupling, for Gabriel it is a physical release. Whilst he has feelings, he can’t allow himself to bend to them, preferring to keep his heart caged tightly. Physically, these two are in sync. The sex between them was off the charts erotically charged, but trusting and submitting to his spiritual and emotional side is a turbulent journey neither is prepared for.
‘I’m afraid that with Shai, I’ll need to open up my heart in ways I’m not willing to do. Shai’s not a surface kind of girl. I just don’t know if I’m ready to have someone plumb the depths.’
Whilst Gabriel and Shai’s relationship issues are an intense part of the story, we found the emotional pull as readers came from young Michael. It was this little boy who drove the story. It is through his pain, his little heart, his hopes and fears, his need for attention and love that we found the emotional crux of the story really hit us. Alexis Alvarez perfectly delved into the psychological part of Michael and Gabriel’s emotional healing and the developing relationship between Shai and Gabriel, so we came to experience more depth of character. Her sensitive, pragmatic approach did sometimes feel a little text book but in no way did this impact the story which was beautifully, thoughtfully and intelligently conveyed.
“Love doesn’t wait, Gabriel, for the right time. It just….comes.”
We’ll certainly be putting this author on our radar for future reading. Alexis Alvarez’s, A Handful of Fire was a poignant and powerful piece of storytelling. Her words felt refreshing, passionate, tender, tempestuous and gripping.